Anyone who took a trip across to France in the last couple of decades may well have encountered a small Renault with quirky looks on every street corner and wondered why it wasn't available in the UK. That car was of course the Renault Twingo, which originally hit the French market back in 1992 but was sadly absent from UK showrooms until 2007. There were of course a few Brits who decided to go so far as to import a French model and satisfy their desire to own this small but perfectly formed little urban run-around. In 2007 the second generation Twingo for sale did get released in the UK, although by this point there was a little less to shout about, if only because of the changes that Renault had made to the basic formula. Built on the second-gen Clio platform, which had itself been superseded by 2007, the new Renault Twingo was well received if not entirely up to date. With 1.2 litre petrol engines available, with the TCe Turbo edition managing to squeeze 100bhp out of a relatively small powerplant, it was frugal and fast fun.
In 2008 Renault even released a special 1.6 litre Twingo with the RenaultSport badge attached, giving it some serious power. The Renault Twingo for sale range got an update in 2010, at which point engines became cleaner and greener while plenty of new trim options were available, reeking of youth appeal.
Bang for your buck
While the used Renault Twingo is not as purely practical as something like the Kia Picanto, it falls a little short of being an outright fashion statement in the same vein as the Fiat 500. For some this will be the perfect balance, with its three door setup and decent interior room helping it to feel funky and desirable while still giving you plenty of useful features. This is a much bigger car than the French Twingo produced in the 1990s and early 2000s, but the additional length and width makes it easier for passengers to get in and out as well as giving you more luggage space. Renault offered a wide variety of trim options, paying particular attention to different styling details, so each Twingo definitely looks unique. The rear seating is flexible enough to let you slide the row forwards or backwards to adjust the ratio of legroom to luggage space. There are also lots of storage compartments to keep your bits and bobs safe while you drive.
What you'll pay
A used Renault Twingo will start at about £3000 for an '08 model, while newer iterations will close in on £5000 to £8000, depending on the trim and engine.
The insurance grouping of the Twingo is appropriately affordable, with the basic models falling into group 2 while even the range-topping RenaultSport is only in group 8.
What to check
This is an urban car owned by city dwellers, so the biggest problems it faces come in the form of parking damage.
The used Renault Twingo is mechanically sound, but it could be subject to some serious clutch wear and tear if used in traffic, so even low mileage models should be examined to check for this potential problem.
This is an affordable, mass market car and so getting replacement parts is neither difficult nor particularly expensive. You'll spend less than a tenner on things like spark plugs and oil filters, while the fuel filter will set you back £18.
How it drives
Even the bog standard 1.2 litre engine used by the Twingo offers lots of eager fun on the road, with the sporty setup of the RenaultSport giving you even more smiles per mile. In terms of its day to day usability, the Twingo is smooth enough to sooth you during the daily commute, while the handling means that you will not be afraid to throw it into corners or duck in and out of traffic, changing lanes with confidence. The RenaultSport model will leave a Mini Cooper in its dust, but even the TCe powered option can feel quick, if off the line acceleration is your thing.
The Renault Twingo is not exactly a drivers' car, but it will behave much more appealingly in an urban setting than some of the more honed options out there.