Last day with the Twingo and what have I learnt – that this Twingo is about a zillion times better than the original one launched in the early 1990s.
Seriously, if you want a fun city car that isn’t a Fiat 500 or a Mini then this is the car to go for. It also comes with the benefit of a whole load of standard kit missing from many rivals – even the basic model has USB, DAB, Bluetooth and LED daytime driving lights (although air con is a £500 extra).
Don’t go for the 70bhp non-turbo petrol, opt for the 90bhp turbo that comes alive when you wind up the three-cylinder unit and use the gearbox liberally.
Yes it’s rear-engined but the Twingo is agile through the bends and the back stays firmly in place. Basically, the forgiving forgiving, fun and destined to be one of the great cars of 2015. Especially if you want to stand out from the crowd.
I have news – at 3.40pm today the fuel gauge on the Twingo finally moved. It’s taken the best part of a week and I’ve covered around 75 miles, which gives you some idea of how frugal this thrifty runabout actually is (somewhere around 54mpg but capable of 65+ apparently).
I’m sure there are more economical city cars but I doubt there are many which are this much fun. Yes, the Twingo even gives the Fiat 500 a run for its money.
As a style statement, I believe the Fiat just about edges it. The Twingo isn’t as cute, missing out on the curves that make the 500 just as recognisable as the iconic original.
The Renault interior is eye-catching but again, the Fiat is prettier. It’s when you get the Twingo out on a country road that it puts a big smile on your face. Fun in all the right places…
Hats off to Renault for putting so much effort into the design of the Twingo. Admittedly, part of this cost will be shared by Daimler, who will launch the new Smart ForFour on the same platform (although the Germans will no doubt charge you a lot more for their machine).
Neat touches? Well, the cabin space is exceptional for a little car. It has five doors, the rear side windows pop outwards rather than wind down to allow more elbow room, and the front passenger seat backs flip forward to create room for carrying larger loads.
Perhaps best of all is that unlike a Ford Ka or a Skoda Fabia, it’s a little car you can get emotional about. It has something – French flair, Gallic charm, call it what you will but i’m developing a soft spot for the plucky little Renault.
And I’m finally in the boot! The key fob decided to start working again. It’s a decent size space too, considering the engine is under the rear floor. What’s under the plastic bonnet? Just a radiator, battery and screen wash bottle…
Car Couture likes anything that isn’t off-the-peg – this week’s Twingo has a funky interior equipped with a Sport Pack. Well, I think it does as even with the specification sheet for the car, I’m not entirely clear as to what’s on board.
There are so many options and packs you could spend a week deciding on how to personalise your Twingo. It’s moderately confusing and indecisive buyers need not apply…
The £850 pack also includes 16-inch alloys and black side decals. However, it’s the part red seat upholstery and other red trim parts that concern me. In my experience, red soon turns grubby and can spoil the appearance of any interior.
So while you might like the thought of standing out from the crowd, I’d opt for something a little less in your face for the interior trim. The Twingo cabin is cool enough without it…
Before we go any further, can somebody tell me how to get in the boot?
The lovely lady who delivered the Twingo opened the hatch for me when she arrived. I put my bag in and drove away. Later, when I arrived home, I couldn’t open it.
I tried the ‘boot opening’ button on the key-fob (they never work, do they), I tried pressing the Renault badge logo on the lid. Then I ran my fingers under the lip of the boot in search of a button to press.
Several minutes later, I was tearing at the back seats. Unable to open to boot. Eventually, the only way to retrieve my Christmas shopping was to fold the seat backs and reach in from there.
Why should I revert to the manual? Getting in to the boot should be as intuitive as opening a side door.
Eight hours later and I still can’t get in. I can be stubborn too Mr Twingo..
I’ve just come off the phone from interviewing Sofia Helin, the actress who plays Swedish detective Saga in Nordic noir drama, The Bridge. She drives an alarmingly green Porsche 911 in the series – so what does she think of orange cars?
Sofia, who graduated with a degree in philosophy in the 1990s, thought long and hard about the answer. “I think the green car is perfect for Saga’s dysfunctional character – orange would be one step too far.”
So, there you have it. Conclusive proof from the coolest woman on the planet that driving an orange Captur, or any other orange car, really isn’t good for the soul.
Unfortunately, her own image was then slightly dented when I asked what car she drives in real life. You guessed, a thumping great Volvo…
It’s a flat Monday at Car Couture HQ. The World Cup has ended, we’re out of the Tour de France and I’ve almost finished my box set of Breaking Bad. Not even the orange blob that is the Captur can raise a smile.
This morning I noticed the test car has a tow bar. Interesting, I thought. Renault don’t offer their urban SUV with a four-wheel drive set up but I just wondered if it could cope with a deeply rutted dirt track across the farm…
It’s a route I take every week or so in the summer, humping a load of grass cuttings to the giant compost heap. My ancient Land Rover does it in high ratio no problem – how would the Captur fair?
Easily, as it happens. It seems that the extra 200mm of ground clearance does at least come in useful for something, apart from peering over hedges. Shame Renault can’t offer a 4×4 version, I’m sure there would be a market out there…
Yesterday was a good one for orange – Netherlands won third place in the World Cup and the Marching Season kicked off without much trouble in Northern Ireland. However, I’m still not sure about the in-yer-face nature of the sunburst paint on my Captur.
I took a peep at the Captur colour pot online this morning and what Renault might like to call ‘personalisation’ is really just encouraging people to scream about a very middle of the road SUV. Are there really motorists out there who are so enamoured with their Captur that they want to shout about it?
Well, apparently yes. Apart from the garish colour schemes, a quick search of the Internet turned up the Captur Owners Club. I kid you not – there are people uploading images of their beloved Captur, with outpourings of love for their French fancies.
Some have even given them nicknames like Misty and Kucho – one chap has a picture of his gleaming Captur on his wedding day (adequate grounds for divorce in my book, and I should know).
This may be great news for people who want to set up a website for interestingly-shaped navel dust but surely there’s more to life than this, Nandos and out of town shopping?
Make your own mind up:
I blame Porsche – weren’t they the first to offer an orange car for sale? Or maybe it was the three-wheeled Bond, or I seem to remember MG did something similar…
It’s all a matter for personal taste but orange is up there with yellow as the worst colour ever sprayed on a motor vehicle. OK, possibly pink is worse.
Whatever – I know that manufacturer press offices like to offer journalists bright colours because they look better in photographs. Make your own mind up but I can’t imagine anybody buying one this colour. Or so I thought…
This morning I trundled in to Stow-on-the-Wold to buy a paper. As I arrived at the newsagents, guess what parked behind me? Yep an orange Captur! The owner seemed very pleased with himself but I decided to scuttle off before we got engaged in a conversation on the joys of going orange.
Just the colour you need to be driving in Belfast today, on the glorious 12th. What a strange nation of car drivers we are…
Compact SUVs – there’s so many of them out there these days that they all seem to blend into one. Ten years ago we would have bought a hatchback, now everybody want’s a family car that’s high of the ground with chunky styling.
On paper, the Captur isn’t that different. Despite the looks, it’s front-wheel drive only, which means the 20cm of extra ride height only aids visibility and nothing else.
Yet in the metal, the Captur is actually rather good. It’s been well thought out by the designers, with deeply sculpted side panels, a funky front end that encapsulates a big Renault badge, plus plenty of personalization options. The chrome exterior pack looks especially neat.
And this youthful approach continues inside, with colour-coded seats, a wrap around dashboard and seven-inch display screen.
My favourite feature are the seats bins on the back of the front seats. They are strands of bungee chord shaped liked a spider’s web. Look great – but crap for carrying your kid’s pencils…