The best-selling mini-city car in France, the third generation Renault Twingo has just been renewed. The opportunity for her to face her best enemy and best-selling little chip in Europe, the Fiat 500. A match refereed in the most beautiful arena in the world, Paris!

Bad times for urban people! Some even say they are endangered, supplanted by the big sisters, Renault Clio and Peugeot 208 in the lead, always more versatile. Citroën C1, Peugeot 108, Volkswagen Up!Their sales stagnate or fall, small-format city cars no longer really make money for manufacturers. With a few exceptions, for whom it is quite the opposite!

The best example? The Fiat 500 ! The little Italian granny, released in 2007, continues to surprise everyone with its success. Last year it also broke its sales record since its rebirth 12 years ago, by spending 194,000 copies in Europe.

In France too, the famous Cinquecento is still popular. Thanks in particular to its countless special series, it attracted more than 25,000 motorists in 2018. This makes it the second best-selling mini-city car in France behind its biggest rival, the Renault Twingo 3 and its 46,372 units delivered.

Extract from the TURBO show of June 16, 2019

Faced with the timeless look and very chic neo-retro style of the Fiat 500, the little French girl doesn’t really have to be ashamed. She too is an icon with her three generations and 25 years of career. Above all, it has just been restyled to give even more freshness to his “mischievous Super 5” pencil stroke. Small changes that can be seen at the level of the shield, the grille or the scoop at the rear as on the GT version.

Question tariffs, the two rivals necessarily play in the same courtyard, that of the affordable. Beginner to € 11,400 (1.0 sCe 65 HP), the Twingo turns out to be cheaper than the 500 (1.2 69 ch Pop) which is negotiated from € 12,990. Our trial versions climb respectively to € 16,700 for the Renault Twingo 0.9 tCe 95 ch EDC with Intens finish and € 15,990 for the 500 1.2 69 ch with Star finish.

For this price, the 500 Star offers a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, two new body colors or even 16-inch rims, reversing radar, glass roof, chrome elements on the exterior as well as a cabin with specific dashboard and padded upholstery.

Barely more expensive but equipped with a double-clutch automatic transmission and a more powerful engine, the Twingo is slightly less well equipped.. In particular, it is necessary to add the reversing radar (250 €). But overall, with equivalent engines and equipment, the French is more aggressive in terms of price.

Fiat 500 vs Renault Twingo restyled, the queens of the cities 6

To live

In the interiors, we are dealing with two rooms, two atmospheres. On the 500 side, it’s hard not to fall under the spell of a refined presentation, almost luxurious, even a little flashy. The instrument panel, well known since its launch in 2007, was redesigned during the 2015 restyling by gaining a central touch screen and digital meters. In this Star finish, it even wins a pearl white dashboard strip.

In front, the Renault Twingo is much easier to play. Its restyling having brought it few changes, except for a more ergonomic infotainment system on the 500, regulars will not be disoriented. Less flattering to the eye, the finish is however slightly more polished, just like the ergonomics of the controls and the driving position, lower than in the Italian.

Quite rational the Frenchwoman, with its 4 real seats, its storage and its tips. And even if its rear seat is no longer sliding – which is a shame – the Boulogne-Billancourt chip makes the best use of its few centimeters more in length. Because if the interior of the 500 is really nice, at the rear it is much less welcoming. More difficult to access and more narrow for the legs!

But to store the races, the Fiat is better thought. A few liters of additional loading volume (182 against 174 l) as well as a lower loading threshold. In short, the two little ones each have their own arguments.

Fiat 500 vs Renault Twingo restyled, the queens of the cities 7

To drive

Hostile Territory: Paris, 18th arrondissement, Montmartre. Disastrous pavement, cobblestones and one-way streets galore. A narrow maze where the Twingo is the most alert, despite its size a little beefier.

Obviously: a rear engine, this frees up space for the front wheels, with the key a record turning diameter: simply unbeatable (8.6 against 10.3 m)! The 500? Almost as good at squeezing through a mouse hole, it’s true. As long as you get used to rear visibility, which can be awkward when maneuvering.

The Twingo is therefore a serial robber! But on the road, it is nothing ridiculous. Very healthy in its reactions, comfortable, versatile. And there is something new on the engine side: 5 hp more for the two 3-cylinder, 75 and 95 hp. The most powerful does not lack resources and has the enormous advantage of being available in automatic gearbox. The approval wins, in traffic but also in faster driving with fluid management of reports.

As much the 500 is at ease in town, as much outside, it is less brilliant! The damping lacks comfort, we feel the roughness of the road and the small 1.2 engine, 69 hp is to be avoided. It is a lung, it lacks power so it is better to orient yourself towards the 85 hp Twinair avoiding the automatic gearbox, not very pleasant on the 500.

Fiat 500 / Renault Twingo Data Sheets

Fiat 500 Renault Twingo
Dimensions (Length, width and height) 3.57 / 1.63 / 1.49 m 3.62 / 1.65 / 1.54 m
Wheelbase 2.30 m 2.49 m
Trunk volume 182 liters 174 liters
Weight 960 kg 1.043 kg
Engine 4-cylinder petrol – 1,242 cm3 3-cylinder turbo petrol – 898 cc
Power 69 hp at 5,500 rpm 93 hp at 5,500 rpm
Couple 102 Nm at 3,000 rpm 135 Nm at 2,500 rpm
0 to 100 km / h 12.9 s NC
Max speed 163 km / h NC
Mixed consumption 5.1 l / 100 km 5.1 l / 100 km
CO2 rate 116 g / km 116 g / km
Trial version price 15,990 euros 16,700 euros