So, Renault are entering the small convertible market with a car that is so different from any other two-seat roadster, it's sure to turn heads. Meet the new Renault Wind. Yes, Renault has Wind and they aren't trying to disguise it at the dinner table, or even blame the dog.
Now, I could make all sorts of toilet jokes throughout this review…so I'm going to :)
Upon first impressions the Wind looks very conceptual in design, bigger than a Twingo but smaller than a Clio, with sporty curves and compact styling making it very attractive. Although nothing like the concept itself, the road going production car is definitely better looking which is unusual, however, will definitely capture all the right attention.
Not content with just looking good, Renault decided to pass 'Wind' to the RenaultSport team, allowing them to work on this little wonder from the ground up, using previous platforms like Twingo RS combined with new technologies, the RS team have created their first car without an RS badge.
I tested both 1.2 and 1.6 engines, both strong machines respectively, excelling in very different areas. The 1.6 kicks out133bhp and Renaultsport are never shy to show you a good time. The little roadster turns on a pin point and follows through phenomenally, clutching the road and sounding a great little gurgle from the adapted exhaust system, really engaging you into the driving experience along those windy roads in the country.
Take it into town, however, and it's a different story. Still capable of nipping through narrow streets, this is mainly due to it's size as the 1.6 just doesn't seem too responsive in lower gears at lower speeds. To solve this you could opt for the 1.2 Tce100, a smaller engine that copes perfectly round town, zipping through traffic and reactive enough to avoid any sticky mess. Unfortunately, you loose that characteristic gurgle that is so pleasant in the 1.6; however gain that important wind power about town.
With all small two-seater roadsters you will always compromise luggage space to feel the wind in your hair, however Renault have adapted the way the roof coverts - and in just a staggering 12 seconds. At the touch of a button, the hood will flip into the boot and simply rest above the luggage space, meaning you have as much space in the boot of your Wind, as you would in a standard Clio. A small two-seater roadster that you can actually use the boot with the hood up or down, not compromising on cabin space for you and your passenger.
Lastly, I have to bring up the issue with rear visibility. If you didn't use your wing mirrors before, other than to see how cool you look driving, you better start learning what they're used for. To get the roadster experience from the Wind, Renault have done a good job, however the giant pillars at both sides create giant blindspots with almost zero rear visibility, making it difficult to look quickly to check for traffic.
Overall, Renault, or rather Renaultsport, has done a brilliant job with the Wind. Making a practical two-seat roadster that looks gorgeous, sounds great and performs as well as you want it to. Could Renault give their French friends Peugeot a run for the 207cc market? In honesty, it's a tough one to call, they will definitely convert a few people their way. Renault dealers will have wind pretty much constantly from August 2010, with the special edition 'Collection' passing later in the year. Pricing starts from £15,500 for the entry level model