Renault Wind Range

Renault thinks its Wind can ruffle a few feathers in the market for small folding hard-top convertibles. Steve Walker takes a look

Renault set out to create a fun little car with an energetic feel and a reasonable level of practicality. The Wind, we’re led to believe, is that car.

It is a straight two seater - one with as much practicality as most citycar drivers will ever need and the added benefit of a removable metal canopy for those rare days when the rain holds off.

A couple of lively engines have been earmarked for service in the Wind, a 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol and a 1.6-litre petrol

The design of the Wind is rather clever. Losing the rear seats has created a shorter cabin that can be bridged by a smaller, simpler roof mechanism.

There’s plenty of space for a pair of occupants and a 270-litre boot capacity that’s virtually unheard of in a convertible this size. The roof itself is straightforward and effective: it retracts in just 12 seconds, pivoting back to stow itself below the boot lid. It means that the amount of available luggage space is unaffected whether the Wind’s cabin is open to the elements or sheltered.

The Wind’s simple roof design has also helped its styling. It’s a small car at just 3,830mm long, but unlike many other compact convertibles, it doesn’t need an extended rear end to fit a large and complex canopy in.

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The Wind isn’t the most elegant drop-top on the road but Renault has given it a foursquare stance and a certain nuggety aggression. Inside,there are sports seats lending good lateral support and the instruments are housed in metallic cowls with chrome detailing to provide some extra sense of occasion.

The Wind is available in two mainstream trim levels, Dynamique and Dynamique S, and there’s a decent safety specification on all models. Front and side airbags are standard. So is an ABS system with Brake Assist and Renault has also thrown in ESC stability control.

In Dynamique S guise, steering wheel controls for the CD stereo are added along with automatic lights and wipers, Bluetooth connectivity and 17" alloy wheels.

Owners can customise their car with a range of accessories from chrome mirrors to a rear diffuser. The market for small convertibles is onthe up and the Renault Wind will not be short of competition.

It will need to out-do supermini-based products like the Peugeot 207CC and the MINI Cabriolet and Renault also claims to be gunning for sportier models in the mould of the Mazda MX-5 Roadster-Coupe.

The sprightly petrol engines that power the Wind promise reasonable economy figures but there’s no unit that will deliver the ultra-low fuel consumption of a leading citycar. Renault has preferred to keep things moderately sporty and resisted the urge to give the Wind a dieselengine.

Facts At A Glance

CAR: Renault WindPRICES: �15,500-�17,300 - OTRINSURANCE GROUPS: 6-8 [est]CO2 EMISSIONS: 140-165g/km [est]PERFORMANCE: [1.2] Max Speed 115mph / 0-62mph 9.8s [est]FUEL CONSUMPTION: [1.2] (combined) 48mpg [est]STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: ABS with EBD, ESC, Driver and passenger lateral airbagsWILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/heightmm 3830/1640/1472 [est]

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