Renault is still umming and ahhing over the UK release of its Twizy 45 – a low-speed electric car that 16-year-olds would be allowed to drive on the roads. But is there really a market for the Twizy in the UK?
The Renault Twizy is this year’s head-turner in the UK car market, looking remarkably like a car prototype I drew in crayon during my Year 2 arts and crafts hour.
The French manufacturer is already selling the low-powered Twizy 45 model in mainland Europe, and is studying the sales potential of a UK release. This comes in light of a new UK law that will allow 16-year-olds to drive low-speed micro-cars on our roads from January 2013.
Huge hit or monumental miss?
So let’s assume 16-year-olds will be able to buy and drive the Twizy 45. Will they actually do it? Or, at a potential cost of around £6,200 (plus insurance), will it be parents footing the bill for their teenagers’ Twizys?
Our Cars team recently got their hands on the more powerful Twizy Technic, which went on sale in the UK earlier this year. It’s safe to say it’s been dividing opinion in the office! Which? Car’s Tim Pitt got behind the wheel and put himself in the mindset of a carefree 16-year-old scurrying around London.
After his drive, Tim said:
‘I’m all in favour of 16-year-olds being able to drive the Twizy. It’s safer than a moped and more affordable than a conventional car. Insurance costs could still be a stumbling block, though.’
Our recent poll asked whether 16-year-olds should be allowed to drive micro-cars like the Twizy on UK roads, and 67% of you voted against it. Yet the majority of comments and tweets we’ve received suggest that it’s a good idea. Commenter Tracey values the safety that a micro-car has over a moped:
‘I’d rather my 16-year-old was driving round in one of these than on a two wheeled death trap.’
‘Anonymous’ likes the idea of a micro-car, but isn’t sure about the Twizy’s looks:
‘This is a good idea, I’m sure plenty of 16-year-olds would like to drive. But I don’t think this would sell much because of its look. Perhaps improving the look and making it more stylish could make it better.’
Aaron thinks age is irrelevant:
‘It’s not the age that matters. It’s who is behind the wheel and their knowledge of how to control and use the vehicle in a safe manner. A 16-year-old could quite easily be a better driver than a 22-year-old.’
Tweeter Jamie Woodgate (@jamiewoodgate) thinks he’s too old to drive a Twizy:
‘Wish I could have driven one at 16! I would have loved it!’
So now you’ve seen the Twizy in action, do you think it’s safe for 16-year-olds to drive? Would you let your teenager drive one?