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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
film
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
News
peopleWarning - contains a lot of swearing
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - West London

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: WEST LONDON - An excellent new opportunity wit...

    Recruitment Genius: Florist Shop Manager

    £8 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A Florist Shop Manager is required to m...

    Recruitment Genius: Appointment Maker / Telesales

    £15000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading supplie...

    Recruitment Genius: Trainee Field Sales Executive - Dereham

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation is proud to b...

    Day In a Page

    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

    Army general planning to come out
    Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

    What the six wise men told Tony Blair

    Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
    25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

    25 years of The Independent on Sunday

    The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
    Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

    Smash hit go under the hammer

    It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
    Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

    The geeks who rocked the world

    A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
    Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

    Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

    Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

    These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

    A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

    A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
    Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

    Growing mussels

    Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project