The Renault Twizy was first seen as the Twizy ZE concept in Frankfurt in 2009. It was a huge hit at the time and was deemed to be superior to company’s Zoe model. Yet Renault waited until the time was right to unleash their innovative machine which is one of the cheapest on the market.
Renault Twizy. Image: Google UK
The Twizy is a ground up vehicle and is more like a heavy quadricycle than a traditional car. Despite the small size and unusual appearance of the Twizy, this type of design is expected to be extremely popular in the next decade or so. This electric car is 12 inches shorter than the tiny Smart ForTwo vehicle and is made with a steel structure wrapped with plastic panels.
Renault claim the Twizy is safer than the ForTwo and it has a four-point seatbelt for the driver, who is situated centrally, while the passenger sits directly behind. It also has proper crumple zones and performs well in crash testing. The 100kg lithium-ion battery pack (6.1kWh) sits beneath the seats while the 17bhp electric induction motor can be found ahead of the rear axle; it produces 42lb ft of torque. The chassis has MacPherson style struts on the back and front, there are anti-roll bars and a wheel on each corner.
The interior of the Twizy is certainly unusual looking with the driver sat centrally but you do enjoy a high driving position which improves visibility. However, most testers feel as if they are riding in the car as opposed to driving it. The controls are simple to use and the battery meter, digital speedometer and trip computer are clear and easy to see.
Renault Twizy. Image: Google UK
The plastic on the interior seems tough and can be cleaned with a wipe but it still feels cheap. There is a 31 litre box behind the passenger seat which is hard to access and can barely fit the contents of what you would buy on a small shopping trip. There is no cabin heating so driving on cold days can be uncomfortable to say the least.
The top speed of the Twizy is just 50mph and it takes 8.4 seconds to go from 0-30mph so it is certainly only a vehicle worth considering in urban areas. The range of this electric car is 43 miles so don’t plan any lengthy journeys! You will find that you use throttle travel much of the time so the Twizy feels like a scooter in that regard. It does reasonably well if you drive sensibly in the city but testing showed its range was just 27 miles when pushed to its limits so beware!
Although it offers something unique on the market, you have the right to expect more. The Twizy hardly seems to be any more practical than a large scooter. Sure, you have the ‘fun’ aspect and if that appeals to you, perhaps the Twizy will be a good purchase. It also has extremely low running costs which is a plus. Yet you can get a decent town car for almost the same price as a vehicle with a 43 mile range and 50mph top speed which is worth bearing in mind.
- Rating: 2.5/5
- Cost: £6,590 ($9,000)
- Miles Per Gallon Equivalent (MPG): Estimated at 211mpg
- Official Driving Range (Miles): 43 miles
- Standard Charging Time (Hours): 3.5 hours
- Practicality (Seats & Doors): 2 seated
- Engine Size: 6.1 kWh lithium-ion battery
- Engine Power: 17bhp
- Transmission: Single gear
- Acceleration (0-30mph): 8.4 seconds
- Top Speed (mph): 50mph
- NCAP Safety Rating: Not classified as a car