Little Car, Big Apple: Renault Twizy In New York City

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When we drove the Renault Twizy on the island of Ibiza last month, we asked whether Renault would actually sell any.

A vehicle that's virtually ideal for a sun-drenched island may not work so well in a rainy country like the U.K, or the colder climates of Eastern Europe.

We did find it very much suited to city driving though, and to prove it Renault has taken a lone example to New York, following a brief stop in Los Angeles to film the latest David Guetta video.

What was the point of the Twizy's detour to New York? There wasn't one really, other than to put a dedicated city car in one of the world's most famous cities.

It takes a lot to stand out in the Big Apple, but few vehicles attract attention like the Twizy. In Ibiza it was a head-turner, but in New York it's so different from any other vehicle on the road that people can't help but stop and stare. Dropping it in the middle of Times Square, Soho and Central park--among other Manhattan locations--made the most of the Twizy's incongruity.

Our first test also asked whether the Twizy would go on sale in the U.S. The answer to this question is still "no".

Renault Twizy in New York City. Photos: Renault Official on Flickr

Renault Twizy in New York City. Photos: Renault Official on Flickr

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However, Renault drops the rather cryptic line into its blog, "Twizy won’t go on sale in the US (but you just wait and see)". Does this mean some U.S. cities will see limited runs of the Twizy? Or will it go on sale in all but name, perhaps under the Nissan brand?

Time will tell, but we still think that Renault's electric, door-less baby might be more suited to a city without New York's harsh winters--no matter how at home it looks under the lights of Times Square.


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Comments (4)
  1. Interesting but inadequate product. Twizy is heavy quadicycle by Europe; meets (L7e) &is very like US Low Speed Vehicles. Top speed is 28 mph, while US top speed is 25 mph. Neither country has sufficient reqmts to insure customer safety or feeling safe.
    We started our LSV prog. 9 years ago & our doors were similar & open. We learned that was not what our buyers wanted; we have a conventional door with wind up windows, partially because the USPS required them. Our product, EcoVElectric is affordable ( $11,999 w/ doors & batteries), safe(handles & brakes like normal car & will be crash tested frt, rr, side, roof crush to occupant injury standards), versatile (base is 4 pass - can carry 1000 lbs, 6 pass, pickup, delivery) Investors needed!

  2. While you're right that the Twizy is classed as a heavy quadricycle in Europe, you're wrong about the car's top speed - it's 80 kph, or around 50 mph. That puts it significantly above the 25 mph NEV requirement.

    Unlike many quadricycles, the Twizy has also undergone crash testing, and we can report first-hand that it not only handles adequately, but better than most regular road cars thanks to the low center of gravity.

  3. In Europe it would fit in just fine as they're used to small cars here - but is America ready for such an unusual vehicle?
    Couldn't this hurt - rather than help - the image of electric cars in the USA?

  4. Depends, really. Renault has no plans to sell it, so that's unlikely to do damage - and as a novelty driving around NYC, I expect reaction would tend towards the positive. Depends where you'd try and sell it too - I can see some cities and states being more accepting than others.

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