Is the Twizy a serious solution to urban mobility, or could it be the modern electric automotive ‘white elephant’, like the Sinclair C5 was of the 80s? To find out we spent some time with this quirky Renault to see how it fitted into modern-day life.
‘Will our car have the optional doors?’; that was the question both niggling and worrying us. We had briefly experienced this tandem Renault, once in sheeting rain where we got mildly damp and once in scorching heat, where we felt over-exposed. The lack of doors in a hot, holiday atmosphere sounds like fun: however, with this summer’s weather at both extremes of the spectrum, the idea of driving anywhere in an open-sided car filled us with dread. Typical then, that when the delivery driver pulls up at our house, we’re in the middle of another titanic shower. Still, it’s a relief to see our range-topping £7,400 Technic specification Twizy has the £545 optional Lamborghini-style scissor doors.
The Twizy’s controls are simple for anyone to operate – just twist the key until it bleeps, press the Drive button, release the hand brake and you’re off. The Twizy’s performance immediately puts a smile on your face, and its 50mph top speed is more than enough to keep up with other traffic in urban conditions. With the handling tuned by Renaultsport, it’s entertaining to drive too, even if the ride verges on the uncomfortable. Most of the time spent driving the Twizy was in town, its natural habitat. Easy to park, thanks to its tiny dimensions, although the lack of a rear window makes manoeuvring a little more difficult.
Out of town, the Twizy is still fun, the only limits being the near 50-mile range (though it’s very easy to charge) and the top speed. The optional Parrot Bluetooth kit seems a worthwhile option at £280 – on top of making hands-free calls, you can listen to music through the roof-mounted speakers. In traffic, even the smallest city cars dwarf the Twizy, and it’s easy to feel vulnerable up against large trucks. There’s just a driver’s airbag in the Twizy, no weight in the doors and they don’t feel like they would offer that much support in a crash. The city Renault hasn’t been tested by Euro NCAP as yet, but Renault is mighty confident that it will stand up well in a crash.
We love the fact it looks like nothing else on the road, especially with the Technic’s bright coloured highlights and those funky three-spoke alloys. We couldn’t have got more attention over the weekend than if we had been driving an expensive supercar. So would we buy one? In an urban environment, yes. It lends itself to modern-day living very well, as long as you can put up with its limitations, or have access to a second car for longer journeys.