It’s the city car of choice for a Spice Girl and an F1 legend and now there’s a chance to follow in their footsteps – or rather tyre tracks
Both Geri Horner (previously Halliwell) and Sir Stirling Moss own a Renault Twizy, the £7,000 electric car with only two seats, no windows and a top speed of 50mph.
They are just two of the owners who use them to zip around running daily errands and turning heads with one of the smallest four-wheeled vehicles you can legally drive on the road.
And now you can get a taste of what this unusual car feels like to drive by nipping about London in one, as part of a new sightseeing experience called Twizy Tours.
The Renault Twizy has been given a Union Jack wrap for the fleet of cars used by Twizy Tours
Former Spice Girl Geri Horner owns a Renault Twizy, as does F1 legend Sir Stirling Moss owns a Twizy (right speaking exclusively to This is Money deputy motoring editor Rob Hull)
Twizy Tours has launched a number of routes showcasing London at it’s very best. And that means a chance not just to soak up some sights but also to try out a car that’s more than a little unusual.
I joined the company on its latest offering – called the Royal Flash – which took me past St James Place, Buckingham Palace and Downing Street.
The fleet of Twizy Tour cars are appropriately covered in an eye-catching Union Jack wrap. Combined with the Renault’s unusual 2.3 metre long and 1.3 metre wide size, spotting one can be as entertaining for those walking on the pavement as it is for those driving these fun vehicles.
Everyone in – or around – a Twizy seems to end up smiling.
MailOnline’s Myra Butterworth (pictured centre) joins Twizy Tour’s Simon Wetton and Francesca Cava for a drive around London as part their new sightseeing tour
The Twizy Tour takes in a number of sights, including The Mall and Buckingham Palace
It’s not just the car’s looks that are unusual, climbing in through the scissor doors is too, discovered Myra
While driving with Twizy Tours, you follow a sightseeing route mapped out on a screen positioned to the left of the steering wheel, while modified speakers at the rear play a laugh-out-loud story highlighting the sights.
And don’t worry if you take a wrong turn as the GPS automatically adjusts to get you back on track.
The tours begin when you collect the vehicle from a car park next to London’s Marble Arch underground station.
This is where the cars are charged to their 50 mile range so they can complete the route without a sound, or an ounce of pollution from the vehicle.
Ben Fletcher, of Renault UK, said: ‘Twizy Tours are great fun, innovative, and unique – just like the Twizy itself, and I’m sure that the combination of an unforgettable vehicle and a cutting edge tour will provide an amazing experience for visitors to London.’
City driving: The Renault Twizy is the perfect car for the capital with a top speed of 50 mph
So what’s it like to drive a Twizy in London?
It’s great fun, as you dart through the cars in something that feels so much smaller than all the other traffic – although that does take some getting used to.
The car is nimble and agile and due to its small size feels pretty swift.
Perhaps the greatest limitation given the Great British weather is the lack of windows.
While Renault does sell zip up ones, the Twizy Tour windows do not have any, so it worth packing a few layers – even if it is sunny as the British climate can change in an instant.
You’re advised to leave the handbrake off during the sightseeing tour – unless you are, of course, on a hill – as it takes a huge amount of strength to keep releasing it.
The vehicle is also tricky to get in and out of, particularly the rear seat, which is not ideal for a less agile member of your family.
There’s also limited storage, with only a small box large enough for keys and purses to the right of steering wheel.
But the Twizy isn’t meant to be about being as practical as the family car. Instead, it is a small, fun City runaround with pure electric power – and if that’s the kind of thing you want then it fits the bill nicely.
The Renault Twizy is one of the smallest four-wheeled vehicles on the road
Should you buy a Renault Twizy? Here’s the Cars & motoring verdict
Motoring deputy editor Rob Hull explains: ‘The Twizy will only make sense for a specific group of people. First, you’re only likely to buy one if you live in a city. But the second requirement is the big one – having somewhere to charge it.
‘If you’ve got a garage, great. If not, you’ll need to be imaginative.
‘If you live in a sixth-floor flat with no car park, then it won’t suit your situation.
‘You also have to take some of the claims with a pinch of salt. In reality, the 62 mile range is really only good for between 35 to 50 miles, depending on how enthusiastic you are with your right foot. And driving at night with the lights on takes bigger chunks out of your remaining range.
‘It’s not that cheap to run either. You’ll pay a minimum of £540 a year to lease the battery for the vehicle – find a petrol car that does 40mpg and if you do 4,000 miles a year then you’ll pay the same in fuel costs.
‘It might be free to tax and Congestion Charge exempt, but insurance costs are high (group 11) compared to an insurance group 1 VW Up!.
But for Sir Stirling Moss, it’s ideal. He explained why when I went out with him and his Twizy.
‘I think it’s important that people should know how good it is. I think it’s looked upon as a gimmick – it’s not at all. It is very useful in town,’ he told This is Money.
‘You get quite a decent length of charging cable, and it’s so handy having a three-pin plug – it means you can plug it in just about anywhere.
‘The biggest selling point for me is the convenience of it. The parking benefits, the cost of running it – it’s the ease more than anything else. But also the friendliness – people are amused to see one. Sometimes it’s a good thing and sometimes a bad thing to get noticed, but I enjoy that people look at the car and get a lift.’
Want to know more? Read the full Sir Stirling Moss Renault Twizy feature.
Could the Twizy Tour experience ever prove as popular as a trip on the London Eye or in a black cab taxi?
That seems unlikely, but their visual appeal could mean that a convoy of the little electric cars becomes a regular sight for those visiting the capital.
Twizy Tours’ Simon Wetton said: ‘London is vibrant and diverse and we saw the need for a tour experience that would capture the heart and soul of the city in a more entertaining and imaginative way than run-of-the-mill big bus tours.
‘Today’s travellers are much more demanding with a desire to explore, seeking individual unique experiences and no longer wanting to just be a part of the herd.
‘Equally, many native Londoners have never experienced all their city has to offer. We created Twizy Tours to give them something really special.’
Twizy Tours start at £29.99 for two people, with the pickup point at Apcoa Car Park, Bryanston Street, W1H 7AB.
The £6,895 Twizy has only two seats
Price from: £6,995
Motor: 6.1kWh lithium-ion battery and electric motor
Transmission: Single-speed direct drive, rear-wheel drive
Top speed: 50mph
Range: 62 miles (claimed)
Emissions: 0g/km CO2
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 2338/1381/1451