The Renault Twingo is a fairly common car around Europe, but with amazing folding seats, an antenna that sticks out of the mirror, a weird hood vent for the HVAC and tons of other quirks, it’s definitely not boring. In fact, I’d say this happy little French compact is one of the weirdest mainstream small cars of the past 25 years.
I’ve been hanging out in Germany for the past few weeks, which means I’ve come across a metric shit-ton of Renault Twingos. They litter the streets with happiness over here; it’s wonderful. For the longest time, I hadn’t appreciated these little hatchbacks, but on Saturday, as I walked through a parking lot towards Germany’s legendary Bartholomä church, I turned towards a Twingo and had a revelation: this thing’s freaking incredible.
First of all, the interior is a damn masterpiece. The heavily-bolstered seats can be had in awesome patterns like the purple, red and green one shown above, and a number of the switches and handles are a strange but fun tint of green (though some have buttons and switches in other bright colors).
More importantly, as shown in the video above uploaded by YouTube CHOCHEALDIA, the front seats recline flat, and the rear seats tip back, too! This yields a nearly flat, bed-like surface.
Apparently the folded-down seats are big enough to sleep two sizable adult males, per this old Renault press shot:
Those rear seats not only recline, but they also slide forward and rearward to let passengers trade off between rear legroom and cargo space.
But the rear bench’s tricks don’t stop there, it can also fold up!:
But there’s more silliness inside the Twingo than just the fun, folding and sliding seats and the quirky colorful switches, handles and lids. Check out the ball-shaped hazard switch on the dash, the center-mounted digital speedometer above it, and the small slit of warning lights behind the steering wheel:
Here’s the full dash layout, per the 1996 Twingo owner’s manual:
Other fun stuff on the inside includes little LEVERS to adjust the exterior mirrors:
And also, there’s a single button on the overhead console to lock or unlock the doors electronically:
Just outside the driver’s side window sits a mirror, onto which an antenna is, strangely, built in:
And up top, there’s a ragtop sunroof:
The manual rag top can be locked into any position. Here’s how it works:
Moving to the front of the car, perhaps the most in-your-face features are the vents in the hood:
Those three vents feed this little box in the engine bay, and that box sends outside air into the cabin through the HVAC system.:
Other cool exterior design elements include the tiny lift-up door handles recessed in round divots:
Plus there’s that giant single windshield wiper keeping the front glass clear:
And there are the fun round turn signal lights in the back:
Everything about the Twingo is just quirky and hilarious; this car, with its protruding headlights and the orange turn signals on the early models, just makes this world a better place.
I just want to hug this car, and the great thing is: I’m pretty sure it wants to hug me back.