Reader test: Renault Twingo
Jurgen Geitner, Cape Town
Recently my beloved Alfa Romeo 156 was written off. I decided to replace it with something that was inexpensive, light on fuel and cheap to insure.
I had never considered a Renault, but my eye caught an Extreme Blue Twingo demo model, at an attractive price. This is what I have discovered in the last four months.
This is a 16 valve, four cylinder 1149cc unit (56 kW and 107 Nm of torque). Below 2 000 r/min, the engine feels a little gutless. Above 2 000 r/min things improve, but it really comes "on cam" above 4 000 r/min.
In the higher rev ranges the nature of the engine changes for the better and I often have to remind myself that it's only a 1149cc mill doing duty upfront! Performance is good for this class of car. However, I must say that I am somewhat disappointed by the sound of the engine - it's totally boring, I think I was spoiled by my 24-valve V6 Alfa!
Handling and Ride
The car handles very well in corners, there is not much body roll and grip levels from the 185/55 R15 tyres are high. The ride is good for a short wheelbase car; bumps in the road are absorbed well. The suspension is slightly on the firm side, but I think this suits the character of the car.
The electrically assisted power steering is very light, perhaps too light and it feels a little wooden when driving on a straight freeway. However, once you turn into a corner, the steering feedback improves dramatically.
The car cruises really well on the open road, it is possible to cruise on the naughty side of the speed limit should you want to. However the gap between fourth and fifth gear is a bit big, so you almost always have to change down to fourth when you come to a hill, yet when you are in fourth, it's possible to accelerate up the hill.
The ABS brakes are very effective.
Fuel consumption usually averages out at 7l/100km.
The interior is unusual and funky. It has a centrally mounted digital speedometer, the rev counter sits in a pod above the steering wheel column and supportive seats are covered in a most unusual "Ruche" charcoal grey upholstery.
Ergonomically, everything works well and there are plenty of features such as aircon, electric windows, rain sensing wipers, satellite audio controls, auxiliary audio connections and more. The individually adjustable rear seats are a great idea and very practical .
This is well catered for by four airbags, ABS, EBD, brake assist and Isofix child seat mountings.
Initially I was concerned about the slightly girly image of the Twingo. (Girly girls and girly guys have expressed their admiration for the car!) However this little car has the heart of a lion and a lot of character. My only complaint is that ordering accessories from my local Renault Dealership can take a long time. Overall I'm pleased with my purchase!
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