Renault Twingo Renault Sport 133 Silverstone GP Limited Edition - Wheels, Etc

The nippy compact I could learn to love – despite the bumps

I never wanted to be the kind of woman who would only drive a tiny car. At 17, I had visions of transporting myself in lanky great Merc or, lottery win permitting, Lexuses.

But more than a decade of living in London, astronomical insurance premiums on my husband’s car for his journalist wife (what do insurers think hacks get up to? I sit quietly in front of a computer for 11 hours a day; fat chance I’d ever get involved in high-speed pursuit in the name of reporting) and no sign of a winning ticket, I flinch at the prospect of a Chelsea tractor and when offered a car to review, ask for something, you know, small, to tool around town in.

So I took timorous possession of a Twingo. It was the RenaultSport 133 Silverstone GP Limited Edition, which wasn’t too shaming, but it did have a wince-making name and was certainly very compact.

As you’d hope from its Silverstone moniker and racing red seatbelts (as well as its impressive engine to size ratio), the Twingo is a sporty little beast. The model I drove is one of 50 special-edition models (you get some internal and external design flourishes, an onboard performance tracking system and a RenaultSport track day experience at the Silverstone circuit to put it through its paces), but the standard model is very similar, though priced at £12,960 on the road.

On the plus side, its sportiness means that it’s perfect for pulling away at a lick from traffic lights and nipping hither and yon where congestion allows. But while its brakes are hilariously responsive, to the point of making passengers bounce in their seats, the smoothness of the ride was startling in its total, utter absence. I’d been warned by an in-the-know friend that the suspension would be “sporty” but I didn’t realise this meant that taking speed bumps at anything more than 2mph would be downright painful.

However, once on the open A-roads the car felt solid but speedy and I would have been happy to tackle a lengthy motorway drive in it. As it was, the RenaultSport took me from city to suburbs, via country lanes and a field-based car boot sale with aplomb. Its seemingly titchy boot happily held a weekly supermarket shop while the interior housed my husband, stepchild, her car seat, weekend bags and dreaded viola without feeling overloaded.

Its compact size meant parking – and avoiding the myriad cyclists in central London – was a breeze. While it was no Mini (the small car it’s definitely OK to love), I didn’t think RenaultSport was girly in the way that, say, the super-cute Fiat 500s can be, but a male colleague who drove it complained that his knuckles scraped the seatbelt holster every time he put the handbrake on. I didn’t suffer from the same problem, so either his Neanderthal hands are to blame or the Twingo really is designed for fairer drivers.

Either way, I was sad to see my sporty super-mini go – a bumpy ride aside, I found it small but, almost, perfectly formed. A great little city car if you live somewhere without speed bumps.

RENAULT TWINGO RENAULTSPORT 133 SILVERSTONE GP LTD ED

Price: £14,995

Engine capacity: 1.6 (131 bhp)

op speed (mph): 125 0-62 mph (seconds): 8.7

Fuel economy (mpg): 42.2

CO2 emissions (g/km): 155 

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
Sport
football
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
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: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

    Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

    Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

    Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

    £15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

    Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

    Day In a Page

    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
    Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

    Diana Krall interview

    The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
    Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

    Pinstriped for action

    A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

    Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

    'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

    Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

    Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
    Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us