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Renault Twizy review

A strange but loveable electric car which is a great alternative to a moped


Renault Twizy

No rear window, but parking sensors are an optional extra

The Twizy has no rear window, so you have to use the mirrors when looking behind you. This is fine when driving, but makes parking a bit tricky. You can buy parking sensors for £85 plus fitting. Also don’t expect much in the way of luggage space. A lockable glovebox will hold your sunglasses, but any luggage will need to be strapped into the back seat or held by your passenger.

Range anxiety is still a big problem with electric cars. Mainstream saloons such as the Nissan Leaf can do around 100 miles on a charge, which is enough for the vast majority of journeys, but the Twizy is more limited.

On a full charge the car reported 33 miles remaining, and after our 15-mile drive home, which was almost exclusively at 30mph with occasional crawling through traffic, the car reported 17 miles left. This means the estimate was pretty accurate, but we think it will drop rapidly with higher speeds: one 1/2-mile blast at 45mph knocked four miles off the Twizy’s estimated range.

Renault Twizy

The Twizy plugs into a standard 13-amp socket

The car charges from a standard 13-amp socket, and has a three-metre extendable cable under a flap in the nose. You’ll need an outside socket (or one near a window) as Renault says you should never use an extension lead. It should take around four hours to charge the car from empty. Unfortunately, we had some problems charging the Twizy; it charged for around 15 minutes before our electrics tripped out, and once we’d reset the circuit breakers the car refused to charge, no matter what socket we tried. We’ve asked Renault if the car has a safety cut-out, or if something more fundamental was wrong with our test model.

Renault Twizy

This is what the dashboard looked like while charging – at least until our circuit breaker blew

The Twizy is an odd car, and is definitely a niche product. It’s only slightly more practical (and marginally safer) than a scooter, and even if you buy the optional doors and windows you’ll still need to dress for the outdoors when driving it. However, it’s incredibly cheap to run. Renault claims it will cost around £1 for a full charge, so after you’ve paid your battery rental fee fuel costs are pretty much negligible. It certainly won’t replace a real car, but if you need a second vehicle as a suburban run-around, it certainly beats a scooter.

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