Renault Twizy - car review
Renault has had a rather good idea and at present that's pretty much all it is, a good idea. It's a quadricycle called Twizy, which is a rather silly name for something touted as a revolution in urban motoring,
The tiny, tandem-style buggy costs a mere £6,690 to buy in its most basic form and when I say basic, I mean you get no doors. Not that the doors on the top-of-the-range model are much better than no doors at all.
There's a gap in the market as wide as the place where the windows should be for a baby buggy-style rain cover for those countless less-than-perfect weather conditions our fair isle so frequently endures.
That said, the Twizy's arrival on the back of a trailer happily coincided with a change in the weather from monsoon to brief interlude of summer, all blue skies and swallows on the breeze.
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This respite in the rainy season made the Twizy's brief stay a brighter experience altogether. People react well to cutesy and here the little Renault scores well. Everyone loved its peculiar appearance.
It measures just over 2.3 metres in length, 1.1 metres wide and can turn on a sixpence, although the lack of power steering makes the task an exercise.
Performance is okay, it's sprightly enough from a standstill and will quickly reach its top speed of about 50mph.
Pushing along at these speeds soon drains the battery though and what energy regeneration there is does little to impact on the decline of the battery's life. That said, recharging is simple enough. Beneath a cover at the front of the Twizy is a three-pin plug on an elasticated cable. Plug it in and about three hours later you'll have a full charge again. That's enough for a claimed 60 miles, although I never felt confident enough to test that claim.
Although the purchase price seems excellent value on the surface, there's also the cost of battery leasing to consider. This will set you back a minimum of £45 per month, that's another £540 a year. And should you exceed the contracted mileage of 4,500 miles per annum you'll incur an excess charge. This surely relegates the Twizy to second car status, unless you're prepared to pay the penalty.
Whirring around the quieter country lanes of south east Leicestershire was a pleasant experience and far better than the Twizy's intended place of work, the city.
The Twizy's diminutive proportions, although working in its favour a lot of the time, are not so clever when it comes to weight. With two people aboard it weighs about 800kgs and that's not enough to tax the suspension, meaning anything more than a ripple in the road is not absorbed, but transferred straight to driver and passenger. As a result, progress becomes too slow as you attempt to avoid every blemish in the road surface for the sake of your spine.
Escape from the idea that this is a car and the Twizy is excellent. Expect any of the comforts of a modern motor and you'll be sorely disappointed.
But this is a beginning and not for a generation who have been spoilt by motor manufacturers desperate for us to buy the wares. This for those new to the independence offered by the motor car and, judging by the reaction of those under the age of 20 that looked over the Renault, it will be a success.