Renault Twizy

The Essentials

  • Price from £6,690
  • What Car? says: 2 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 0.0mpg
  • What is it? All electric urban runaround, best limited to sunny days

Great

  • Purchase and charging costs are very affordable
  • You're guaranteed to turn heads
  • A top speed of 50mph means it'll easily keep up with other city traffic

Gripes

  • The cabin is completely open to the elements
  • There's a distinct shortage of storage, equipment and security measures
  • The limited range and top speed mean you can't really venture out of the city
  • Drive

    It's surprisingly nippy but the ride is unforgiving, especially on urban streets where the Twizy belongs

  • Inside

    Basic, utilitarian fittings and materials are designed to withstand the element

  • Safety

    There's a driver's airbag, and that's it

  • Reliability

    It feels generally durable, though the Twizy is too new to know for sure

  • Space

    There's just enough room for a driver and passenger, but storage for little more than a handbag and a pair of shades

  • Standard and extras

    Just the controls to drive the car. Doors and the option of a splash of colour both cost extra.

  • What's it like to drive?

    The Twizy is surprisingly nippy round town. Unfortunately, the ride isn't as well suited to the urban jungle, as it thumps and bumps over every uneven surfaces. It won't be much good on faster roads either as the top speed is just 50mph. The turning circle is impressively tight but because there's no power steering, parking can be quite an effort.

    The electric motor whines under acceleration and the narrow tyres create a lot of road noise but the biggest noise issue will be from outside the car, as the Twizy has no side windows as standard; these are available as a cost option, however. Even with the optional door panels, your rear passenger will bear the brunt of the elements, especially wind and rain. The driver is better protected, being tucked behind the windscreen.

  • What's it like inside?

    You sit in the centre of the car with your one passenger sat behind you, and as there's no rear window you can't see out the back. Not every driver will be able to get comfortable as there's no height or angle adjustment to the front seat and the steering wheel is fixed, too. There's plenty of headroom but the rear passenger has to straddle the front seat to fit their legs in.

    The interior is designed to be weatherproof so the seats are made from plastic and the floor, too, is of the wipe-down variety. Similarly, the dashboard is extremely basic although it does include Renault's large digital speedometer.

    There are two small locking compartments but that's it for storage, and the Twizy's open design means there's nowhere to display a parking ticket securely either.

    The doors open upwards to aid access in small parking spaces but, as befits a car with minimum security, there's very little added equipment, though. Colour trim allows you personalise certain panels, and Technic comes with rubber floor-mats and alloy wheels. Windows are available for £295 and can be fitted to existing Twizys for the same price. The windows are flexible units that zip into a metal frame; an opening in the window gives access to the door handle.

  • How reliable is it?

    The Twizys battery pack is leased from Renault, which should soothe most fears over mechanical reliability. While most of the fittings feel solidly built, the parking brake feels woefully flimsy, although to aid security it can't be released without the key. Safety provision isn't great, either, though there is a driver airbag.

  • Should I buy one?

    The Twizy is very cheap to buy, especially for an electric vehicle, although you do have to lease the battery from Renault. However, a full charge will cost just £1 or so of electricity, with an official range of 62 miles between plug-ins. The Twizy is also exempt from road tax and London's Congestion Charge. Financially, then, it could make a lot of sense, but bear in mind that it's not especially comfortable or safe to drive in, and it's best limited to urban runarounds.