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2014 Renault Twingo vs. 2014 Toyota Aygo

Renault Twingo

Renault Twingo

The all-new Renault Twingo is radically different to the previous generation, and for that matter any other city car money can buy today. With a rear-wheel-drive and rear-engine layout, it has kicked the front-wheel-drive city car trend in the face with fantastic results to show for it.

There are four trim levels to choose from with the new Twingo; Expression, Play, Dynamique, and Dynamique Energy.

Expression trim starts at £9,495, Play trim £9,995, Dynamique trim £10,995, and Dynamique Energy trim £11,695. There's two three-cylinder engines to choose from; a 0.9-litre turbocharged petrol with 90 bhp and 100 lb /ft, and a 1.0-litre naturally aspirated petrol engine with 70 bhp.

The 0.9 TCe engine commands a near £700 premium, and on Dynamique and Dynamique Energy cars start/stop comes as standard to preserve fuel.

So, the new Twingo is extremely cheap to buy, but it's also extremely cheap to run. The top of the range Dynamique Energy TCe has the 90 bhp turbocharged engine and will return 65.7 miles per gallon with a CO2 rating of just 99 g/km, which means free annual car tax. The naturally aspirated engine has equally as impressive figures, but it's bound to not be as pleasant to drive.

Inside Renault has given the Twingo an overhaul. This is a cheap car, but all of the plastics from the previous car have been replaced with thicker, nicer to touch plastics. Having sat in an early version of the new Twingo, I would say that when it comes to materials and interior quality, the Twingo and Aygo are very similarly matched... but when it comes to driving, they won't be.

I have not had a chance to test drive the new Twingo yet, but there's no getting around the fact that this will be a completely different car to the previous generation. Renault says that this new rear-wheel-drive and rear-engine layout gifts the Twingo will excellent handling and balance, and for the first time this format means Renault can deliver the Twingo as a five-door, making it more appealing than ever.

Partnered with the latest Smart ForFour, the Twingo has a good platform to be a great car. Despite the new platform, though, the new Twingo is 10cm shorter than the previous generation, yet it still has a 219-litre boot and 8.59m turning circle. If progress were a car, this would definitely be it.

So how does it compare to the new Toyota Aygo? Well, the Aygo is available with just one engine - a three-cylinder naturally aspirated unit - but like the Renault, the Aygo has a quirky design, fantastic economy figures, and an accessible price which we'll discuss below. The city car market is really heating up now, and I think that Renault is on to a winner with the new Twingo. A RenaultSport Twingo might even be on the cards, which with rear-wheel-drive would be nothing short of awesome.

Toyota Aygo

Toyota Aygo

The 2014 Toyota Aygo has followed the same format as the previous generation; it's front-wheel-drive and front-engined. Compared to the Twingo this is hardly exciting, but this formula for producing city cars has been perfectly acceptable for a number of years now, and it really does remain to be seen whether or not the new Twingo is as agile as Renault claims.

What we can say though is that the new Toyota Aygo is an excellent car to drive. It's only available with one engine - a slightly modified version of the previous generations 1.0-litre naturally aspirated unit - but it rides a little lower, yet delivers a softer more pleasing ride. The engine is also gifted with immediate throttle response and because this is a small car, it darts in and out of traffic like a house fly.

The 2014 Toyota Aygo is available in a few trims; x 3dr (£8,595), x 5dr (£8,995), x-play 3dr (£9,795), x-play 5dr (£10,195), x-pression (£10,995), x-cite (£11,195), and x-clusive (£11,295). The best version of this car for value for money is x-cite, which comes with electric windows, air conditioning, Bluetooth, electric heated mirrors, metallic paint, and alloy wheels. Like all Aygo, the x-cite has a funky X-style grill at the front, and this really sets the car apart from the new Peugeot 108.

One area where the Toyota Aygo is thoroughly beaten by the Twingo is boot space. The new Aygo has a 29-litre bigger boot than the previous model, but at 168-litres it is way less than the 219-litres you get in the new Renault Twingo. This doesn't come at a cost with regard to interior space either, because rear legroom and headroom is almost identical between the Twingo and Aygo.

As mentioned, all Aygo get a 1.0-litre engine. In x-cite trim, this returns 68.9 miles per gallon with a CO2 rating of 95 g/km, bettering the Twingo but not in any meaningful way, for each car qualifies for free annual car tax... I do think it's a shame that the Aygo isn't available with a turbocharged engine though to be honest. Three-cylinder engines are fine for buzzing around town, but increasingly city car owners want to take their cars on motorways and for longer trips, and the addition of a turbocharger on these trips means better real-world performance and ultimately economy, because you're not having to rag the engine to get anywhere.

Oh well, maybe next time, huh?

Overall

These are the best two city cars money can buy right now; they're stylish, comfortable, and cheap. But, the Twingo is more interesting than the Aygo from an engineering perspective and it's also available with a turbocharged engine.  I would go for the top spec Twingo and never look back. 

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