RENAULT CLIO/RENAULT TWIZY: Don’t forget the gloves!

Va Va Voom is back – but not, I’m afraid, Thierry.

The legendary Frenchman will nonetheless be happy to see his favourite small car has shed 100 kgs, is some 45mm lower than before and has a more masculine look that Renault are hoping will give buyers more reason to reurn to the Regie.

The new Clio 4 certainly has a sporty look and feel, and arrives in the UK with a colour palette that is no longer as bland as has been the case in the past.

And it comes with a range of petrol engines that are now as economical as diesels were a few years ago.

Prices start at £10,595 for the Expression 1.2 16v 75 version, up to the Dynamique S MediaNav dCi 90 S&S at £16,095.

Dynamique MediaNav (£12,995) is expected to be the most popular version, coming as it does with the seven inch tablet touch screensat nav. Renault expect it to account for more than half of all Clio sales, so there will be a lot around.

The one l sampled was bathed in piano black panels, giving the interior a very shiny appearance, but there is plenty of choice on the options list if ‘more subtle’ is your preference.

The instrument dials have a new distinctive shape, and there’s plenty of room on board so you and your passengers are not cramped.

I found the ride quality a quite bouncy, even on a relatively smooth Cambridgeshire dual carriageway, so it’s a good job the seats are comfortable and do their bit to absorb the vibes.

Legroom is excellent. I can say that as I never felt the need to extend the drivers seat fully back.

It comes with 90hp and 220Nm of torque, 112mph top speed and combined fuel figure of 83.1 – seriously economical.

>> THINKING of investing in a Twizy to beat the traffic? Then make sure you tick ‘gloves’ on your must-buy option list. And a good coat might be an idea too.

Twizy would be an undoubted blast and holiday highlight if you were in Greece or Spain and hired one for a bit of sight seeing. The fact there’s no heater and the wind whistles in past the plastic doors wouldn’t matter there – but in freezing Britain it does, so my first run in Renault’s quirky and radical electric vehicle was clouded by the fact I was, to put it mildly, bloody cold.

Its odd look attract lots of looks. If you’re driving one like the one pictured above with zebra stripes there is no escape from the scorn of other motorists.

A wheel at each corner gives it stability though the ride quality is firm and leaves a bit to be desired.

But as a town only machine it works. It’s dead easy to drive with just a button to press to select drive or reverse, and the usual brake and accelerator. It can nip along at up to 50mph (if you’re brave enough – I even managed it UP a hill) but it’s not the most comfortable thing I’ve ever driven and it would be hard to hold a conversation with your passenger because they sit behind you and the 17bhp electric motor and its mechanical partners are far from silent.

Charging to full capacity takes three and a half hours, at a cost of about a quid, and the battery will recharge during deceleration.

What it is though is unique. Not cheap at £6690 and you have to hire the battery for a monthly fee on top of that, but it shows what a small commuter car of the future could be like.

© wheelwrite 2013

 

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