Maserati

Maserati Quattroporte (2004-2013)

The Four-door doesn't sound very alluring does it? But when you call your luxury saloon Quattroporte it suddenly sounds a lot more enticing. The Quattroporte has been part of Maserati's line up since 1963; the fifth-generation saloon that was designed by Pininfarina arrived in 2003. Up against the Aston Martin Rapide and Porsche Panamera it takes a very different kind of person to buy Italian instead of German or British, but if you take the plunge you'll be rewarded with a car that's great fun to drive and has plenty of soul. You'll also get plenty for your money thanks to sharp depreciation, but the build quality and reliability can't match that of the Porsche or Aston, while running costs are high - potentially very high.

Key dates

2004: The fifth-generation Quattroporte goes on sale with a 400bhp 4.2-litre V8. All cars have a DuoSelect automated manual gearbox with paddle shifts.
2005: Executive GT and Sport GT versions join the range; the former with extra wood trim, the latter with faster gearshifts and 20-inch wheels.
2006: A ZF six-speed auto becomes available, alongside the DuoSelect.
2008: The Quattroporte is facelifted and at the same time the S arrives with a 424bhp 4.7-litre V8.
2009: The 434bhp 4.7-litre Sport GT S arrives too, with lowered, stiffer suspension for sharper handling and faster gearshifts.

Checklist

  • Buy the newest car that you can afford; early cars (2005/6) are best avoided altogether.
  • The servicing requirements are stringent - every 6000 miles. Don't consider buying a Quattroporte that doesn't have a full service history.
  • The DuoSelect transmission is jerky and can be unreliable; the ZF gearbox is a far better bet.
  • Most Quattroportes come with Skyhook adjustable suspension. The S and GT S do without this though; their suspension is fixed.
  • DuoSelect clutches can last up to 40,000 miles, or less than 15,000 miles if driven hard. The hydraulic gear selectors also fail and repair costs are very high.
  • A regular four-wheel alignment check is essential or the handling will be affected. Bushes and dampers also wear out.
  • The ECU and ignitor pack for the xenon headlights can fail, so there's no dipped beam. Fixing this is seriously pricey.
  • Check all of the electrics as glitches are common. The windows can stop working, along with sunroofs and air-con.

We like

Image
Driving experience
Value
Design
Luxurious interior
Performance
Exclusivity
Engine sound

We don't like

Patchy reliability
Clunky DuoSelect gearbox
Running costs
Short service intervals
No diesel option

Ford

Ford Kuga (2008-2013)

Ford was slow to cash in on the SUV craze. When its Kuga appeared in 2008, some of its rivals were in second or even third-generation form; the Toyota Rav4 that launched the segment arrived in 1996. But the Kuga was worth waiting for because in typical Ford fashion it was one of the best cars in its class to drive, build quality and reliability were decent and you got plenty for your money. In common with most of its rivals the Kuga was designed mainly for road use, but as the safest compact SUV that Euro NCAP had ever tested - and for a host of other reasons, the Kuga makes great sense as a family car.

Key dates

6/08: The Kuga reaches UK showrooms in 134bhp 2.0 TDCi form and with a choice of Zetec or Titanium trims and intelligent all-wheel drive.
12/08: There's now a 134bhp front-wheel drive 2.0 TDCi, with lower CO2 emissions. A 197bhp 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol Kuga is also introduced, with 4WD and six-speed manual or five-speed auto transmissions. 
6/10: A high-spec trim level 'Individual' arrives with 19-inch alloys, roof rails, privacy glass and extra bodywork detailing. There's also a new 160bhp 2.0 TDCi and the 134bhp version is boosted to 138bhp. Ford's Powershift six-speed dual-clutch transmission is now optional with the 2.0 TDCi engine.

Checklist

  • You need a special cable, part #1529487, for an MP3 player to work through the car's audio system.
  • Kugas with four-wheel drive can suffer from failure of the Haldex coupling, which is very costly to fix.
  • All engines have a cam belt that needs to be replaced every 10 years and 100-120,000 miles. 
  • Many owners have had problems with fuel leaks after filling up; it comes out of the breather pipe near the filler.
  • Some interior trim wears quickly, especially the gearstick gaiter. The seat trim can also wear; even if it doesn't, creaks are common.
  • The seals for the rear lights can perish, allowing moisture in, so condensation forms inside the clusters.
  • Alloy wheels of all sizes corrode badly; the machined faces suffer the worst.
  • The window seals can squeak where they come into contact with the glass. Buy some Gummi Pfledge (search online) to quell the racket.

We like

  • Great to drive
  • Lots to choose from
  • Strong value
  • Very safe
  • Looks smart
  • Frugal diesel engine

We don't like

  • Narrow model range
  • Patchy reliability
  • No good off road

Volkswagen

Volkswagen Tiguan (2008-2016)

The Volkswagen Tiguan is a small SUV with the same discreet styling, user-friendly cabin, civilised road manners and efficient engines as the Golf. Offered with front- or four-wheel drive, the latter is ideal for those who want to tow, while there’s an Escape version for anyone who wants to do some light off-roading. The Tiguan impresses with its refinement, high-quality cabin and practicality, but if value is one of your priorities you might be less keen as the Tiguan is a premium car. However, its build quality, refinement and spacious cabin make the high prices justifiable, while equipment levels are good too.

Key dates

2/08: The Tiguan arrives with 1.4 TSI petrol or 138bhp 2.0 TDI diesel engines. There are S, SE and Sport trims, with Escape offering greater off-road capabilities thanks to underbody protection, hill descent control and a redesigned nose for a steeper approach angle.

4/08: A 168bhp 2.0 TDI engine joins the range.

10/08: A 2.0 TSI engine is now available in 168bhp or 198bhp guises.

11/08: The Tiguan initially came with 4WD only; from this point on there are 1.4 TSI and 2.0 TDI 140 front-wheel drive options.

9/11: A facelift brings a 2.0 TDi 110 engine, more efficient powerplants and extra equipment.

10/12: R-Line trim brings sportier design features.

8/13: The Tiguan Match replaces the SE

Checklist

  • The 2.0 TDi engine can stall easily when starting off, if you don’t use the revs, so watch for worn clutches.
  • Rattles aren’t unknown; some owners have found that it’s down to broken front suspension springs.
  • Air-con failures have been known, but it’s usually down to the switchgear failing, rather than the compressor.
  • Faulty electrics can be down to damaged fuseboxes, which can melt because of the high currents going through them.
  • The power assisted steering can fail, especially in sub-zero temperatures. It’s usually a control unit failure, but it can be the steering rack itself.
  • The electronic parking brake can refuse to release, because the driver’s seatbelt isn’t latched, or the clutch isn’t fully depressed.
  • The alarm can sound for no apparent reason, especially in cold weather. Adjusting the sensitivity can make the difference – but not always.

We like

  • Build quality
  • Efficient engines
  • Spacious cabin
  • Clear dash
  • Refinement
  • Tidy handling

We don’t like

  • Some reliability issues
  • Anonymous design

Mercedes

Mercedes E-Class (2009-2016)

For many, a Mercedes represents the pinnacle of automotive engineering and prestige, and when you look at an E-Class it’s easy to see why. Beautifully built, brilliantly engineered and bristling with safety tech, the Mercedes E-Class is a cut above most of its rivals. With the fourth-generation edition, codenamed W212 by Mercedes, the German company excelled itself with a range of highly desirable saloons, estates, coupés and cabriolets. Expensive when new, these cars aren’t as exclusive as you might think and as a result they can represent excellent value as a used buy – but while the Merc’s efficient engines can be more parsimonious than you might think, running costs can also be high. Still, sometimes it’s worth making sacrifices.

Key dates

6/09: The Mk4 E-Class saloon and coupé arrive. There are E200, E250, E350 and E500 CGI petrol saloons, along with E200, E220, E250 and E350 CDI diesels.

8/09: The 525bhp E63 AMG debuts.

1/10: The capacious estate reaches showrooms, with the same engines as the saloon.

3/10: There’s now an E-Class cabriolet.

11/12: The E300 BlueTec hybrid debuts.

3/13: A facelifted E-Class brings revised exterior styling, extra equipment, cleaner engines and SE or AMG Sport trims in place of the previous SE, Avantgarde and Sport.

9/14: A refresh brings extra standard equipment, a nine-speed automatic transmission and more efficient engines.

Checklist

  • Each successive trim level increases fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, so potentially the road tax cost.
  • All facelifted autos have seven speeds; before this (March 2013), four-cylinder automatic E-Classes got only five speeds.
  • This is a great family car, but the transmission tunnel hinders anyone in the middle of the rear seat.
  • The factory-fitted diamond-cut alloys can corrode under the lacquer, but they’re refurbished easily enough.
  • Some diesel models were fitted with faulty injectors, so check for misfiring and black exhaust smoke.
  • Folding rear seats are only optional in the saloon, so find a car that features them if practicality is key. They really boost the car’s practicality.
  • The four-cylinder engines are quick enough, but can be harsh; the six-cylinder units are much smoother, and still decently economical.

We like

  • Strength
  • Image
  • Refinement
  • Spacious cabin
  • Efficient engines
  • Value
  • Build quality
  • Reliability
  • Wide model range
  • Safety levels

We don’t like

  • Not that exclusive
  • Potentially high running costs

Toyota

Toyota Prius (2009-2015)

Mention the word ‘hybrid’ to someone and the chances are they’ll think of the Toyota Prius, first seen in the UK in 2000 and made in vast numbers since. While the first edition was uninspiring in many ways, it created a template for future generations of a car that has become increasingly usable and better to drive, if not exactly fun. The Prius has evolved to impress in many ways from its low running costs and excellent practicality to its superb reliability and the potential for tiny fuel bills. However, many buyers opt for a Prius because of its economy, but how it’s driven makes a massive difference to the economy it delivers – much more than a conventionally powered car. So before you buy a Prius, make sure thatthe roads you use and the way you drive aren’t better suited to a cheaper, conventionally powered car.

Key dates

8/09: The Prius Mk3 arrives in the UK, with better performance, lower emissions and more standard equipment than its predecessor. In place of the previous 1.5-litre petrol engine there is a 1.8-litre unit and buyers can choose between T3, T4 and T Spirit trims.

10/10: The 10th Anniversary special edition is limited to 1000 examples, with body kit, 17-inch alloys and black leather trim.

1/12: A facelifted Prius is introduced, with a tweaked nose, higher-quality interior and revised suspension for an improved ride. There are also improved multimedia and navigation options.

3/12: There’s now a plug-in Prius with a 14-mile range in pure electric mode.

Checklist

  • That wind-cheating shape cuts fuel costs but hampers rear visibility, so check you can see out.
  • The Mk3 engine needs 0W20 oil; the 5W30 used in earlier Priuses increases fuel consumption and cuts performance.
  • To keep costs and weight to a minimum, Toyota doesn’t provide a spare wheel of any kind, not even a space saver.
  • Most people buy a Prius to enjoy spectacular fuel economy, but don’t assume you’ll automatically get close to the official 72mpg.
  • Rattles from the dashboard are common, and getting rid of them can be impossible. The excellent refinement makes things more obvious.

We like

  • Usability
  • Reliability
  • Potential economy
  • Refinement

We don’t like

  • Dynamically dull
  • Costly to buy
  • Firm ride

Volvo

Volvo C30 (2006-2013)

Volvo is much better known for its large cars rather than small models; the C30 is its most compact car to date. Distinctively styled and good to drive thanks to it sharing so much with the Ford Focus, the Volvo C30 was never a big seller in the UK as it never really captured buyers’ imaginations. That’s a shame because the C30 has much to offer, not least of all excellent safety levels, good build quality and most models are well equipped too. The C30 also came with some excellent engines from mild to wild. However, the tiny boot, limited rear leg room and lack of availability of a five-door option made the C30 a non-starter for some. But the C30’s low profile ensures you get plenty for your money and with around 30,000 sold in the UK over a seven-year lifespan, there are more to go round than you might think.

Key dates

10/06: The C30 debuts with 1.6, 1.8, 2.0, 2.4 or turbocharged 2.5-litre petrol engines, along with 1.6, 2.0 or 2.4-litre diesels.

2/08: A dual-clutch transmission is now offered on the 2.0D, and there’s an R-Design bodykit option too.

1/09: A 1.6D DRIVe model is introduced, with CO2 emissions of 119g/km.

1/10: A revised C30 appears with a heavily revised nose, facelifted tail and the option of new colours inside and out, plus a sportier chassis. At the same time, a 99g/km stop/start 1.6D DRIVe model arrives.

6/10: The 1.6D became the D2, while the 2.0D is split into D3 (148bhp) and D4 (175bhp) derivatives.

Checklist

  • Wind noise of some early cars can be an issue, usually because of the door mirror design; it can be fixed.
  • The air conditioning stops working when the condenser fails, although system leaks aren’t unusual either.
  • Big alloys on sporty C30s get kerbed easily. They can usually be refurbished inexpensively though.
  • The focus is on style rather than practicality; the C30 can carry no more than four people as there’s no provision for a fifth seat.
  • Door trim panels can squeak or creak and quietening things down can be a time-consuming job.
  • If you do a lot of night-time driving, it’s worth buy a car with xenon lights, as the standard units aren’t that good.
  • Windscreens are susceptible to stone chips and cracking; see if it’s been renewed already.

We like

  • Safety levels
  • Build quality
  • Stylish design
  • Strong engines
  • Keen prices
  • Fun to drive

We don’t like

  • Tiny boot
  • Four seats only

 

Bentley

Bentley Continental GT (2003-2011)

When Bentley revealed the Continental GT in 2003, it marked the dawn of a new era for the Crewe marque under Volkswagen ownership. The model has gone on to become easily the most popular model ever offered by this luxury sporting brand, with a variety of offshoots also offered, including convertible and saloon editions. Anyone worried that VW Phaeton underpinnings might devalue the Bentley brand were quickly reassured by the car’s blend of agility, comfort, performance and reliability. And while you’ll need deep pockets to buy and run one of these stylish machines, the Bentley Continental GT still represents something of a bargain on the used market.

Key dates

6/03: The Continental GT debuts in 552bhp coupé form, as the world’s fastest four-seat coupé.

4/05: There’s now a four-door saloon, the Flying Spur, mechanically identical to the coupé.

10/06: The Continental GTC convertible goes on sale.

11/06: The Diamond Series celebrates 60 years of Crewe production and features ceramic brakes, unique wheels and fresh colour schemes.

8/07: 600bhp Speed versions of the Continental GT and GTC debut.

3/09: There’s now a Continental Flying Spur Speed.

10/09: The 621bhp Supersports appears, capable of 204mph and with carbon-ceramic brakes as standard.

Checklist

  • Despite their generous dimensions, the GT and GTC aren’t especially spacious inside, with rear seats suitable only for children.
  • Some cars are fitted with aftermarket wheels on ultra-low profile tyres, which damage the ride quality.
  • Some cars have tacky paint schemes; buy with caution as selling them on can be extremely difficult.
  • The heated rear window contains the radio aerial. These fail, with the whole window having to be replaced.
  • A warning that the engine is overheating when it isn’t is probably because of an imbalance between the two exhaust manifold temperatures.
  • The high-level brake light over the back window can fail, and repair costs can be high.
  • Tyres can be hard to find; standard GTs are fitted with 275/40 ZR 19 105Y (B) rubber. It’s essential that you fit tyres with the correct loading.

We like

  • Performance
  • Refinement
  • Build quality
  • Image
  • Comfort
  • Four-wheel drive

We don’t like

  • Cramped cabin
  • High running costs

Kia

Kia Sportage (2010-2016)

It was the original Picanto that showed Kia’s potential, but when the third-generation Sportage appeared in 2010 the Korean manufacturer realised that potential. This sharp-looking SUV came with concept car looks, a long warranty, generous equipment levels and a healthy dose of practicality – yet it was every bit as affordable as you’d expect a Kia to be. Accounting for around a quarter of Kia’s sales in the UK, when the Sportage Mk3 was current it was the company’s biggest-selling model and it’s not hard to see why. As a used buy the Sportage is just as enticing.

Key dates

11/10: The Sportage Mk3 arrives with 1.6 or 2.0-litre petrol engines, along with 1.7 or 2.0 CRDi diesels. The smaller engines have front-wheel drive; the 2.0-litre models get standard four-wheel drive and an optional automatic gearbox. There are three trim levels (1, 2 and 3, with 4WD models getting a KX prefix).

7/12: There’s a new range-topper; the KX-4.

2/14: A facelifted Sportage brings extra equipment, more options and minor styling changes. 

7/15: The limited edition Axis is restricted to 1200 cars and is offered with 1.6 GDi or 1.7 CRDi engines. It sits between the 2 and 3 trims.

Checklist

  • There’s no seven-seat option; if you need more than five seats you’ll have to trade up to a Sorento. 
  • All diesel-engined Sportages have a diesel particulate filter (DPF), so if you’re a low-mileage driver go for a petrol-engined car.
  • Some early cars could suffer from wind noise from the glass sunroof; adjusting the mechanism fixes it.
  • The 1.7 CRDi can suffer from a loss of power. Replacing the fuel filter can fix things.
  • If you’re towing buy a KX-4. It has 282lb ft of torque instead of the 236lb ft of the regular 2.0 CRDi engine.
  • The front seats can suffer from tears along the sides of the base, near the front. 
  • Some cars pull to one side, usually the left. Resetting the electric power steering software helps.
  • The standard headlights are poor, so many owners uprate the bulbs. Even the xenon items aren’t that great.
  • Corroded alloy wheels aren’t unusual.

We like

  • Sharp looks
  • Generous equipment levels
  • Practicality
  • Reliability
  • Value
  • Frugal engines

We don’t like

  • So-so dynamics

Porsche

Porsche 911 (2004-2012)

The words ‘iconic’ and ‘legendary’ are frequently over-used in the motoring arena, but where the Porsche 911 (in this case, the 997 Series) is concerned they’re most definitely deserved. Since 1963 this supercar has captured the imaginations of enthusiast drivers, with its beguiling blend of supercar pace, grand touring usability and brilliant build quality. And with thousands made each year, there are plenty to choose from on the used market, although the number of different 911 variants to choose from is bewildering, and it’s essential that you buy the one that’s right for your needs. Once you’ve pinned that down, the next hurdle is to find a minter with a full history that’s been maintained by a marque expert. And don’t buy anything else.

Key dates

9/04: The 997 coupé debuts in 321bhp 3.6-litre Carrera and 350bhp 3.8-litre Carrera S forms.

4/05: A 997 convertible is introduced.

11/05: There are now Carrera 4 and 4 S options, with four-wheel drive. 

5/06: The 415bhp GT3 goes on sale

7/06: The 480bhp 3.6-litre Turbo reaches showrooms.

6/08: Four-wheel drive models get a new transmission and an all-new, more efficient flat-six (341bhp for the Carrera, 380bhp for the Carrera S). The Turbo gets a 3.8-litre engine and Porsche’s brilliant PDK dual-clutch gearbox replaces the previous Tiptronic auto.

12/10: Carrera GTS has 408bhp 3.8-litre engine and rear-wheel drive.

1/11: Speedster has 408bhp 3.8-litre engine, rear-wheel drive, PDK transmission. Just 356 are available globally.

4/11: Black Edition is limited to 1,911 examples with 345bhp 3.6-litre engine.

5/11: Carrera 4 GTS is four-wheel drive version of Carrera GTS.

Checklist

  • Clutches last 50,000 miles if not hammered; if driven hard, a replacement can be needed much sooner.
  • The suspension lasts well, but the front bushes wear out, especially if the car is driven hard.
  • Don’t buy a 997 privately – especially an early one – without an inspection by an acknowledged expert.
  • Pre-2009 cars can suffer from engine failure, so look for blackened tailpipes and listen for ticking at idle. Later cars aren’t affected.
  • The steel braking system (there was a ceramic option) can suffer from disc corrosion, especially on cars used sparingly.
  • Because of stone chips, a resprayed nose is nothing to worry about, but if any other part of the bodywork has received fresh paint, be wary.
  • The air-con condensers and coolant radiators can suffer from pinhole leaks; replacements are costly.

We like

  • Performance
  • Build quality
  • Usability
  • Handling
  • Engine noise
  • Image
  • Exterior design

We don’t like

  • Not that exclusive
  • Bewildering range
  • Costly to buy

Chevrolet

Chevrolet Captiva (2006-2015)

Chevrolet is now a defunct brand in the UK, but don’t let that stop you from considering what was arguably its most capable model when it was current. The Captiva is a seven-seat SUV that was one of the most affordable cars in its segment when it was new. The brand’s low profile when it was trading here meant the Captiva shed its value quickly; with Chevrolet’s profile dropping further since its UK dealers were shuttered at the end of 2015, its products are more affordable than ever. The Captiva is no class leader in any one area, but as an all-rounder it’s plenty good enough to deserve your attention.

Key dates

7/06: The Captiva reaches UK showrooms with 150bhp 2.0-litre diesel or 140bhp 2.4 petrol engines.

2/08: The special edition Captiva Edge appears.

5/08: There’s a new entry-level diesel, the 2.0 VCDi LS. 

5/10: The range-topping Captiva LTZ arrives with standard leather trim, heated front seats, privacy glass, parking sensors and a rear-facing camera.

3/11: A facelift brings a redesigned nose and an upgraded interior. A 2.2 diesel replaces the previous 2.0-litre unit.

6/13: Another facelift brings restyled lights, bumpers, grille, extra equipment and a posher cabin.

Checklist

  • Clutches can burn out in under 20,000 miles, especially if the car is used for towing.
  • Brake discs can fail prematurely, so feel for juddering through the pedal under braking.
  • The automatic transmission makes for relaxed cruising, but significantly increases the cost of the annual road tax bill.
  • The ESP can cut in for no apparent reason, leading to the throttle losing response; a software update is the cure.
  • The diesel engine of pre-facelift cars sounds really agricultural around town and when cold.
  • The interior trim feels cheap in places, but it tends to last well. However, the silver paint finish on some items can wear away.
  • The trip computer can be woefully inaccurate, especially with fuel consumption figures.

We like

  • Spacious
  • Comfortable
  • Good value
  • Well equipped
  • Looks smart

We don’t like

  • Not great off-road
  • No UK dealers
  • Cheap interior

Peugeot

Peugeot 807 (2003-2010)

There was a time when MPVs were the future, then the crossover arrived and suddenly the MPV fell out of favour. Which is a shame because people carriers like the Peugeot 807 tend to be more spacious, comfortable and versatile than any SUV that’s remotely affordable. As the first MPV to score a full five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, the Peugeot 807 is also a very safe car – at least when tested to 2003 standards. However, there’s a fly in the ointment, and that’s the 807’s reliability record, which isn’t great. So before buying, make sure that cheap MPV doesn’t become very expensive once it’s yours.

 

Key dates

1/03: The 807 goes on sale with 2.0 or 2.2-litre petrol or diesel engines.

7/03: The 2.0 HDi is now available with an automatic gearbox.

2/04: The 2.2 HDi is now available with a six-speed manual gearbox.

6/04: A facelift brings new model designations and a tidier exterior design.

11/05: A refresh means extra standard kit for all cars, including ESP. A Euro IV-compliant 143bhp 2.0 petrol engines replaces the old 138bhp unit.

5/06: The 2.0 HDi engine is now a 120bhp unit (previously 110bhp).

1/08: The 2.2 HDi now comes in 170bhp form (alongside the previous 136bhp option).

 

Checklist

  • ECU faults can mean misfires, poor starting or uneven running – or no running at all.
  • The interior isn’t that tough, so look for damaged or broken trim.
  • The electric sliding doors are a great feature but the electric mechanism can be erratic.
  • Premature tyre wear isn’t unusual, especially on cars with 15-inch wheels.
  • Electrically operated windows and sunroofs can have a mind of their own, so ensure they work as they should.
  • The ball joints in the front suspension can fail prematurely.
  • The 807 has been the subject of new fewer than 21 recalls, so check they’ve all been actioned.

 

We like

  • Practicality
  • Versatility
  • Comfort
  • Refinement
  • Spacious cabin
  • Low purchase prices
  • Torquey diesel engines

 

We don’t like

  • Poor reliability record
  • Interiors get battered
  • Thirsty petrol engines

 

Renault

Renault Twingo (2007-2012)

When Renault failed to bring its brilliant original Twingo to the UK, it made a big mistake – which it didn’t repeat when it introduced an all-new model in 2007. Unfortunately the follow-up didn’t share the innovation of its predecessor, but as a used buy Renault’s smallest car is still worth a closer look for its distinctive styling, spacious and versatile interior as well as the performance in Renaultsport guise. But while the Twingo is ideally suited to urban driving, it’s not so adept at longer high-speed journeys thanks to poor refinement. Reliability can also be an issue, so make plenty of checks before buying.

 

Key dates

9/07: The second-generation Twingo arrives in the UK with a 1.2-litre petrol engine, in 75bhp normally aspirated or 100bhp turbo forms, the latter wearing TCE badges and known as the GT. 

2/08: A 60bhp Twingo 1.2 debuts, for those wanting economy above all else.

9/08: The sporty 1.6-litre Twingo 133 is introduced.

7/11: The Silverstone special edition arrives.

2/12: A facelifted Twingo brings revised styling and a wider array of options.

 

Checklist

  • Engines can run erratically, and idle very quickly, if the throttle control module starts to play up.
  • Alarms and immobilisers can be temperamental, going off for no apparent reason. Fixes can be elusive.
  • If you’re tall, you might struggle to get comfortable as even on its lowest setting the driver’s seat is too high.
  • Water can leak into the front footwells, because of faulty door seals or a poorly sealed windscreen.
  • There can be gear selection issues, especially first when cold. Adjusting the gear linkage should fix things.
  • Any misfiring is down to a faulty coil pack or because the wrong spark plugs are fitted; Renault recommends NGK items.
  • The electrics and electronics can play up, especially the instrumentation, warning lights and items such as the central locking.

 

We like

  • Smart looks
  • Versatile interior
  • Strong value
  • Low running costs
  • Renaultsport is fun to drive
  • Ride comfort

 

We don’t like

  • No five-door option
  • Patchy reliability
  • Not refined enough
  • Gutless smaller engines
  • Cheap cabin materials
  • Spartan cheaper models