A look at the top Twizy must-haves
By Will Dron on July 13, 2012 11:44 AM
The Renault Twizy is probably the most distinctive production vehicle money can buy. Open sides, two seats in tandem, pure-electric power, few creature comforts and its unique looks are just some of the things that mark it out from just about everything else on Britain’s roads right now.
But assuming you’re sold on the styling and love the fact that it’s a very cheap and hugely fun way of getting around, what must you make sure you’re packing when you pull away from the dealer?
1. A strong personality
A bold-as-brass personality and a good sense of humour are the absolute number one requirements for Twizy owners, because you’re guaranteed to draw attention from passers-by. This will be mostly positive, though one young guy riding past me on a bicycle had the cheek to call the car “shoddy”. For all I know, that could mean “amazingly cool” among the youth of today, but I happily returned the abuse/ praise about his bike regardless.
The open sides of the Twizy and the absence of engine noise mean that, whatever reaction you get, you will hear it. The joy for socialites, of course, is that folk can come right up and have a chat, so it’s a great way to meet people (single readers take note). Shrinking violets need not apply.
The optional scissor-opening doors for the Twizy are £545 but will offer some much-needed protection from both our wet British weather and from wind at speed. The doors also form a handy armrest for when cruising around looking cool. Stop at traffic lights and you’ll find it rather bizarre to be resting both arms on the doors, as if you’re sitting in a big, mobile armchair.
3. Wet weather gear
The Twizy’s got far superior rain protection than a motorbike or scooter but it’s definitely not well suited to inclement climates. If it’s bucketing down, you’re going to get wet, even with those optional doors.
Having said that, there’s a lot of fun to be had driving the Twizy in slippery conditions (see here), and if you’re the sort of person who wants to own a Twizy, a bit of water probably won’t bother you too much. But unless you’re completely bonkers, you’ll want some waterproof overclothes – a jacket, at least.
Renault also offers a waterproof driver and passenger blanket for £140, intended primarily for those without doors, which seems like a wise additional investment given the chance of sideways rain in the UK. We recommend gloves for when the temperature drops, too – there’s no heater in the Twizy.
Conversely, when the sun comes out the beauty of the Twizy is that you can strip down to shorts and t-shirt, which is something a motorbike rider should never attempt, even in sweltering heat.
4. A lockable garage (or at least, off-street parking)
You can buy an anti-lift alarm for the Twizy, but that won’t stop people from gaining access to the interior if it’s parked on the street – if you get the doors, not only do they not have windows but they also don’t lock. In all honesty, the Twizy is an easy target for a mindless vandal, so parking it on the street outside your home night after night is not recommended. Somewhere under lock and key is the most sensible option, or at least off the road on private property. One of Renault’s protective covers will set you back £150, and this may shield the car as much from unwanted attention as from the elements.
One of the creature comforts not included with the standard Twizy is a stereo, but you can have a Parrott sound system installed for £290, which includes Bluetooth connectivity for your phone. As part of the installation, Renault adds a microphone and small screen to the upper left two speakers on the inside of the roof, just behind the driver’s seat. If you don’t want to go for the Parrott system, a wireless speaker (like this) stuffed into one of the cargo nets (also optional) will do the job.
The only thing you need to worry about now is what music to blast out – don’t forget that, with no windows, other road users and pedestrians will be able to hear your tunes. Renault’s Twizy frontman DJ David Guetta would seem appropriate, but you’ll probably want to be slightly more original than that. Electronic music is advised, Celine Dion is hereby officially vetoed.
About the Twizy
The 2012 Renault Twizy is a 17hp electric quadricycle capable of 50mph and 60 miles of range per charge. It takes 3.5 hours to recharge using its integrated cable and three-pin plug, which connects to a standard domestic socket and which will cost roughly £1 (depending on energy tariffs). Available in three trim levels – Urban, Colour and top-spec Technic – it’s a hoot to drive, thanks to a chassis designed by Renaultsport. It’s on sale now, with prices starting at £6,690 on-the-road plus battery hire from £45 per month (based on 4,500 per miles per year over three years).
Read our road test report here.