/ Motoring, Parenting

Will teens turn heads in the Twizy?

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.’

Divided opinion

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?

Comments
Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Alloy wheels, an optional bluetooth kit, rear parking sensors and fancy paintwork don’t seem to make much sense considering there are no windows and even the doors are optional. I like your priorities, Renault. Is this your attempt to compete with the Sinclair C5?

Member
FOXY Steph says:
7 August 2012

How much is the insurance for a 16 year old driver? How can we answer your final question if you don’t give us the full financial facts…

Profile photo of Jennifer Davis
Member

Hi FOXY Steph, I’m afraid we won’t know what insurance group the Renault Twizy will fall into until it’s officially released in the UK (if ever). The more powerful model featured in the video currently falls into insurance group 10-11 (out of 50), but the model under discussion should be in a lower insurance group and therefore cheaper.

Member
Phil says:
7 August 2012

They said it wasn’t cheap to insure at the end and add to that £540 a year to lease the batteries.

I wouldn’t like to be in a shunt in a Twizzy at 50 mph. I certainly wouldn’t want to be a passenger if it was hit from behind. It might turn heads but, I suspect, for all the wrong reasons.

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

Stylistically it has a certain je ne sais quoi. I foresee the elderly and infirm preferring one of these to the sort of mobility scooters currently available except they won’t be permitted on footways and in pedestrian zones presumably. If it replaces the motor scooter or moped as the vehicle of choice for young people today it would be a boon but the price would probably rule it out until the second-hand market kicked in. What is its max permitted speed? And is a driving test required?

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

No windows, optional doors? I think it’s pushing it to call it a ‘micro car’.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

Pushing it might be a very appropriate term, for an electric car with fairly low capacity batteries. 🙂

Anyway, it looks safer than being on two wheels and more stable than a Reliant Robin.

Member
Phil says:
7 August 2012

If sales took off and it became popular I’m sure some enterprising person would make roll down “blinds” for them.

Profile photo of rich835
Member

I’m sorry I just can’t take this car seriously. I would feel like Hong Kong Phooey if I got in that thing!

Member

My daughter (who is 12) and I took one of the first Twizys for a test drive a few months ago.

My daughter loved it and I have some great video of her driving it around the local car park nearby.

The big problem for Renault is the lack of Windows. Forget all the problems with battery life etc this is the big one.

We could have had one on the driveway ages ago but the rain just continued to pour and I realised it would never be used as a primary car. Virtually all of our mileage is local so it would have worked fine with an overnight charge.

Insurance – as a third car we were quotes about 120 from memory by Admiral.

A missed chance and one which Renault may not recover from for this type of transport.

Profile photo of Patrick Steen
Member

Saw a Twizy in London yesterday – funny looking car. Like Bob I can’t get over the lack of windows.

Profile photo of wavechange
Member

If the Twizy is successful, I expect that Renault will take great panes to ensure that the next version does have windows. 🙂

Member
Cameron says:
31 August 2012

Would you have to have a license to drive the twizy and I would design a cover for the window area that goes on and off to prevent from rain getting into the twizy

Profile photo of John Ward
Member

I assumed it came in a plastic box that you could store it in.