In it he was quick to stamp out other road testers’ reviews criticising it because it didn’t feel like a rear-engined car should.
As he highlights: “Everyone thought ‘Well if it’s there, as it is in a Porsche 911, then it must feel like a Porsche 911’. Er no…” before smartly going on to state that not all cars feel like a Ferrari California just because, like the Italian supercar, their engines are front-mounted.
“Criticising the baby Renault for not being an out-and-out racer is like buying a record player and criticising it for not being any good at unblocking the sink,” he adds.
Interestingly Clarkson, more usually seen revelling in high-powered machinery (now on Amazon’s hit show The Grand Tour), was left impressed by the Twingo GT’s poke from it small engine.
He wrote: “It started life as a city car but has been breathed on to give it some real-world poke. It still has a tiny 0.9-litre, three-cylinder engine, but it’s turbocharged so produces a thrummy, off-beat 110 horsepower.
“This is a car that sounds like one of those very small dogs that growl the growl of a Great Dane. I liked it. It was amusing.
“And I liked the speed too. I know 110hp doesn’t sound like much, but it’s what you used to get from the original Golf GTI…”
The Twingo GT’s turning circle he says makes a black cab look cumbersome and sums up the car as “nifty” and “practical” that “looks good, goes well and makes you happy. It hasn’t won many fans with writers in the specialist press because they still think it should go and handle like a 911. But I liked it a lot because the comparison never entered my head.”
BBC Top Gear presenter Rory Reid also came away smiling after driving the Twingo GT during a 12-minute video. He liked its character, price (£14,000), the fact that unlike a standard hot hatch you aren’t paying for something unusable on UK roads, its agility and manoeuvrability as a city car and its retro and playful characteristics.
Likewise Chris Evans in his Mail on Sunday column – particularly it came to looks and practicality, citing its rear doors which give it an edge over a Fiat 500.
Evans reckons: “The problem for Fiat, however, is that Renault seems to have beaten them to it. This car (the Twingo GT) looks almost more like the original Cinquecento than Fiat’s own hugely successful modern take on it. It is absolutely gorgeous.
“The proportions, the paint job, the twin exhausts and the electrical furniture are all stunning. Cut and cow-eyed headlamps woo from the front, with cool and chic blacked-out tailgate glass wowing at the back. Renault has absolutely aced the exterior.”
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