Renault Wind car review
- We like...Looks; folding roof
- We don't...Shuddery ride
This is the Wind, Renault’s newest. It’s a happy little two seater that takes its engines and running gear from the Twingo, the make’s city car.
That’s a good place to start because the Twingo’s more fun to drive than many. And it rides pretty well, too, considering its short and small wheelbase.
The Wind’s a pretty thing, packing just two seats and a clever roof made from plastic that swivels at the touch of a button and tucks itself into a space above the boot for proper top-down driving. It’s more targa-top than full-on roadster but this means the cabin is calm and gust-free when the roof’s off.
And it’ll switch from open to closed quickly – in just 12 seconds. You pull and twist a handle to unlock it, and then push a rocker switch sited centrally to finish the job. Its design means that space in the boot remains the same no matter the position of the roof – at a generous 270 litres. The room back there, however, is restricted by a couple of hefty steel brace-struts – we’ll come back to these later.
Now the Twingo’s quite fun to pilot quickly, even if you're in the cheapest ones. But the Wind’s no match. The steering lacks the Twingo’s feel and accuracy and instead feels a step away from the action. And if you push on you can feel the little car shuddering as it crosses bigger road bumps.
Building cars without fixed roofs makes them prone to shimmy and shake, particularly top down. And the Wind’s true to type, despite obvious attempts to stiffen things up – which is where the braces in the boot we mentioned earlier come in.
Still, top down the Wind remains pleasant to drive, although the 1.2 petrol turbo in ours felt slower than its 100bhp suggests. You need to rev it hard to hustle the car along and when you do, it’s harsh and noisy.
The other engine choice available is the 1.6 petrol turbo that also powers the Renaultsport Twingo.
There are a choice of two trims, Dynamique and Dynamique S. The first comes with alloy wheels, air conditioning, sports seats and cruise control; the second adds climate control, auto-on lights and wipers, Bluetooth and somewhere to plug in your iPod. Whichever you choose, the Wind’s cabin remains cheap-looking in places. Where the Twingo has at least its speedo and essential dials housed centrally in a neat and inventive pod, the Wind has a more usual set-up dead-ahead of the driver.
The car’s different enough to sit in a niche of its own – its only direct competitor is Vauxhall’s Tigra. This car’s no longer made but you should still find one nearly-new. Otherwise, you’d be looking at Mazda’s MX-5, which costs thousands of pounds more.
Should you buy one? If you’re sold on its looks, why not. And that boot’s handy for a car of its size. But you should be aware that the Twingo, on which it’s based, is cheaper and more fun.
- Engines1.2 petrol turbo
- 0-60 mph10.5secs
- Insurance groups15E
Motors.co.uk value verdict: