By on 2011-03-05 -
IN similar fashion to Bob Dylan, Renault discovered that "the answer was blowing in the wind" when seeking a name for its new roadster.
This good looking two-seater from the French car giant arrived on the UK scene last September since when, the Renault Wind has proved a pretty sharp little mover.
Traditionally Renault has established a heritage of well established excellence in building small cars endowed with some decidedly sporting character and Wind, a name which first emerged in a concept car at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, looks well set to do it justice.
The rush to affordable coupe cabrios kicked off in 2001 with Peugeot's 206CC followed by its more upmarket stablemate the 207CC.
However, wind in your hair driving can come at a price - normal folding soft and hard tops being vulnerable to outside interference while providing little boot space with top stowed or not.
However, roof up or down, the Renault Wind roadster offers the same area of luggage space provided by its Clio stablemate.
Following a simple unlatching of the roof before a 12-second press of the electric switch for it to pivot on its axis and fold into the boot lid it leaves some 270 litres of stowage space available.
Despite weighing in at only around one fifth of the weight for conventional hard tops closing what can be quite a heavy boot lid may prove cumbersome, so Renault engineers ensured that the boot lid operates with gas strut assistance.
Nevertheless visibility through the pill box-like rear window definitely requires the use of the door mirrors.
Sitting between Renault's Twingo and Clio in the model line up, the Wind is blessed with a nimble chassis that benefits from a class leading balance of weight and structural rigidity.
Compact and stylish, this Renault newcomer can swiftly switch to a wind in the hair, sporty performer, being the sharpest in its class to both open and close its roof.
I found the driving position very agreeable while sat in a figure hugging sports seat facing a new dashboard and, with a feisty 1.6 131bhp petrol engine on tap, progress proved enjoyable while the ride was very roadster-esque with an impressively rigid chassis set up.
As you would expect from Renaultsport engineering the Wind feels decidedly footsure and, with standard active safety features including ABS braking, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist and electronic stability control on hand the car delivers huge amounts of fun.
Despite being a little spartan on the inside in entry level Dynamique form, particularly in the lack of cabin storage, the Renault Wind is certainly not a bad looker on the outside, its daringly quirky appearance proving quite a head turner, attracting an audience right on cue at stop offs.
However, quirky it may be but, in all conscience, the car could perhaps have done with a little more pzazz in its make up for, while it does shape up very much out on its own the car could have benefited from having a little more flair to flout.
Renault Wind Roadster 1.6 Dynamique
Mechanical: 131bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 125mph
0-62mph: 9.2 seconds
Combined MPG: 40.9
Insurance Group: 20
C02 emissions: 160g/km
Bik rating: 21%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles
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