Renault Twingo celebrates 20 years

Renault Twingo celebrates 20 years

Twingo is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. We report a short history and an extensive image gallery of the iconic model.

Below we report an official document on the birth of the Renult Twingo 1, which was sold in more than 2 million units and continued to be manufactured in Colombia until 2012. Also check our exclusive design story published back in 2007.

Renault Twingo 1 Ad


In 1989, Renault asked project director Yves Dubreil to come up with a small car that was compact, practical, economical and comfortable – but not a direct rival to its big sister, Clio.

Renault Twingo 1 Design Sketch

Twingo’s conception was dictated by the ‘design to cost’ philosophy and the team’s mission was to propose a compact car, with pioneering, attractive styling at a reasonable price.

2004 Renault Twingo

To achieve that, the only solution was to take a completely different approach with the aim of making life easier… Strip out the superfluous and replace it with unique innovations such as the sliding rear seat.

2004 Renault Twingo

Unlike the diverse model ranges marketed many of its competitors, Twingo was unique inasmuch as it was available in a single version, with just one 1.2-litre, 55hp engine and one interior trim level which featured electric windows and apple green control stalks.

Renault Twingo 1Twingo was presented with four different body colour choices: Outremer, Corail, Coriandre and Indien Yellow. Only two options could be specified: a folding canvas roof and climate control.

Twingo featured a monobox architecture which permitted a better distribution of space between the engine compartment and cabin.

The wheels were pushed right out to the four corners of the vehicle and there was just one wheel size and a single engine.

These attributes enabled the interior space to be optimised. At the time of its launch, Twingo topped its class in the small city car segment in terms of height, width and knee room – most notably thanks to its innovative sliding rear seat.

Renault Twingo 1 AdAll four seats could in fact be folded flat to create an impromptu double bed – a unique offering in its field that immediately underscored Twingo’s smart design and versatility.

Launch and marketing

The advertising slogan “It’s up to you to invent a lifestyle that goes with Twingo!” accompanied the launch of Twingo, dubbed by some as the ‘Frog from Billancourt’.

The moniker Twingo – a blend of ‘Twist’, ‘Swing’ and ‘Tango’ – was emblematic of the unusual, dynamic and aesthetically-pleasing design of this vehicle which exuded optimism and joie de vivre. Twingo saw Renault take a totally fresh stance on the automobile.

Renault Twingo 1 Ad Poster

The deliberate polar opposite of a status-enhancing vehicle, it inspired a new type of consumption: people bought a Twingo for themselves, not to impress others.

People appropriated Twingo for their own desires and invented a lifestyle that went with it.

Design Identity

Twingo was not a downsized version of Renault Espace. It boasted its own distinct personality, with a curvy, rounded exterior design that expressed strength and beauty with an almost human face.

The design of the dashboard guaranteed perfect visibility and married simplicity, functionality (with the centre console) and a touch of humour with its hazard warning lights switch shaped like a clown’s nose.

Renault Twingo 1 Headlight Renault Twingo 1 Interior


  • Renault Twingo 1March 1993: Commercial launch of Twingo, following a preview several months earlier at the Paris Motorshow.
  • 1994: A Frenchman covered 240,000km in a Twingo across the harsh Australian outback, demonstrating the reliability of this car whose talents were not restricted merely to city motoring. At the end of the journey, the car was painted by an Aboriginal artist.
  • 1994: Launch of Twingo Easy equipped with a manual gearbox but no clutch pedal.
  • 1996: Launch of the limited-edition Twingo ‘Benetton’ and Twingo’Matic versions, fitted with an
    automatic three-speed gearbox. Moreover, the engine was boosted by 5hp to reach 60hp.
  • 1998: First major restyling of Twingo with upgrades to the chassis, seats, dashboard, lights and front bumper. Introduction of the limited-edition ‘Elite’ version.
  • 1999: Launch of the top-of-the-range ‘Initiale Paris’ version.
  • 2000: Launch of the 16V, 75hp powerplant and Quickshift sequential gearbox. 2005: Appearance of the ‘Kiss Cool’ limited-edition.
  • June 28, 2007: Production of the last Twingo 1 in Europe following some 2,075,300 sales over a career that lasted 14 years – an exceptional lifespan by car industry standards.
  • 2012: Twingo continued to be manufactured in Colombia until 2012. Between 1995 and 2012, Twingo achieved tremendous success in the Colombian market, notching up sales in excess of 100,000. Twingo Tatoo was Twingo 1’s final limited-edition version.

(Source: Renault)

Image Gallery

Renault Twingo celebrates 20 years - Image 14
Renault Twingo celebrates 20 years - Image 21
Renault Twingo celebrates 20 years - Image 13
Renault Twingo celebrates 20 years - Image 22
Renault Twingo celebrates 20 years - Image 8
Renault Twingo celebrates 20 years - Image 12
Renault Twingo celebrates 20 years - Image 19
Renault Twingo celebrates 20 years - Image 20
Renault Twingo celebrates 20 years - Image 7

Related Stories

Ferrari celebrates GTO 40th Anniversary with GTO Legacy Tour 2024

Ferrari celebrates GTO 40th Anniversary with GTO Legacy Tour 2024

To celebrate the 40th anniversary of the iconic GTO, Ferrari has announced a series of events in the Italian Dolomites in early October 2024.
Renault Twingo 1 (1992): design history

Renault Twingo 1 (1992): design history

We publish a brief design history of the original Twingo project, started by Renault in the 1980s with the W-60 name and developed under the direction of Patrick Le Quément, until the official debut in 1992 and the commercial launch in 1993.

“GM’s Marvelous Motorama” at Petersen Automotive Museum celebrates Dream Cars from the 1950s

The Petersen Automotive Museum will celebrate “Dream Cars” from the 1950s with the exhibit “GM's Marvelous Motorama: Dream Cars From the Joe Bortz Collection,” which will open on March 16, 2024.


Leave a Comment


Get all the updates with our weekly newsletter!

Find a Car

Scroll To Top
Scroll To Bottom