First Look 2014: Renault Twingo, Citroen C1, Peugeot 108

With the Geneva motor show just around the corner, all of the big players are getting ready to show off their new cars to the world for the very first time.

Not only is 2014 a year packed with brand new releases, but also a showcase of what’s to come in the near future. Traditionally manufacturers create a concept car or two to wow onlookers with their designer’s abilities, and then most never make it into production. However, this is less of the case in recent years as we’ve started to see more and more of them finally becoming a reality. Hopefully this year will be no exception, as already leaked images suggest towards even more exciting stuff on its way. Including rekindled rumours about the possible forthcoming DS2 I’ve written about previously.

But moving on, what I really want to talk about is what we can expect to see in our show rooms in the next few months. In particular the fact that we’re about to receive 3 new contenders into the class A car segment. All of which are from the 3 big French manufacturers; Renault, Peugeot and Citroen.

As I may have mentioned before, I really do love small French cars. They’re what I grew up with, and they offer the most fun for their size, hands down. The Ford KA might be the easiest to drive, (because well; it’s a Ford),  The Fiat 500 might be the most popular, and the Vauxhall Adam might still have that sense of stylish exclusivity (for now) but if you’re going to part with hard earned cash for any car in this class, you’d be best off spending it on one of these three.

 

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First up is the new replacement for the Renault Twingo. The outgoing model was all round pretty good. It was nippy and well balanced, A far cry from the original Twingo though which let’s face it, was just plain awful. But there was still something about it that made it a bit too girly. Maybe it was just a size thing.

In the good old days, the Twingo was better known as the Renault 5, and was a car beloved by people from all walks of life, from youths cladding them in fantastically terrible body kits, to old folk driving down to the shops for some milk. So when the Twingo finally came in to replace it, it created a total anti-climax. While they were fairly popular on the continent, over here they were pretty much akin to the Reliant Robin.

From the look of the design of the 2014 Twingo, there certainly has been a nod to the iconic 5; such as the short stubby nose and angular rear, mixing new modern methods with a touch of nostalgia. The range of engines that will be offered with it are not yet confirmed, but what really is leaving us feeling excited is the ace it’s hiding up its sleeve.

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Renault have announced that the Twingo will be offered as having a rear mounted engine, along with rear wheel drive. All of which in theory will add up to a whole lot of fun. It’s something Renault have done twice before, but for some reason they never seemed to take it any further. It really will be interesting to see the benefits this might have on such a small car, and just how it actually feels to drive.

Meanwhile, Citroen and Peugeot will be launching their replacement for the C1 and 107 respectively. And I really must say, I’m impressed. Both are massive improvements from their predecessors.

I was never a fan of the 107/C1/Aygo thing. I don’t know what it was about it, but it just never really got me excited. It was something of a ‘toy car’ that seemed to lack any form of soul. Whereas a few years before, the Citroen Saxo and the Citroen AX (Peugeot 106) were incredibly fun cars. Underpowered and under-spec’d by today’s standards, but a great cheap laugh.

The new C1 & 108 Is a joint development from PSA (Peugeot and Citroen) and is essentially the same car, with the exception of some body panels and badging issues, but what you will find is that the ticket on the car will be a little different depending on which badge you end up buying. Peugeot traditionally comes with a slightly higher premium, which is a trend were going to see more of as PSA continues with their brand restructuring.

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The Citroen is getting a little stick already, for being a bit of an ugly duckling. But you know, I really don’t think that it is. It might be a little more ‘cutesy’ than the Peugeot, but it also makes it that bit more quirky and unique. And that’s something that Citroen’s always done very well.

That having been said, if I’m totally honest, of the two I have got to say that the 108 wins this one for me. The front bumper carries the synergy of the brand, and gives the car a much more masculine appearance when compared side by side to the Citroen.

Whichever way you were to decide, there will be a choice of 3 engines on offer, offering between 68 and 82 horses, with simply excellent fuel consumption. While they may not quite be class leading, they’re certainly going to hold their weight in a fight.

You’ll find that it also comes packed with the latest technology we’ve been starting to see on larger vehicles, such as touchscreen displays, reversing cameras, hill assist and keyless entry. Meaning they can both be really well equipped. There will even be a topless version available on both models.

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More details will be released towards the end of next week, following the Geneva Motor Show. All these vehicles will be made available for sale later in the year, and it really will be interesting to see how they’ll match up against one another in a head to head.

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