Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that the Twizy is not particularly fast when compared with more conventional cars built for city driving. It is, however, extremely zippy and there’s easily enough gusto available for nipping in and out of traffic with confidence rather than trepidation coursing through your veins.

Blue and white 2018 Renault Twizy coupe front three-quarter driving

Out back is the electric motor which produces just 17hp. You read that right: seventeen horsepower. And judging by the din, they’re whipped pretty hard to make it, too. Torque, the twisting force that accelerates the car, is rated at 57Nm, with all power being directed to the rear wheels.

Those numbers sound amusingly low, but don’t forget that there’s not much to the Twizy to haul about – it tips the scales at under half a ton, so the amount of performance on tap feels fit for purpose. Providing you stick to built-up areas. Out on a country B-road it feels somewhat exposed – but not painfully slow like a tractor.

Officially, the Twizy’s top speed is 50mph, but foot flat to the floor, on a smooth downhill stretch of road, ideally with the wind behind you and after saluting a couple of magpies for luck, you might see an indicated 52mph on the digital speedo. Given where it runs out of steam, there’s no 0-62mph time, but a 0-28mph yarstick – more relevant in cities anyway – of 6.1 seconds is quoted. According to Renault the Twizy has around the same performance as a 125cc scooter over a distance of 50 metres. That’s debatable, but there’s no denying its responsiveness when you are accelerating, and it’ll handle hills with no trouble at all.

Smiles per mile – a joy to drive

  • Few cars at any price are such fun
  • Handling is adjustable, even sporty
  • More at home in the city, though

It’s hard not to be seduced by the Twizy and there is a definite fun factor that is missing from so many conventional cars. Yes, it feels a bit like a jumped-up golf buggy, but you’ll have to be a real cynic not to emerge from it after a half-hour drive with a smile on your face. It is designed to negotiate city traffic with ease, and it absolutely does that.

Blue and white 2018 Renault Twizy coupe front elevation driving

What’s more of a surprise is that providing you can keep up the momentum around the 50mph mark, handling on windier B-roads can also prove to be a giggle; it feels surprisingly taut and well-balanced, with very little bodyroll as you take corners at speed. It turns in sharply and, despite the tyres’ skinniness, there are decent amounts of traction, most of the time.

If you do turn in sharply you do get a lot of noise coming from the tyres as they complain about how much they’re being worked, which can be a tad disconcerting given how clearly you can hear it – no windows, remember. There’s not much feel coming from the steering, and because it isn’t power assisted it’s a little slow, which means you have to do more work at the wheel than you would like. It also tends to tramline – following grooves in the road – on neglected tarmac. Such rough asphalt will also remind you that the trade-off for the lack of bodyroll is the overly firm suspension: pockmarked roads at 50mph in a Twizy can feel jarring.

The brakes, which aren’t power-assisted either, are dependable but you do have to give the pedal a hearty push to get it to stop briskly. Underneath the seating is a battery that weighs 100kg – which is almost a quarter of Twizy’s kerbweight – but that doesn’t seem to have detrimental effect on the handling.

Where the Twizy will particularly get your heart racing is when you go out for a drive in the rain, and not simply because of how wet you’ll get. Approach a corner with too much speed and the front tyres will reliquish traction with the road without putting up much of a fight, increasing the likelihood of you going straight on, so be delicate and sensible. Once you’ve mastered that, you can then indulge in a bit of rear-wheel drive fun by giving the accellerator a prod mid-corner – who’d have thought the little Twizy could powerslide to easily and adjustably? When it gets too much, ease off the throttle and it goes back to faithfully going exactly where you pointed it.

Overall? Brilliant fun to drive, but in an unconventional manner.

Blue and white 2018 Renault Twizy coupe rear three-quarter driving