"The Renault Wind is good to drive, has lots of standard equipment and is inexpensive. It's a cheap and very cheerful convertible."
The Renault Wind is one of the smallest convertibles on sale, and is strictly a two-seater. But what it lacks in size it makes up for in character, as the pretty exterior and responsive handling make it very appealing. The Wind is also one of the most affordable cabriolets around, undercutting the majority of its rivals with its generous standard equipment and low list prices. The only let down is the interior, which feels quite cheap.
There are two petrol engines offered: a 1.2-litre turbocharged TCe engine with 99bhp and a 1.6-litre 131bhp engine. The smaller engine actually suits the Wind better than the larger one, as it makes for an easier drive, despite being less powerful. The 1.6 needs to be worked hard to get the Renault moving, and you’ll find yourself revving it to the high heavens on the open road. The Wind is fun to drive though, with light, accurate steering and plenty of grip.
The Renault Wind's body shakes as it travels over bumps at low speed, but that's not uncommon in a small convertible. The Wind comes with 16-inch alloy wheels as standard, and it's best to stick with these if you want to it to be comfortable rather than sporty, as the Wind gets a bit bumpy on the optional 17-inch versions. The steering wheel doesn't adjust for reach, which means it can be difficult for taller drivers to find a comfortable driving position. Wind noise isn't too bad with the roof down, and it's easy enough to hold a conversation on the motorway.
Renault is proud of its high safety standards, and the Wind is no exception. It comes with twin front and side airbags, electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes and various other driving aids. All models offer an engine immobiliser and deadlocks. The stumbling point is the Wind's interior, which is made of cheap materials. Renault's reliability hasn't been brilliant in the past, but the Wind is one of its newer cars, so it should be better than models of old. The company finished 22nd out of 27 manufacturers in the 2010 JD Power Customer Satisfaction survey.
The Wind is much more practical than many other small convertibles, as Renault has cleverly ensured that boot space isn't diminished when the roof is down - which is often the case with convertibles. There's a permanent 270 litres of space available, which puts larger rivals to shame. The roof itself folds in only 12 seconds at the press of a button and sits on top of the boot. Entry-level Dynamique models require the driver to lock the roof into place manually, but that's the only effort required. The Wind's only practicality downside is the fact that it's a strict two-seater.
Value for money
The Wind is cheaper to buy than almost all of its rivals. Only the MINI Convertible is cheaper in entry-level One guise. However, the MINI has nowhere near as much standard equipment as the Wind, so it's the Renault that represents better value. The entry-level Dynamique model features 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, electric mirrors, front foglights, a CD/MP3 stereo and more. It's tricky to tell what resale values will be like as the Wind is so new, but as with all convertibles, the second-hand price will be affected by the time of year the car is sold. Cabriolets are generally worth more in the summer than they are in the winter.
The Renault Wind isn’t expensive to run, as the 1.2-litre TCe version will do 44.8mpg and has emissions of 145g/km, which means Road Tax costs are reasonable. The 1.6 is pricier, but not by a huge amount - it returns 40.3mpg and the emissions are 165g/km, so annual Road Tax costs around £50 more.