Renault Twingo E-Tech Electric review
Renault's small city car goes electric and it's way better than the name.
Cars like the Twingo always seemed to me like the perfect fit for electric power. The small amount of distance you usually travel in a car like this means range is not as important and being in a city, you should have no problem finding a charging station anyway and the instant torque provided even by weaker electric motors, means you'll almost always win the stoplight grand-prix. So with Renault's recent expansion of hybrid and electric vehicles, I was very glad to see them release the Twingo E-Tech Electric (the name need some work though).
Except for some blue pinstripes and electric badging, differentiating between this and a normal Twingo is almost impossible. Good, if you want to stealthily help save the planet. The Twingo E-Tech also shares the standard car's rear mounted motor, which helps contribute to the car's very small turning circle, which makes it that more practical on narrow city streets. Something not many people know is that this car shares its platform with the Smart EQ forfour, as evident by the same air scoop above the rear wheels. There is no denying that this generation of Twingo returned to the quirky styling of the original and in my opinion, it looks exactly like a French supermini should. Good job Renault. Even though the car has four doors, rear seats are really best reserved for children because there just isn't that much leg room. A VW e-Up! would be a better choice, if you wanted to regularly squeeze more than two people in the car. Boot space measures 174 litres, but since it's fairly square, you can easily use all of it.
You'll be happy to know, the interior matches the quirkiness of the car's exterior. The plastics used all over the car are hard and would feel cheap, but Renault's use of color and different textures completely solved that problem for me. The steering wheel also benefits from the use of color and it's wrapped in perforated leather which feels very nice in the hands. The placement of only four buttons on the wheel makes it look like a My first steering wheel playset, but Renault seems determined to continue using the media controls placed behind the steering wheel. I'm not the biggest fan of this configuration, but you do get used to it eventually. Front seats are about what you'd expect from this segment, but they do make you sit unusally high, which may be a problem if you're over 190cm. The car features a 7 inch touch screen infotainment display which is very bright and clear, but the system itself is infuriatingly unintuitive. Luckily the car offers both Android Auto and Apple Carplay, so I'd recommend just using that instead. The driver gets their information from a small monochrome screen that is encircled by the speedometer and while not fancy, it does offer you all the information you may need, such as range or the level of regenerative braking.
Speaking of that regenerative braking, you have four levels of intensity available, from none to quite a bit, but none is a true one pedal driving experience, as the car will continue to creep forward and you'll have to use the brake to stop. I would also like to see the hardest brake setting brake more, but you'll still find yourself pressing the brake pedal a lot of the time. Fortunately, the brake feel is much more linear than in some other electric cars, so you won't have trouble trusting how the car will stop. With the Twingo E-Tech weighing ove 200 kilograms more than its petrol powered brethren, Renault had to stiffen up the suspension to the point it bounces around on uneven roads more than you'd like, although this coupled with a low center of gravity does mean it's pretty fun to chuck around. Just don't expect too much from the skinny, electric range friendly tires. The 80 horsepower motor is best suited to city driving, but will still happily propel you to motorway speeds, even though the sound insulation really wasn't designed for those speeds.
With this being an electric car, let's now talk about some electric numbers. The Twingo E-Tech has a WLTP range of just 190km, which unlike the e-Up! with its 260km range, limits it to just a city car. Renault however, does say the car should travel 270km with city driving. There is no DC fast charging of any kind, but with 22kW AC charging, you will still be able to charge the 22kWh battery to 80% in an hour. No fast charging would be an issue for other cars, but since the Twingo is primarily a city based car, it really shouldn't be a problem.
The Twingo E-Tech Electric (still a terrible name) is a very french competitor to the likes of Volkswagen's e-Up!. It has a lot of character and is a very good choice for anyone looking for a second car that is primarily used in the city. The prices start at just over 20.000€, but that will get you wind up front windows, a hard foam steering wheel and no infotainment display, so you might want to step up to one of the higher range models.