Motoring review: Renault Twizy
Insults, icy weather and DIY doors...
Price: from £6,690
Battery: 6.1kWh lithium-ion
Top speed (mph): 50
0-28mph (seconds): 6.1
Charge time (hours): 3.5
Range (miles): 62
Renault Twizy owners must be a brave bunch. Not only have they put their money where their environmental mouths are by buying an electric city car, but they actually have to face zipping around in it for 12 months of the year.
The Twizy is a two-seater (yes, believe it or not, there is room for a passenger in the back) electric runaround that, once charged off the mains, is designed to pootle along for 60 miles of emissions-free motoring. It's actually almost a year since it first launched, but Renault, rather cleverly, launched it last April… in Ibiza, where the temperature is just a little warmer than the average European city.
Not that I'm blaming Renault – I wouldn't want to try to flog a tiny car with no door in December or January either – but how will it handle the rigours of a British winter?
Thankfully, since it went on sale the Twizy has grown doors and even some plastic windows. Annoyingly for buyers, though, the doors are a £545 option and the windows are a self-assembly addition at £295. Yes, you have to get your Allen keys out and fit them yourself, and they don't even provide a flush finish – there is a gap at the back.
In the rain or snow there is no way to pretend that using the Twizy to get to work or to pop out in the evening is a pleasant experience. Damp doesn't really come close to describing the experience as cold spray lashes the side of the car and your feet turn to blocks of ice. On a cold but dry morning it isn't that bad, though, so much so that you can start to imagine what the joy of zipping around town in one on a summer's evening would feel like. Or, at least, you can for the first five minutes. Soon, things get very nippy and you realise that the doors provide only limited protection from the arctic blasts of wind. Wrapping up in a ski jacket, thermals, thick gloves, woolly hat and scarf is essential if, like me, you want to tackle a seven-mile drive into work. A hot-water bottle might be another sensible precaution.
Renault says the Twizy will cover 60 miles on a full charge and you can even get it up to 50mph (this is a fairly bum-squeaky experience). A range of 40 miles is probably nearer to the truth in winter (cold temperatures reduce the effectiveness of the lithium-ion battery), but it certainly has enough juice for commuting with one or two charges a week.
It's just 1.4m wide and 2.3m long and it can really pull away at the lights, a combination that takes a little getting used to. I often commute to work by bike and on more than one occasion while driving the Twizy I had to stop myself from darting down cycle lanes or cutting corners. That said, it is possible to nip past quite a lot of traffic safely. Be warned, though: you're exposed to the comments, snide remarks, road rage and "witty" observations of other motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, too, which also takes some getting used to.
The Twizy is a fun thing, then, with some use for brave commuters, but at nearly £7k plus a monthly rental fee for the battery, it's hard to pin down exactly who will buy one. It doesn't pretend to be the answer to all your automotive and transport problems, but other than early adopters and the odd eccentric you can't help but think it's really suitable only as a third car in a family. At least it's a third car that will get you noticed, though, and I think that's exactly what Twizy buyers will want.
Life & Style blogs
The mother who never gave up on her child abused by the Oxford child sex ring
Britain scrapes into top 25 countries in the world to be a mother in Save the Children report
What do the emoji on Snapchat mean?
The 12 most sexually satisfied countries in the world revealed
Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
General election live: SNP suspends two members for disrupting Labour rally
- 2 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 4 University student in court for allegedly covering housemates' food in window cleaner and spit
- 5 Ryan Gosling posts tribute to 'Ryan Gosling Won't Eat His Cereal' creator Ryan McHenry
£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...
£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...
£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...