The Renault Twingo celebrates its 30th anniversary: ​​praise of a popular icon in the wake of the 2 CV and 4L

The Renault stand at the Paris Motor Show in 1992.


1992 on the Renault stand at the Paris Motor Show: the little Twingo is unveiled to the public. I was not present, because the minicitadine came into the world before yours truly, but if I could, I would undoubtedly have been one of the visitors to the show. Nearly 20% of them would have come to see Renault’s new popular car.

Because yes, we perhaps forget it too often, because we come across them everywhere in France, but the first generation of Twingo was a real UFO when it arrived on our roads at the beginning of 1993. It took on a minivan silhouette which had already made the success of the Space and a smiling batrachian front end, which was not intended to arouse unanimity.

Twingo I by Dingo Photo

The very original staging of Dingo photo suited the quirky spirit of the Twingo and its slogan perfectly. “Twingo, it’s up to you to invent the life that goes with it”.

© Renault/Dingo photo

“I don’t like its roundness, its color, or its ‘modern fancy’ style seats. I don’t like her at all!”, had for example reacted the actress Claire Nadeau at the microphone of the 20h newspaper of France 2 in October 1992, discovering the Twingo then just presented (source: Ina). I think on the contrary that it is its colors and its whimsical style which give all its charm to the Twingo.

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One thing is certain, the Twingo I denotes today in the automotive landscape. At a time when aggressively styled SUVs predominate, when cars are getting bigger and their glass surfaces are more and more limited, driving one of the first Twingos is like a detox cure, with simple sensations and close to the road.

However, I’m crossing my fingers that I don’t have an accident behind the wheel, especially after having voluntarily bought one of the very first models, devoid of underride bars in its doors, which are part of the first modifications that Renault made to its Twingo in July 1993. I also acquired a much less common example, since it is one of the 50 Twingo Lecoq produced at the initiative of the bodywork of the same name.

The Twingo I had a long career until 2007, with 2.6 million cars sold in total, making it a real commercial success. Its numerous collections and special series have enlivened the range over all these years, as have the new engines and equipment available in the catalogue.

Renault Retromobile 2023 stand

The Renault stand at the Rétromobile show in Paris in 2023, putting the Twingo I in the spotlight.

© Renault/Joris Clerc

30 years after its launch, the Twingo I enters the collection and the prices of certain models begin to take off. Enthusiasts of the minicitadine also celebrated this anniversary last weekend during a large gathering organized by the association Génération Twingo.

Some see it as a tacky car, but I personally have no doubt that the Twingo I will one day become a popular icon, like the 4L and 2 CV, so original, recognizable and has it marked an entire generation. However, the name Twingo was subsequently used by models which unfortunately do not meet these conditions.

An originality that has faded over the years

Thus, the spirit of the first generation was somewhat lost with the arrival of the second version of Twingo. It has certainly retained the practical aspects of the original model, but has also become much calmer. The third generation has meanwhile made a 180° turn, moving from a traction architecture to that of rear-engine propulsion and losing the modularity of the first models in the process. Indeed, it was co-developed with Smart and shares its guts with the forfour.

The Twingo III no longer has much to do with my 1993 model.

The Twingo III no longer has much to do with my 1993 model.

Like its cousin at Smart, the Twingo will soon disappear from Renault’s catalog, despite the arrival of an electric version. It will be replaced next year by an exclusively electric car inspired by another icon of the diamond brand, the Renault 5.

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