From what I've seen so far, I really like the new Renault Twingo. It's a cheap little city car with a lot of traits I really love — especially the rear engine/rear wheel drive part. But it seems that because of those unique (for its segment, especially) reasons, it's going to have a hard time getting judged fairly.
The reason? Every reviewer, like this one for Auto Express, is going to compare it to the Porsche 911. Because the 911 is now just about the sole standard-bearer for rear engines platform (minus Smart, which this Twingo platform will replace, and the Tata Nano) everyone who gets into this little city car is going to have the legendary Porsche whipping around in the back of their minds. And it's not fair.
Back in the 60s and 70s, there were a number of rear-engine cars around, and so every little entry-level econobox wasn't immediately compared to a legendary sports car costing 10x its price.
The reviewer here does occasionally remind us — and I think himself — that he's dealing with a fun little city car here, but I can't help but feel his Porsche 911 expectations are a little of why he's finding the car "quite as much fun" as he hoped.
It's a 900cc 3-pot. It costs under $20K US in its top-of-the-line form. Stop thinking of it as a little 911.
I don't think it's just this guy — everything with a rear engine gets compared to a 911, no matter how delightfully absurd. When I drove the rear/rear Subaru Sambar Kei-class pickup, one of the engineers gleefully told me "it like little 911!"
It not like little 911, really, but it was fantastic in its own way. And I think anyone who gets into a Twingo expecting a 911 will be disappointed, but that's ok, since the expectation is delusional.
The rear-engine design gives this little city car plenty of benefits on its own, like the ability to let the front wheels turn a full 45° which makes it crazy maneuverable and have an absurdly tiny turning circle.
I'm excited to try this platform out, even in the Smart guise we'll get in the US. Because I love rear engines, even if they're not in a 911.