Renault has revealed what’s next for the Twingo nameplate: a return to its roots. Previewed by a concept, the fourth generation of the city car will make its debut in the not-too-distant future with a heritage-laced design, an electric drivetrain, and a relatively affordable price.
In a way, the Twingo concept is a wake-up call for 30-somethings like your author: You know you’re not all that young anymore when a car you remember from your childhood spawns a retro-styled offshoot. The original Twingo made its debut at the 1992 edition of the Paris auto show, and it clearly influenced the concept created to preview the fourth-generation car. The LED headlights echo the ones found on the original model, though they’re far more futuristic-looking, and the three hood vents have been turned into a display that shows the battery’s state of charge. The wheelbase looks much longer than the original’s, a concession made to carve out space for four doors and a battery.
Out back, it’s a mixed bag. The overall shape, with a kink near the middle, is almost more reminiscent of the second-generation Twingo built from 2007 to 2014 than of the first-generation car. The lights are vaguely first-generation-like, while the inspiration for the window seemingly came from the world of ski goggles. Alloy wheels styled like the 13-inch hubcaps fitted to early examples of the first Twingo wrap up the look.
Renault focused on the concept’s exterior design and had little to say about the interior or the powertrain. All we know at this stage is that the production model, like the concept, will be entirely electric. The brand hopes to launch the car with a base price of under €20,000 (about $21,700 at the current conversion rate) so we’re expecting the model will go on sale with a small battery and a corresponding short range.
An interesting detail is that the fourth-generation Twingo is being developed to take on a growing list of cheap, Chinese-built EVs. Renault pledged to slash the development time (and, consequently, the development budget) in half to keep costs in check. It plans to undercut its western rivals, too. Ironically, one of the more common Chinese-built EVs on French roads is the Spring sold by Renault-owned Dacia.
More details about the fourth-generation Renault Twingo will emerge in the coming months, and the model could land in showrooms across Europe in late 2025 or early 2026. Nothing suggests that we’ll see it — or any other Renault-badged car — in the United States, but some of the group’s higher-end models are on their way. Alpine will launch a model offensive and step into the American market later in the 2020s.