Theme : Cute Car Hall of Fame – 1993 Renault Twingo

Patrick Le Quement´s little wonder, the Twingo. A reference for anthropomorphic design.

1993 Renault Twingo exterior
Twenty one years later, the Renault Twingo still holds up as both a very decidedly un-threatening car and a solid bit of industrial design. Seldom are cuteness and aesthetic discipline united in such a successful way.

Simple engineering underpinned the car: small four cylinder engines driving the front wheels and an assembly method with cost excised yet done in a very acceptable way. The interior is worth a look too. The large radii are expressive of friendliness yet the overall alignment of the elements is every bit as rigorous as in an Audi or VW. The car had an exceptionally long run too. It was only discontinued in 2007 when the entirely charmless successor was revealed. I am quite convinced that the Mk1 will be roaming the roads of Europe long after the majority of Mk2s are so much spun metal and shredded plastic.

1993 Renault twingo interior

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

3 thoughts on “Theme : Cute Car Hall of Fame – 1993 Renault Twingo”

  1. An absolute gem of a design. I can’t believe it is 21 years since we first saw it (well spotted Richard). I really admired Le Quement’s designs for Renault during his time there, and I recall that this Twingo signalled the start of the style-led approach the marque took on for a significant period. Not all of his designs were successes, but there was a strong brand and cultural identity to them. Arguably, this was one of the best, but I loved the “fat-bottomed” Megane, especially the turret like rear roof/ pillar/ window form, which always reminds me of a policeman’s Kepi.

  2. Like the second generation Ka, it is hard to see how Renault could have been so unambitious with the second generation Twingo (and the third, come to that since, stylistically, it seems a Fiat 500 clone, only made interesting by its engine location). Despite this, I did get very close to buying a Mark 2 Twingo once, in RS form, but just because it was a hoot to drive – as an object it was deadly dull and not in the least cute, which is probably why I stepped away..

  3. The Ur-Twingo was possibly the only successful car Patrick Le Quement got past the hidebound Renault management during his somewhat frustrating tenure as styling chief. In 1993, this was a very daring piece of industrial design – even if Nissan had already given us the decidedly ‘cute’ second -generation Micra by then. Even the name was cute – a little too much so actually – it never sat altogether comfortably with the car’s somewhat intellectual mien. Yes the Twingo promised a fun time, but you got the feeling that it also smoked heavily and read Camus. I don’t know whether it proved a success outside of its home country, but every time I travel to France, I see them everywhere. Like Sean, I’m underwhelmed by the styling of the forthcoming model and as for the outgoing one – I can’t say I ever recall noticing one. But when we think of Renault, we always recall the interesting ones, not the fact that a good deal of them were entirely forgettable.

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