A nifty, fun car for city driving

Renault Twingo GT

When Renault introduced the Twingo GT, many motoring journalists scoffed, says Jeremy Clarkson in The Sunday Times. They said it was slow, and that if you pushed it hard in corners it would understeer instead of “settling into a nice, smoky drift”. Well, what did they expect? Criticising this small city car for not being a Porsche, even though it does have its engine in the back, is like “criticising it for not being any good at unblocking the sink”.

True, city cars are “silly”, says Clarkson, because cities are the one place you don’t need a car, and city cars are too slow for anything else – getting up motorways or hills, for example. But Renault has given this city car “real-world poke”. It still has a tiny 0.9-litre engine, but it’s turbo-charged and produces a “thrummy, off-beat” 108 horsepower.

That may not sound like much, but it’s what you used to get from the original Golf GTI. “I liked it,” says Clarkson. It’s an amusing car that will make you smile. It looks “tremendous”. And you can even just about get a family up the motorway in one. “A nifty, practical car that looks good and make you happy. All for £14,000.”

As a city car, the Twingo is smart, agrees Stephen Dobie in Top Gear. It’s “absurdly manoeuvrable”, with a turning circle half that of a London taxi, and is an “absolute doddle” to park and “uncannily easy to thread through congested traffic”. Just don’t expect true hot-hatch performance – or to be able to carry more than a few bags in the tiny boot. It is a flawed but very enjoyable car, agrees James Taylor in Car, and the characterful GT is the most likeable model of the range.

Price: £14,085
Top speed: 113mph
0-62mph: 9.6 seconds
Fuel economy: 54.3mpg