MARCH I know has been unusually warm, great for gardeners and those who might happen to own a convertible or indeed a car with a folding hard top such as in Renault’s quirky model the Wind.
Road Tested by Hugh Maguire
Full marks to Renault for designing a small car with an innovative design that manages to incorporate a hard top folding roof with a decent boot, two seats and a pokey 1.2 litre turbocharged petrol engine. With funky detailing using the famous Gordini name, it all sounds pretty good.
The Wind is based on the platform of the little Twingo and is a really small two seat convertible. I suppose it is hard to find a rival in terms of its compact size but buyers looking at this might also consider a car like the much less quirky Mazda MX-5.
What a strange style! It looks ok head on but from the side and rear it is positively odd looking. Any way decide for yourself from the pictures but I frankly could not give it great praise for the style and shape.
Behind The Wheel
Things get better inside. Two superb “Gordini” sports seats cosset the driver and passenger. The leather clad steering wheel feels good and the blue “Gordini” aluminium gear knob adds to the sporty theme. The leather blue and white door straps copy those used in race or rally cars for weight saving purposes. Goodies are plentiful with 17 inch Blue and silver wheels (not to everyone’s taste and you’re getting the idea ... Blue is a big part of the theme here), cruise control, air conditioning, heated seats, stereo with Aux port, steering wheel remote controls for the audio system, automatic headlights and wipers, trip computer, all the usual safety features with airbags, ABS and so forth including ESP.
Powered by a 1.2 litre 100 bhp turbocharged petrol engine, the little Wind is no slouch. Mated to a 5-speed gearbox the combination works quite well. Emissions are 145g/km putting into into category C for road tax.
Over my week behind the wheel the Wind returned an average of 33mpg in old money! Range is not great due to the small petrol tank at just around 260 miles between refuels.
The Wind rides and handles pretty well. It is rather noisy inside though with quite alot of ambient noise at even moderate speeds. This little two seater is nimble and compact on the road, but rear visibility is very poor making it an exercise in good judgement to park in tight spots. That is a pity as this car is likely to spend much of its time in cites. The retractable hard top is opened by manually unlocking the roof catch and then holding the switch that allows the roof to cleverly stow in about 13 seconds. The car must be stationary with the handbrake on to do this. A nice touch is that the decent boot space remains the same even with the roof retracted. Oh and it has a spare wheel too!
The Renault Wind is not a bad little car. It is just rather odd looking and at €26,990 and the category C road tax this car will have very limited appeal in current Irish car market. Nevertheless if you’re looking for something that is indeed a little different then the Renault Gordini Wind may be just the car for you.