The Twingo Turns 20

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
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the twingo turns 20

Our friends at Jalopnik have an interesting history on the Renault Twingo, a car that is about to celebrate its 20th birthday, and has arguably entered the “small car hall of fame” alongside cars like the Mini and the Volkswagen Golf. You can read about its origins as a Polish people’s car and see how its strayed further and further away from the ideal. The next Twingo is slated to share a platform with the upcoming Smart Fortwo replacement, and that means a rear-engine, rear drive layout.

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • Willbodine Willbodine on Dec 14, 2013

    I liked the first Twingo. When I lived in Holland, a neighbor had one. For a basic transportation module, it was roomy, quiet and smooth-riding.

  • Sector 5 Sector 5 on Dec 15, 2013

    After visiting Wiki I can see where Yaris got the center console idea. Hmm the brow raiser here is RE/rwd. Why would that be? I conjure Fiat 126 or Hillman Imp with a toaster oven back window. How's Twingo III gonna pull that rear hatch?

    • Brian P Brian P on Dec 15, 2013

      Lots of rear engine cars have been designed to use the space more efficiently and still have a decent luggage area above the engine. Even the Fiat 126p got a driveline makeover late in life to have the engine positioned horizontally and with a hatchback body style. Fiat knew how to do this long before; there was a station-wagon version of the original (rear engine) Fiat 500 with the engine horizontal in the back. Not to mention the VW Type 3, which all had luggage area above the engine (the cooling fan was in a different position from the space-eating design used on the Type 1 bugs). The next Twingo uses the drivetrain layout of the next smart, and assuming those are remotely like the current one, the engine is very low in the chassis and tilted over at an angle with useful luggage space above. As for "why" ... well, I'm probably not the only one tired of front drive, and it's good to see something different. Besides - no torque steer to worry about, less weight on the front end so less power steering assistance, no CV joints operating at steep angles while turning, and we now have stability-control systems to tame rear-engine's traditional evil traits, so why not?

  • Athos Nobile Athos Nobile on Dec 15, 2013

    The first gen cars were pure genius. I still remember the first time I saw and sat in one at an autoshow back in '93. I'd love to have one of these with the retractable fabric roof... with the 16V engine.

  • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on Dec 17, 2013

    The Twingo made it into this book of "Cars" I got as a child, due to it's styling and fun nature. I'll have to pull that out again and see what they were raving about, and the title and author. Cars had to be special to be in that book, which was huge, and produced probably around 1998. The Avanti was there, and the Seville slantback, the Twingo, CV2, etc. I remember one of the last cars in the book, in the "Grand Saloons" section was the 91+ S-Class. The book said we were unlikely to see another car with such a no expense spared attitude and attention to detail and engineering complexity.