In cars, as in all things, there exists a huge chasm between what is possible and what is probable. It may be possible, for example, that within a few years, we'll be zipping around town in hydrogen-powered, autonomous flying cars. But the likelihood is that we'll all be driving four-wheeled vehicles with internal combustion engines and our hands at ten and two for the foreseeable future – just as we have for generations. The same goes for the layout of those cars we drive.
2014 Renault Twingo
In many ways, the new Renault Twingo is a very old-school car. While its look and mechanicals are entirely modern, moving the engine to the back with rear-wheel drive harkens back to small, European cars of the '60s. The little Frenchman has a platform co-developed with Daimler and shares its underpinnings with the next-generation Smart. However, It also brings back some of the quirkiness to French cars that has been dwindling recently. Case in point: The way Renault created the hood opening.
There was a time when the smallest, nimblest hatchbacks (like the original VW Beetle and Fiat Cinquecento) put their engines in the back. But those days are long behind us... right? Well nobody seems to have told Renault, which has a proud history of putting its engines behind the seats with vehicles like the Renault 5 Turbo and Clio RS V6. Those were decidedly performance-oriented hot hatches, but now Renault is taking the formula to the masses with the introduction of the new Twingo.