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All-electric Twizy takes on the city

Renault Twizy Urban business car test review
Renault adds chutzpah to all-electric city cars with the minute and sweetly named Twizy. A trendy city car, but with batteries you can charge for £1.50 and that’s clever and cool to boot.

Car review: Richard Lofthouse
RenaultTwizy bcm
Twizy: A fresh spin on the next generation of cars from Renault

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11 June 2012

 

Twizy: A fresh spin on the next generation of cars from Renault

 

Renault Twizy Urban business car test review

 

Car review: Richard Lofthouse

What is it?

Renault’s boldest addition to its range of 100% electric vehicles. The Twizy is so small that you can park three of them in a conventional parking space, yet it still retains seating for two and has four wheels. Above all, it is partly open to the elements and therefore offers a decisively different interpretation of urban transport, plus typically flamboyant Renault styling.

The Twizy, intended exclusively for local or urban use, boasts a range of 61 miles and a maximum top speed of 50 mph, and costs from £6,690OTR.

 

What’s hot?

  • With zero emissions this is a tax and congestion charge-free vehicle
  • …and Renault claim that a full charge from a domestic three pin socket takes 3.5 hours and costs £1.50
  • The deliberately avant-garde styling turns the Electric Vehicle sector on its head
  • The driving experience brings an instant smile to you face. The Twizy is incredibly agile, fast off the line, a genuine alternative for commuters who find cars cumbersome and scooters dangerous
  • The Twizy will breeze the tiniest of car parking spaces, measuring just 2.34 metres long, 1.24 metres wide
  • With driver airbag, auto transmission and a 6.8 metre turning circle, the Twizy reflects a complete package from Renault
  • There’s the benefit of zero company car tax (until 2015)
  • Residual values look good because the battery is leased not owned. It is automatically upgraded as replacements improve
  • Renault are backing the car with a four year, 100,000 mile warranty and free servicing, and by the end of the year any Renault dealer will be able to support it

What’s not?

  • Even with the optional, £545 scissor doors, the Twizy is not closed to the elements and therefore impractical unless you have a garage…
  • …which most urban commuters do not. Neither can they stretch the 3 metre charging cord from street to a first floor flat
  • The £40-60 monthly battery lease charge mimics the mobile phone model, but is an additional cost nonetheless
  • With one cramped passenger seat and no storage to speak of, this is not a car for the school run, nor even the grocery run
  • The optional, £110 ‘blanket’ is essential to protect occupants from the elements, but feels like an afterthought
  • The panoramic glass roof is a core feature, but not available until later this year

 

Bold: Renault aim to turn around your thinking on electric vehicles

 

Business Car Manager Road Test Verdict

Renault is to be applauded for its courage in bringing so much panache to a sector previously dominated by the un-cool Reva G-Whiz. If anyone can turn the image of electric vehicles around, Renault can. The Twizy is like nothing else you’ve seen. At first glance it is tiny – much smaller than the Smart car, for instance. But drive the thing in its natural, urban environment, and it rewards straightaway. The dynamics are fantastic, and the 0-28mph time of 6.1 seconds feels fast.

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Ralph Morton

Ralph Morton

Ralph Morton is an award-winning journalist and the founder of Business Car Manager (now renamed Business Motoring). Ralph writes extensively about the car and van leasing industry as well as wider fleet and company car issues. A former editor of What Car?, Ralph is a vastly experienced writer and editor and has been writing about the automotive sector for over 35 years.

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