You cannot rent a car on the island of Bermuda. What you can rent is a Twizy.
The Renault Twizy is a road-legal electric minicar with scissor doors and delusions of grandeur. This quadricycle went on sale in Europe in 2012 and just recently came to Bermuda, where, prior to its arrival, a tourist's only means of motorized self-locomotion was to rent a moped and pray to their own particular god.
The Twizy is a silly island novelty. It's also a glimpse of a different idea of future transportation. Here's what it's like to drive one.
First Impression: The Twizy's exterior, from the bug-eyed headlights to the tropical pink side stripe, shouts I am fun to drive around. The sell works. We saw people in them before our drive day and felt immediately jealous. While driving the car we enjoyed the gawkers and felt like part of a futuristic goofball collective anytime we saw anybody else in a Twizy. Like the way early Prius owners probably felt, only sillier and sun-drenched.
The interior is about as bare-bones as can be. Ignition slot, turn signals, lights, windshield wiper, and a button on the dash that selects drive, neutral, or reverse. The rudimentary electronic display shows your speed, charge level, and the estimated range until you run out of juice. That's about it. No radio, no A/C, no charging ports.
Windows: Doesn't have them. Five stars.
Doors: The Twizy has scissor doors that open straight up. The engineers certainly had a practical reason for this decision, but the upshot is to make this sort-of go-kart even goofier. Because the Twizy puts the driver's seat in the center of the car, you can open the supercar doors and exit on either side.
The doors do not lock. Why should they? Nobody's stealing an underpowered electric minicar while marooned on an island. Also, there are no windows. So you just reach in and pull the door handle on the inside.
Not having to lock your car: Four and a half stars.
No trunk, pockets, nor space under the rear seat. Welcome to the future of pure urban mobility: Storage in the Twizy amounts to whatever the backseat passenger can hold in their hands and stash by their feet. All of which is just fine, since there are no windows and the doors don't lock, so it's best not to leave items in the car anyway.
Comfort: To deposit a human in the Twizy's dinky backseat, slide the driver's seat all the way forward and make sure your passenger bends all the way over while clambering in. Then slide the driver's seat backward until it's right up against them, forcing their legs to straddle the driver as if on a scooter.
Out on the road, well, it could be worse. The Twizy's tiny wheels don't exactly eat up the potholes, but for a glorified go-kart it soaks up road bumps admirably.
Driving one all day leaves a person exhausted, but that's from the stress of navigating twisty island byways with hidden road signs while being tailgated by locals who drive uncomfortably fast speeds for Twizy drivers.
The Drive: The speed limit on the island of Bermuda is a lazy 35 kph (about 22 mph). The Twizy, despite the droning protests of its electric motor, can hang with the actual 45-50 kph flow of traffic on the main roads. The motor whines loudly at proper speeds, but you don't want or need to go any faster anyway. A velocity that would be coma-inducing in a Toyota Camry is fun/terrifying in a Twizy.
That said, you've got to dig deep to make it go. I trained myself to tap gently on the gas when test-driving powerhouse new cars in states, but the Twizy doesn't do much of anything until you push far into that pedal. Once it goes, though, the electric motor has enough muscle to get the little guy up to speed quickly, and the light, low-to-the-ground Twizy can handle island bends.
The Range: The car will make it 50- kilometers, depending greatly upon how much of a leadfoot you are. That's about enough to get across Bermuda and back. Helpfully, there's now a collection of Twizy chargers around the island, including one at the legendary Swizzle Inn, a tourist haven and home of the Rum Swizzle. They don't use the slogan "Swizzle Inn, stagger out" for nothing.
Have a fish sandwich and let your Twizy top off its charge while you sober up, partner.
Best Feature: The shocking yellow "KEEP LEFT" sign on the dashboard reminding you that Bermudans drive on the left. Handy.
The Upshot: There's a time and a place for a microcar—in particular, navigating crowded urban streets and fitting into tiny parking spaces. Smart cars do a nice job of that in America's big cities. But there is little love to be found for the bland, virtue-signaling style of a Smart car. You will love the Twizy, even if you don't love driving it anymore by the end of a long day.
Sure, a windowless contraption that so barely meets the qualifications of being a car is a much better fit for tropical tourist island that accounts for 21 square miles than it is for the urban environs of America. Even so, we could learn something about a different kind of transportation future from the clean, cheap, and enchanting Twizy.