If you’re in the market for a small, eye catching wallet-friendly city vehicle, then look no further than the Renault Twizy.
While it’s debatable if you’ll actually be the envy of all your friends, you’ll certainly be getting all the looks.
The Twizy is a two seat fully electric quadricycle with a roof and doors, which open upwards, and look like a fly’s wings. The doors are extra, however, as are the windows.
While the Twizy isn’t watertight, its interior is waterproof, with two hard plastic seats, the rear one which also conceals a small locked, but very fiddly, storage compartment.
There’s a similar compartment at the front, but I wouldn’t recommend leaving anything anything valuable in it.
The driver seat, meanwhile, is reach but not height adjustable.
Size-wise, at just over two meters long, the Twizy can fit lengthways in the width of a regular sized parking space and the seating was surprisingly comfortable.
We had no issue with a person of 5ft 11in sitting behind a 5ft 5in driver. We also found that you can just about fit a 6ft driver if you ditch the passenger.
With a passenger on board, however, you’ll have no space for any shopping bags or luggage.
As previously mentioned, the Twizy is not watertight and there are some gaps in the plastic windows to prevent the build-up of condensation.
This also means there’s no heating, so dealing with an Irish winter climate, it’s advisable to wrap up warm.
Luckily, or unluckily for test purposes, it didn’t rain during our time with the Twizy so I can’t attest to what it’s like in wet conditions.
The dash, meanwhile, is very simple, with a digital instrument panel viewed through the steering wheel, and a simple Drive, Neutral and Reverse automatic gear switch to the left.
The instrument panel has your speed at its core, and also gives information on battery level, as well as the current time and the mileage left in the battery.
I am a city driver, so the prospect of bringing the Twizy on to busy city streets both intrigued and terrified me.
But I have to say, despite its size, I didn’t feel vulnerable on the road, except when a group of teenagers decided it would be a good idea to tip the Twizy over when I was stuck in traffic (they changed their minds when they saw my passenger though).
Renault puts the top speed in the Twizy at 80kph, but as our route took us mostly on city and suburban roads, we were in 50 and 60kph zones and the Twizy had no problem keeping up with traffic.
It’s fast enough at the lights, zipping along – even with two on board. It’s also easy to park.
At its heart a city vehicle, the Twizy is definitely best suited to smooth city streets, and you really have to watch out for potholes.
A major disappointment with the Twizy though, is its charging capability. With a three pin plug, it can only take a charge from a domestic power supply.
Great and really handy, you would think – except if you live in an apartment – I don’t think I’ll ever live down my ‘Can I visit and plug in my car’ request.
Three pin on street facilities in Dublin are also few and far between, which can lead to range anxiety if you’re out and about.
It is economical thought, the Twizy has a range of 80km and a full charge costs around €3.
It is also a head turner – I think I got more looks driving around Dublin in the Renault Twizy than I did in a McLaren MP-4.
My favourite reaction was from young children, who responded with absolute glee upon seeing it.
A neighbour, a mechanic, called specifically to see if he could have a look and everyone wanted to sit in it – one man even wanted to buy it.
More than 10,000 Twizys have been sold in mainland Europe since it was launched there last year so it will be interesting to see how it does in Ireland.
While I can see younger drivers whizzing around in a Twizy in cities with a balmy climate, I can’t help but feel Ireland’s weather could go against it.
The Twizy is neither a car (it doesn’t have a boot) nor a bike and the lack of on street charging is another drawback, as is its circa €10,000 price tag, plus a monthly battery fee.
However, it is cool, it’s fun to drive, quite comfortable and economical. Judging by the reaction I got, I think it could be a very successful advertising vehicle or for a car sharing drop and go type system. And no, you don’t need to wear a helmet.
The Renault Twizy is available to buy now, with prices starting from €9,995. The battery hire plan costs from €50/month and includes breakdown cover if the battery runs flat.
Engine: 17 HP electric, one speed transmission. Rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack
Acceleration: 0-80kph in six seconds
Maximum Speed: 80kph
CO2 emissions: 0g/km
Annual road tax: €120
First Look – Renault Twizy