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Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

If you're looking to stand out, nothing does it better

Renault Twizy (12 on) - rated 4 out of 5
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PROS

  • Costs a pittance to run
  • So simple to park and manoeuvre
  • Guaranteed grins with every drive

CONS

  • Small batteries mean imited range
  • Ride feels unnecessarily firm
  • Lacks practicality - even the doors are extras

At a glance

New price £6,995 - £7,795
Insurance group 6 - 11 How much is it to insure?

PROS

  • Costs a pittance to run
  • So simple to park and manoeuvre
  • Guaranteed grins with every drive

CONS

  • Small batteries mean imited range
  • Ride feels unnecessarily firm
  • Lacks practicality - even the doors are extras

Renault Twizy rivals

Toyota
IQ
4 out of 5 4.0

If you're looking for a conventional car, then the Renault Twizy is undoubtedly not the car for you. It's as unorthodox as you can go if you're shopping for four-wheeled transport - so much so that the fully electric Twizy is technically a quadricycle, not a car. But we can overlook that, because what Renault's smallest model has in abundance is an utterly infectious character.

Nothing else will make you smile, giggle or spontaneously belly laugh each and every time you drive it like the Twizy.

So what exactly is the Twizy?

No other car is designed to cope with the rigours of city life as well as the Twizy, not least its dinky dimensions. Like its closest rival, the Smart Fortwo Coupe, it's a compact two-seater, but with the Renault the passenger sits behind the driver - somewhat intimately it has to be said, as their legs essentially straddle the front seat occupant's hips. Narrowness of the Twizy's primary benefit of this arrangement and at 1,396mm wide including mirrors, it's skinnier than anything else on the road this side of a motorbike, making it a doddle to thread through urban traffic.

Blue and white 2018 Renault Twizy coupe side elevation

Similarly, because the electric motor is mounted at the back sending its power to the rear wheels, the front pair simply have to steer - the lack of drive-transmitting mechanical components to them allows for much greater degrees of articulation meaning a very tight 6.8-metre turning circle. Manoeuvrability is a doddle.

While being tiny, easy to zip about and not emitting any CO2 are all major plus points for the Twizy, its vitally important to highlight that this Renault is primarily designed for far sunnier climes, such as along the Mediterranean coast - not a wet Wednesday in Wigan. Those cool scissor-action doors are extra-cost options, but even when you dp specify them, there's no upper window (although plastic clip-on ones are available, but we wouldn't recommend them).

At speed the Twizy's aerodynamics keep the driver dry, but the short straw-picker in the back is likely to get wet. When you're in stop-start traffic anyone inside is fair game to the elements, and there's no heater to relieve the situation. You can buy a wraparound leg muff from the accessories catalogue, however.

How far will it go between charges?

As with other battery electric vehicles (BEVs), the size of the Twizy's battery, how fast it is driven and the ambient temperature, will influence how far it can go. Compared with other small electric cars, such as the Volkswagen e-Up, the Twizy's battery capacity is tiny at 6.1kWh - even some plug-in hybrid cars have larger ones. Driven gently around town on a warm summer day, you might get very close to the official claim of 62 miles before it'll need plugging in again, but with some spirited driving in winter, you'll do well to reach the quoted 37 miles.

2018 Renault Twizy coupe charging cable under bonnet

It was relatively mild during our extended test and despite a fair number of B-road escapades as well as pootles around city streets, a 50-mile range was its average.

Because the battery's so small, charging doesn't take too long considering your only means of hooking the Renault up to an electricity supply is an inefficient three-pin plug. No rapid charging while you're in the supermarket here. Still, even that only takes around three-and-a-half hours, plus an extended flexible cable housed under that tiny bonnet at the front is easily accessible, so finding somewhere to charge it shouldn't prove too much of a challenge.

What's likely to be more of an issue for would-be Twizy buyers is that the battery pack has to be leased as a separate payment - there's no option to purchase the whole package as you can with the larger electric Zoe supermini.

Basic, but functional interior

Fripperies and flights of fancy are few with the Twizy - there's little by way of standard equipment on either of the models currently available. Rather disappointingly, Twizy trim levels have followed Renault norms since 2015 meaning you've a choice between Expression and Dynamique. From its launch in 2012 until that changeover three years later the alternatives were Urban, Colour (discontinued in 2013) and Technic.

Kit-wise there's a small-but-legible blue-lit electronic instrument cluster, push button controls for the automatic transmission, a driver's airbag, an electrically heated windscreen and, erm, that's about it. If you upgrade to the Dynamique there are floor mats, 13-inch alloy wheels and a broader selection of colours.

Blue and white 2018 Renault Twizy coupe interior and dashboard

Its seats are rigid shells - so you can't recline even the front one - upholstered with strategically located cushioned pads. They're clad with a rubbery material so, as with the rest of the interior, it doesn't matter if they get rained on.

There are a couple of small storage cubbies on the dash, one of which is lockable, plus a narrow slot behind the passenger large enough for a laptop bag. Further storage can be added for a fee with elasticated nets dotted around the interior, but these soon start looking tired and saggy.

Further options include a plastic-glazed roof, a Parrot Bluetooth kit (handy, but difficult to hear and be heard above town-driving speeds) and a wide array of wraps to make your Twizy even more distinctive.

What else could you consider? Nothing is close to a Twizy conceptually, but as well as the Smart mentioned above, the battery-powered VW e-Up is soon getting siblings in the forms of the SEAT Mii Electric and Skoda Citigo-e, while a used Toyota iQ offers an inexpensive alternative.

Could you be tempted by a Twizy for city-centric driving? Read our full review to see how we rate this Renault.

Blue and white Renault Twizy coupe rear badge detailing

Find out more about all electric cars here

Renault Twizy rivals

Toyota
IQ
4 out of 5 4.0