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First look: Renault Oz says no to Twingo

Not likely: All-new Twingo will be bulit in right-hand drive on Tiida's platform.

Renault Australia will sit out the next-generation Twingo city car – for now

6 Oct 2006

RENAULT says it will not import the next-generation Twingo city car to Australia.

"Not at this point," was the reply from Renault Australia spokesperson Lenore Fletcher.

"We are not considering anything below the Clio – except for the Campus model for now," she added.

Unveiled at the Paris motor show last week, the Twingo Concept is believed to be very close to the finished product due to be released across Europe from the second quarter of 2007.

Derived from the Renault/Nissan Alliance ‘B Platform’ (which has seen models as disparate as the Renault Modus, Nissan Tiida and Dacia Logan), the front-wheel drive Twingo will debut in production form at the next Geneva motor show in March.

Like the 1992 original, the 2007 Twingo will be Renault’s A-segment combatant, taking on recent releases from Peugeot/Citroen (107/C1) and Toyota (Aygo).

The latest Renault baby is also in charge of staving off the upcoming Suzuki Splash Concept-derived production model due next year, along with Ford's Ka II and its closely related 2008 Fiat 500 city cars.

Aiding this is the Twingo’s diminutive 3600mm length, 1727mm width and 1411mm height.

However, unlike the old Twingo, the new version will be built in right-hand drive form as well as left-hand drive, ensuring a much wider audience for the car that is widely regarded as invigorating Renault’s design.

Renault will also expand the model line-up, to include sporty and luxury editions, to supplement the affordability of the entry-level model.

Underlining this, the Twingo Concept strongly hints at a Renaultsport version, since it is fitted with an all-new 1.2-litre 16-valve turbo-charged four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.

Delivering 73kW of power and 145Nm of torque, this TCE 100 series Renault engine is said to combine the power of a 1.4 and the torque of a 1.6-litre powerplant.

35 center imageIt is also exceptionally frugal with fuel as well as the environment – it boasts a carbon dioxide emissions figure of less than 140g per kilometre.

As legislation and taxation continue to favour smaller-capacity engines in Europe and Asia, this new engine will also find its way across many of the Alliance’s vehicles, such as the Clio III and next-generation Nissan Micra.

Meanwhile, other Twingo Concept attractions include high equipment levels with a strong musical and multimedia focus (there’s even a turn-table fitted to the show car), a panoramic glass sunroof, pillarless doors, an overtly sports-orientated body kit, and 17-inch alloys featuring dark chrome wheels.

The original Twingo is one of the earliest works for Renault from its chief designer Patrick Le Quement.

Highly regarded, it has strongly contributed to the monospace silhouette that many light cars have since emulated, from the Daewoo Matiz to the Mercedes-Benz A-class. It was also most influential in Toyota’s most startling model transformation of recent times, that witnessed the unremittingly conservative 1996 Starlet turn into the 1999 Echo/Yaris hatchback.

However, the Twingo has not been without drawbacks for its maker.

Rumours have persisted that Renault has had difficulty on settling for a suitable successor to the evergreen original.

Reports circulated in 2004 that Renault management demanded a complete redesign of what was due to be the 2005 Twingo II, after the slow initial consumer reaction to the bold Megane II range in 2002/3.

The relative sales failure of the nonetheless critically acclaimed Modus mini people mover has also apparently added to Renault’s indecision on exactly what the next Twingo should look and be like.

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