By Patrick James on 2011-10-30 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Renault Wind 1.2 TCe
IT'S a brave move to name a car Wind, if you know what I mean. But the name does conjure up an image of what this car is all about.
Renault's two-seater open top roadster certainly allows you to get the wind in your hair and is an ingenious addition to the open-top community.
Gone are days of pulling your hair out trying to figure out how the roof folds. The steel contraption on the Wind twists 180 degrees to folds away in around 12 seconds into a cleverly-disguised compartment above the boot lid.
Consequently this frees up the kind of stowage space rarely seen in a two seater with a 270-litre boot capable of holding at least two medium sized suitcases are a quite a few bags of shopping.
It certainly makes the distinctively-shaped Wind a more practical choice for a couple, with a choice of 1.2-litre and 1.6-litre petrol engines that are both powerful and economical.
All versions claim average fuel consumption in excess of 40mpg, while CO2 emissions are low.
The styling certainly divided opinion sharply with an almost wedge-shape, thanks to its steeply raked bonnet and high waistline.
I have liked the design since I first saw it 12 months ago, but others were not so sure, particularly with the striking blue Gordini livery.
In profile, Wind Roadster catches the eye with its sporty lines and steeply raked bonnet, while the rear's distinctive wing forms part of the boot lid and there are striking boomerang-shaped rear lights.
The interior had few detractors, feeling well built with high-quality supportive, fully adjustable sports seats with integrated head rests. It felt as good as a much more expensive German roadster tested earlier.
The Gordini influence is everywhere Gordini fabric door straps and mats, leather steering wheel with racing stripes, and the blue and dark grey leather seats with embossed logo.
Other equipment includes an impressive sound system with single CD MP3 reader and fingertip remote control, plus Bluetooth and USB connectivity, automatic headlights and wipers, climate control and see me home headlamps. Instrumentation and dials are bold and clear and switchgear feels robust.
With all this equipment, it is a shame you have to stump up an extra £200 for the wind deflector.
The car uses the same platform as Clio II Renaultsport so you wold expect it to be sporty and are unlikely to be disappointed.
The car handles well and feels taut and agile on corners handling long sweeping corners with ease.
The 1.2-litre turbocharged engine is a smooth-revving unit, but despite its sporty appearance performance is decent, if unexciting. However it still propels the car from 0-60mph in respectable 10.5 seconds via a smooth five-speed manual transmission.
The big bonus is fuel consumption, with 44.8mpg claimed. Add to this low CO2 emissions of 145g/km and you have a motor that looks good, is practical and is economical to run - almost a perfect combination in times of high fuel and running costs.
Best of all, its great fun to drive and with a starting price of just won't break the bank.
Renault Wind 1.2 TCe 100 Gordini
Mechanical: 100bhp, 1,149cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 118mph
Combined MPG: 44.8
Insurance Group: 15
C02 emissions: 145g/km
Bik rating: 19%
Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles
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