The nippy compact I could learn to love – despite the bumps
Engine capacity: 1.6 (131 bhp)
Top speed (mph): 125
0-62 mph (seconds): 8.7
Fuel economy (mpg): 42.2
CO2 emissions (g/km): 155
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.
Life & Style blogs
How old is your heart? US research finds three out of four people have hearts five years older than their actual age
iPhone 6s Plus photos: leaks show Force Touch display, subtly altered size
Huawei Mate S and Huawei Watch: new products take on iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch
How to discover who your best friends are on WhatsApp - using a tool within the application
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
- 1 Huawei Mate S and Huawei Watch: new products take on iPhone 6 Plus and Apple Watch
- 2 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
- 3 If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
- 4 Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
- 5 Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This recognized leader in providing software s...
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...