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Test drive: my thoughts/opinions

Since my test drive at a dealer back in July, I have thought about the possibility of owning a Twizy (amongst other EVs) as a 2nd vehicle for commuting and running errands at the weekends. Colder or drizzly days wouldn’t bother me, as riding my Vectrix (or any motorcycle for that matter) for a few years, you learn to dress appropriately.

Overall, I was very pleased with the drive, but did find a few things rather quirky/odd.

I liked the regenerative braking. At one point on my test drive, I was driving down a fairly steep hill at the limited top speed and charging the battery too. What I gained here though, I lost coming back up the hill as I was using 3 bars/full power and couldn’t reach 30mph.

I didn’t find the limited 52mph top speed an issue on my unaccompanied test drive, but I think this might be a problem with some of the roads on the commute to work. My Vectrix maxi-scooter was limited to 100km/h, but has since had an official software update to 110km/h. It’s only about another 6mph increase, but has made a noticeable difference. Makes me wonder whether Renault could update the Twizy for an extra 10% increase in top speed.

I thought it handled well, even if the ride was a little on the harsh side. The turning circle was excellent and the ability to park just about anywhere appeals to me.

I also liked the panoramic view you get when looking out at T-junctions and crossroads. No B-post in the way to obstruct your view!

I did ask the salesman about the possibility of upgrading the battery pack in x number of years if/when a higher capacity pack becomes available, but he wasn’t sure. A usable capacity of 6.1 kWh seems to be ideal, but just like laptops and mobile phones, I’m sure we’ll see an increase in capacity over the coming years.

Has anyone looked at the possibility of fitting LED indicators, brake/tail and reversing lights? I’m surprised Renault didn’t do this already.

The first part of the accelerator pedal didn’t seem to do anything - but I gather this is for safety reasons?

When I had the seatbelts on, I couldn’t reach the handbrake lever properly - and I also thought the release button could do with being on the opposite side. I gather that Renault has used this lever design on quite a few models, but this was my first experience of it.

Hi-glad you liked it.

I agree with the handbrake design being odd and the button being on the wrong side-I too have a problem reaching it with my seatbelt on if wearing bulky clothes.
Not sure why LED lights were not fitted to-has been the subject of a few posts, but the additional battery has plenty of power to run the ones fitted.

I guess in years to come, a better battery will be available, along with software updates-we’ll see! The Skyroof is now available which improves the panoramic view further.

I was fairly sceptical about the Twizy, but find it very useful and usable. See http://www.carsurvey.org/reviews/renault/twizy/

I’m slightly confused as to why you both say the handbrake button should be on the other side. How are you letting the handbrake off?

Just for the record, the button on mine is on the left, just in case yours have been installed incorrectly!! Do you grip it underhand or overhand?

If you’re gripping it overhand and ‘pushing’ this may be your problem. Try twisting your wrist so that you’re underhand and your left hands thumb naturally sits where the button is.

Put your left hand on the table in front of you and your thumb is on the right side, so it would follow that ergonomically it would be better to have the press button on the right where your hand naturally falls, rather than having to twist your arm upside down to reach a button on the left side, which is what we all have to do.
Look at any other design and the thumb button is on the right side.

As said before, the handbrake is a weak spot in the design, in my opinion, it could do with being closer to you, slightly lower down so your hand can go on it knuckles up and have the button on the right side! Or even upright with the button on the top.

The current design is uncomfortable and is a stretch to fully push away if you sit on the furthest back seat position-you get restricted by the seatbelt when wearing outdoor clothing, too.

Should be an electronic brake anyway… Just press a button with your foot covering the brake like other Renault’s

I usually don’t like those, but with the Twizy being so light it would make sense-good idea :slight_smile:

To be honest I disagree that it is a weak design.

I don’t find it awkward in the slightest and I think the way you’re describing would actually be more awkward!

An underhand grip on that type of handbrake feels a lot more natural to me than an overhand. Am I completely alone on this?

I am still reaching for the phantom handbrake when i come to park :lol:

No issue with the handbrake position here, find it a bit tricky to get off sometimes, think its because I forget to press the brake . Getting more used to it though

Totally agree.

Works fine as it is. So long as l press the brake first.

Using the brake pedal is not the issue for me, it is getting my forearm turned right over so my thumb can press the button, then having the strength to press the button in while in that odd position, then not having enough seatbelt travel to comfortably push it fully away when I’ve got my heavy jacket on and the seat right back.
If I work hard, I can get it fully home, but often the handbrake alarm goes off as I drive away as I have left it slightly on which is infuriating.

I find it really hard to use, but perhaps I am stiffer than others and my combination of seating position and clothing makes it worse? I have never had the same issue in any other vehicle, even the 2CV-which has the lever under the passenger side of the dash!

I don’t have any trouble with the handbrake now I am used to it, but it is undoubtedly difficult to explain to someone new to the vehicle, and quite difficult to operate. It feels so flimsy that people are nervous about how hard you have to push the button, and it’s very hard to explain that, just like any other ratchet handbrake, you have to pull it slightly towards you in order to release the ratchet - a normal situation exacerbated by the fact that the electric interlock is also potentially impeding the button.

It’s reminiscent of an early mini gearbox - perfectly usable by someone who’s been driving a mini for a while, but a source of mystery to anyone driving one for the first time.