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There are plenty of sensible, intelligent reasons to own a Twingo. She is virtually non-petroholic, and the Clio-sourced engine (1996 onwards) is very hard to break.
Twingo is amazing fun to drive, the true spritual successor to Alec Issigonis's Mini. Steering is light and precise, the manual five-speed gearbox effortless to use. She is the perfect town car, but in 1149cc form also a surprisingly good motorway car. Mine regularly runs from Kent to he Côte d'Azur without problem.
The interior space for a car of this size has to be seen to be believed. The rear seat slides back and forth, offering a choice of a boot bigger than the Clio's or more legroom than the Laguna and Safrane models. From the driver's seat, the swept-forward windscreen gives Twingo the feel of a car much larger, and the pillars are not obstructive (although you do have to get used to them being in a different position than those of 'normal' cars.)
Finally, despite her rarity, Twingo's spare bits are increasingly easy to get hold of, even though anything outside of the engine bay isn't held on stock at your local dealer. Parts shared with the 5, Clio and Kangoo make repairs a doddle, although the tiny bonnet can make access complicated.
Those are some of the sensible reasons to own a Twingo, but ask any owner and these reasons will not be heard. You buy Twingo because she is so different to anything before or since. Twingo is what happens when the grey-suited marketing-types and accountants are locked away in a deep, dark dungeon leaving the designers to do their work un-hindered.
Many insurers shy away from the Twingo due to her status as unofficial import on British soil, but Tesco, Privilege and Footman James are popular with Twingo owners here.
If you want to be different but haven't got deep pockets, you need a Twingo. I challenge you to drive one and not smile while doing so.
With the range-topping Initiale available for under nine grand*, an air-conditioned, full leather interior with the most supportive seats you'll find in this class; all mounted in a shiny metallic case with alloy wheels is withing everyone's reach.
I'll say it again, go on - you really do know that you want to...
*As at April 2004, the Initiale 16v 5-speed manual is priced at 12850 in France. Take of the French VAT (19.6%) and add British VAT to the result, and that's about £8500 (Exchange rates subject to change).