Renault may have raised some eyebrows with the name of its new convertible, but a new, affordable drop-top in time for Summer represents a great choice for car-buyers.
Based on the Renault Twingo city car, itself based on the Renault Clio, the Wind removes the back seats and adds a folding metal roof that must be among the fastest-operating of any car.
It’s not often that we wax lyrical about folding roof mechanisms, but the Ferrari-inspired roof on the Renault roadster is a clever bit of kit and no mistake.
In just 12 seconds the roof is opened or closed and, brilliantly, doesn’t eat into boot space thanks to the clever two-piece mechanism. As a result the Wind’s boot can swallow a lot more than you might expect from such a car, at 270 litres.
Visually the Renault Wind doesn’t, at first glance, have a lot in common with the Twingo. It looks like a convertible in its own right rather than a city car with the roof lopped off, and is a little longer and appears more swept-back and dynamic as a result.
But it’s also chunky and, yes, aggressive even. It has a definite road presence and it’s unlikely to be mistaken for any other car on the road.
As for the driving, well Renault handed over the Wind to Gallic performance wizards Renaultsport for a bit of fine-tuning, so it drives well. Back to that roof mechanism; because it’s also pretty light the Wind’s driving isn’t compromised by excessive weight.
Performance comes from a spirited 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine or a larger 1.6 VVT petrol. We took the latter out, proving to be a flexible engine, but have driven the 1.2 engine in the Clio and know it to be a capable and enjoyable engine too.
There are three trim levels – Dynamique, Dynamique S and Collection – with the base model the 1.2 TCe Dynamique at is the £15,500, notably cheaper than close rivals like the Peugeot 207CC, or even Mazda MX-5 but more than the soft-roof Fiat 500C.
Our test model, in Dynamique S trim, really looked the part with 17 black alloy wheels a real treat and sports seats on the interior also impressive.
But even standard trim offers stability control, four airbags, 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, sports seats and front fog lights.
So, an extremely strong little package – and we managed to get through the whole review without a Wind joke.