For the successive Twingos, Renault lost its mojo. The dull, second-generation model, built by Dacia in Romania, (from 2007 to 2014) might have finally been offered with right-hand-steering and an expanded range of trim levels and engines, including a diesel and the performance Renault Sport and Gordini derivative engine options, but the model had lost its character and sole.
The current third-generation Smart-derived Twingo goes some way to restore the original model’s alluring personality, with funky décor, a friendly face and even a recent 110bhp GT hot-hatch derivate, but it still lacks the some of the charm and character of the 1992 first-generation car. Unusually, the latest Twingo resurrects the rear-engine layout initially favoured by Renault post-war with its popular 4CV, followed-up by the equally successful Dauphine, R8 and R10, not to mention the marque’s associated sporting rear-engined Alpine-Renault models – A106, A108, A110, A310, GTA and A610.
The unconventional engine configuration of the current Twingo is not the future though, and Renault’s 1992 original could, and should, have been one of the most influential city car designs of the late 20th Century. The fact that it’s not today is not a failure of this characterful car, but more a sad reflection on the mainstream tastes of risk-adverse car companies and consumers these days. Seeing a Renault Twingo displayed at a classic car show, therefore, seems quite fitting as this car is assured – and deserves – future cult status.