RE: Renault Twingo RS133: PH Used Buying Guide

RE: Renault Twingo RS133: PH Used Buying Guide

Thursday 30th November 2017

Renault Twingo RS133: PH Used Buying Guide

In the market for a Renaultsport Twingo? Here's everything to look out for...



'Less is more' is the mantra behind the Renault Twingo Renaultsport 133. Less being taken care of by the car's diminutive size and weight - which just scraped over a tonne - while more was offered with the 133hp 1.6-litre petrol engine, borrowed from the Clio and upgraded.


The Twingo RS also took its base chassis from the contemporary Clio, which means it had plenty in common with the Clio RS197 when it was launched in 2008. Broader front and rear wings covered the 40mm wider track and gave the tiny French hatch a more aggressive stance, while side skirts and a spoiler finished the look. Under the bonnet, the 133hp engine had uprated camshafts and a four-into-one exhaust manifold. The engine loves to rev, so making the most of peak power at 6,750rpm is not a chore.

Against the clock, the RS133 may not be the quickest car you can buy, but it carries speed through corners and is a real terrier on twisty roads. Agile handling and quick steering make their marks here and explain why this often overlooked Renaultsport model is now gaining a cult following.


The stripped out Cup version arrived in late 2009 without air conditioning, automatic headlights and washers, rear tinted windows or the two-piece back seat. Instead, there was a single section rear bench and 10 per cent firmer Cup suspension, sitting 4mm lower than a non-Cup model, as standard. 17-inch alloy wheels with an Anthracite finish also came in place of the standard 16-inch rims.

For 2010, Renault added a Gordini version with blue paint and white stripes, plus leather seats. A Silverstone GP limited edition pitched up in July 2011 and it came with a stainless steel exhaust. Each one has a numbered plaque inside and a Renaultsport Monitor onboard performance tracking system.

In 2012, Renault facelifted the entire Twingo range, bringing a larger spoiler, minor interior upgrades and the option of Liquid Yellow paint for the RS.

While it's a rare sight on the UK's roads, the Twingo Renaultsport 133 earns its place in the RS team thanks to its rev-hungry engine and fine handling. It's worth trying both the standard and Cup models before committing to either as some find the lighter, more extreme Cup too hard and fidgety on grazed road surfaces while others love its raw edge.

Search for a Renaultsport Twingo in the PH classifieds.


Bodywork and interior

A rattly tailgate is a common affliction and generally means the striker plate needs to be properly aligned.


Boot release handle fails as water gets in.

Look for signs of water damage in the front footwells where it seeps in under the scuttle panel.

Is the air conditioning working?

Check all of the dash displays are brightly illuminated as they can fade and new ones are costly.

Engine and transmission

Coil pack failure is the most likely cause of rough running or lack of power. New coils are cheap to replace at £28 and easy to fit.

Regular services are every year or 12,000 miles and prices vary between £150 and £250 depending on the extent of the check-up.


Cambelt should be changed at 72,000 miles along with water pump.

A remap can free up as much as 10hp, while an aftermarket exhaust from K-Tec can add 14hp combined with an induction kit.

Engine mounts weaken and cause a knocking sound under acceleration. New ones are around £230 including fitting.

Look at the exhaust for signs of rust breaking through.

Five-speed manual transmission is strong, but the change from fourth to fifth can become notchy.

Suspension and steering


Ball joints wear and will result in knocks and vague steering. Requires a whole new lower arm and all-in cost is around £250.

Steering rack can fail, though it's a rare fault.

Lowering springs are a popular and cheap modification at around £250 for a set.

Wheels, tyres and brakes

Original spec Continental ContiSportContact tyres are expensive to replace at around £250 for a pair. As a result, many Twingo RS owners have different rubber fitted.

Some RS133s will have Cup wheels fitted. Don't be fooled into buying a fake Cup, so look for the purple code tag on the rear shock absorbers and springs.


SPECIFICATION - RENAULT TWINGO RS133

Engine: 1,598cc, four-cyl
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Power (hp): 133@6,750 rpm
Torque (lb ft): 118@4,400 rpm
MPG: 42.2
CO2: 165g/km
Price new: £12,495 (£11,795 for Cup)
Price now: £2,500 upwards

Inspired? Buy a Renault Twingo RS133 here

Author
Discussion

culpz

Original Poster:

3,893 posts

43 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
quotequote all
It's nice to read one of these all on one page, without clicking through the different links to the different aspects, to check and look out for. I'm not sure whether that's because there's not that much to go wrong or that the issues don't need explaining in depth as much, but i like it biggrin

I've always really liked these. They are very rare and i tend to see loads of the GT models as apposed to 133's. They are also getting cheap now but there never seems to be that many up for sale, at any one time. My struggle would be picking one over a 172/182, for even cheaper.

On the other hand, these are newer and probably cheaper to run. I'm not sure i really desire them as much as i do the Clio's, though.

Butter Face

16,782 posts

91 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
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Great fun cars. I had a Gordini for a while in 2011 and it was lots of fun.

Of course the Clio 200 blows it out of the water in most respects but the Twingo is a superb fun car in it's class.

ECG1000

224 posts

73 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
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I really miss mine! Such a great little car. Definitely gave me more smiles than a Clio 200 I had shortly after.
Very tempted to take the plunge again but worried the fond memories will be ruined by one with a few miles on it that might have not been looked after as well as mine...

davidc1

548 posts

93 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
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i often see a silverstone etd. sounds really good.

rthn83

35 posts

16 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
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I think these are brilliant cars and it was recently in my shortlist along with a Panda 100.

One thing I would say is don't leave it 72,000 miles or 5 years to get the belts changed as these have been known to fail a lot sooner on the Clios (very similar engine). In fact mine snapped well before this interval and wrecked my engine.

I also doubt a KTEC or any exhaust will release 14bhp on these cars without a number of other mods.
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Alex_225

2,665 posts

132 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
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I still have a Gordini which I bought new in 2010. They are excellent little cars and a hot hatch in the old school sense of the word. Light, nimble and not overly powerful.

I've had an number of different RenaultSports throughout my 20s and I'd still say the 133 is one of the best looking and best handling of the ones I've owned. Surprisingly practical as well with rear seats you can move to give more leg room or more boot space. Good on fuel and cheap to run but get it on a country lane and get the revs up and they're such a laugh.

They're currently very cheap so the 'youth' are buying them and some have questionable modifications being made to them. Like the Clio 172/182s, it'll be harder and harder to find standard mint examples in the near future yet out of the box they're great.

ikonic

341 posts

129 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
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I actually owned one from new and to be honest we never really clicked.

The driving position felt really uncomfortable and the engine (which admittedly might have still been a bit tight) seemed to lack any real zest which was frustrating as the chassis was clearly very capable. My brother's similarly powered Mini Cooper of the same vintage felt more of a complete car I thought at the time.

I eventually traded it in after 13k miles for a Clio 197 Cup which I absolutely adored. Now that I'm a bit older and wiser, would be interested in driving a Twingo RS again to see if my opinion would be any different today.


Alex_225

2,665 posts

132 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
quotequote all
ikonic said:
The driving position felt really uncomfortable and the engine (which admittedly might have still been a bit tight) seemed to lack any real zest which was frustrating as the chassis was clearly very capable.
I can very much appreciate that point. My 133 is silly low miles so does still have that. My ex-girlfriend actually bought one at the same time as me. White, Cup chassis etc. We fitted an induction kit to it and with a few miles on it, the engine freed up nicely. Felt as revvy as you'd want it to. More like a mini 172 engine. smile

The seating position is quite comfy but sit up and beg type steering wheel position. I'm 6'1 do it's not something I'd have chosen to do really long journeys in.

wab172uk

1,012 posts

158 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
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I have the face lifted car. A 2012 RS in Red, (wanted Liquid Yellow) Cup Chassis and RS stickers. Bought is second hand, 2 years old as a little run-a-round.

Great fun, but they don't rev very freely. Once into third, the revs climb quite slowly.

Not that fast in a straight line, and for an overtake, it's best to stay back a bit, wait for a corner before a straight, then boot it just before the corner, so your exit speed it greater than the car in front, then it makes overtaking a bit less heart in mouth.

Great fun in the bends, and it generates a huge amount of grip (running Pilot Sport 3's) for such a little car.

Bad points.
Fixed seatbelt position, so if you're not that tall (me) the seat needs to be raised above what I'd like, so I don't have the seatbelt in my neck.
Steering wheel can't be adjusted down enough, so it's always at an uncomfortable angle. (you get used to it)
Squeaks and rattles. Not as bad as my old Clio 172, but usual old school Renault build quality.
Not that frugal. Less than 300 miles per tank. Usually around 250. But then again, it gets thrashed everywhere.
Brakes aren't the best. Brake hard'ish while turning, and the ABS kicks in far too early

Good points
It's packed full of kit for such small and cheap car. Bluetooth, USB, Cruise control, AC
It's absolutely brilliant in the corners and on back roads.
Round-a-bouts can be taken on 3 wheels

Not much has gone wrong with it. The exhaust has just started blowing, so not sure to replace like for like, or go aftermarket. Would love to try KTec's exhaust and manifold, but to buy the parts and have them fitted, will be nearly half the cars value.
Been thinking about selling it and buying a Clio 200, but maybe hang onto it a bit longer, as it's such good fun.

FIREBIRDC9

372 posts

68 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
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Interested to hear peoples thoughts on these.

They were on my "maybe" list earlier in the year for a fun and cheap runabout.

I eventually went for a Suzuki Swift Sport Mk1 , never got round to test driving the Renault sadly.

I bought the first car i viewed and don't think i have made a poor choice smile

MikeGoodwin

1,187 posts

48 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
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When I was younger - 20ish - I looked at these briefly, but the Clio GT won (128HP, same K4M but different airbox, i also dont remember my exhaust manifold looking like that) although I had coilovers on it within a month thanks to Student Finance. Couldnt really afford the 200 as it was money I didnt have and would have cost me a lot more to insure.

We could also throw the Swift Sport into the mix.... That would be the winner for me these days.

I think my mates would have dished out no end of abuse if I got a twingo and as a young lad Id of cared what they thought.

GTID

108 posts

49 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
quotequote all
Ran one for just shy of 4 years. Was seriously good fun on the right roads and sounded brilliant for a 4 pot with a cat back exhaust, think the manifold design was very trick which enabled it to sound so good. Agree with other posters about the engine it was okay to 60ish but the lack of grunt really showed on longer straights and wasn't helped by having only 5 gears and long ratios due to that. Handled like it was on rails with the cup chassis, staggering just how fast you could corner. The seats were very good too I thought even if they were slightly too high, really supportive and people always commented on how good they felt compared to faster more exotic machinery.

Unfortunately I had a number of issues with mine which almost ruined my experience. Few things people should be aware of:

- Water Pump & Cam Belt: My water pump failed at about 25k miles just outside of warranty. Big job due to the size of the engine in such a confined space. Belts had to be changed early. Total cost £850 at Renault with a contribution from them of 40%..

- Scuttle Panel leak: The join in the windscreen scuttle panels are prone to leaking. Mine did and water dripped straight onto the coil of one of the cylinders (2 I think). Corroded the spark plug to the point a specialist had to come out to remove it during a service. Check silicone has been applied to the join.

- Ball Joints: Due to the design these could only be replaced with the whole wishbone assembly being changed. Mine had both fronts changed under warranty. Cost was £5-600 if I had to pay. I would warn potential buyers to check these carefully. I think the ball joints can be done separately now (other owners may be able to confirm) by a specialist but the car chews through them.

Overall I enjoyed the car, but was certainly happy to move into something else. I went Clio 197 then Mark 7 Golf R, all great cars in there own regard. The Twingo was so nimble and chuckable on B-Roads though, some great memories even with reliability issues I encountered. Would recommend them to anyone but would also warn of some potentially big bills.

avenger286

307 posts

34 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
quotequote all
I have had my 133 cup for over 5 years and 70k. No major problems, has had bottom arms with the newer Renault updated part and the 2 rear springs have snapped. My car has cams, manifold and exhaust with a modified induction set up with around 170bhp it is fun.
No squeaks, rattles or bangs.
Although now the car is no longer a road car and is a lot different it's even more fun and will be even better when I get it finished.

loskie

1,066 posts

51 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
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An old chap i know from the car club, he's ex RAF and in his mid 80's.
He bought a new Silverstone one and decided to have it resprayed "liquid yellow" shortly after purchase.
It's quite a smart wee car, he doesn't get to drive it much but loves it when he does.
He's also tarted it up a bit to look like a rally car!

Not exactly Renault's target market this old chap, it always makes me smile when I think of him and his car.

s m

16,526 posts

134 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
quotequote all

s m

16,526 posts

134 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
quotequote all

markBXTR

12 posts

25 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
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We've been looking for a full fat cup for over a year (there aren't many). We were lucky enough to find one in red (only 50 made in this colour) a few weeks ago in Nottingham. All I can say is the car is an absolute hoot. When I drive it, I just cant stop laughing. Handles like it's on rails and loves to be thrashed and looks all pumped up and with an aggressive stance . Why don't car manufacturers make light fun cars like this anymore? Well, this one is a keeper and is sitting in the garage next to our Porsche. Remap and Ktec exhaust on the way I think smile 155bhp in something this light; sounds great.

EpsomJames

697 posts

177 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
quotequote all
I had one as my daily commuter for a couple of years.

Loved loads of things about it - great handling from the Cup chassis, an engine that liked to rev, the versatile rear seating to name a few. I would have kept it if it wasn't for a few back problems that the extremely firm suspension on the 133 was aggravating.

Great little cars though.

TheAngryDog

7,594 posts

140 months

Thursday 30th November 2017
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My wife has a 13 reg 133. Great little car that has just ticked over to 18k miles. It's red and has the cup chassis but isn't a cup car. The rude is very firm and I don't like the seating position, the seats do not go far enough back for me to sit in it comfortably. It is a bit gutless over 60mph. I don't know where the long gearing post comes from as these are short geared. 70mph in 5th is around 3500 to 4000 rpm.

Very chuckable, look great and not massively expensive. Overall a good car imo.

s m

16,526 posts

134 months

Friday 1st December 2017
quotequote all
EpsomJames said:
I had one as my daily commuter for a couple of years.

Loved loads of things about it - great handling from the Cup chassis, an engine that liked to rev, the versatile rear seating to name a few. I would have kept it if it wasn't for a few back problems that the extremely firm suspension on the 133 was aggravating.

Great little cars though.
Does the rear bench have much movement in it? i.e can you massively vary size of boot?