Review: Renault Wind (2010 – 2012)
Stylish two-seater roadster coupe with a roomy cabin, decent bootspace, efficient and economical engines. Roof folds away quickly and neatly.
Poor visibility especially at rear. Slow gearchange. No seat height adjustment. Short model life (in the UK).
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Renault Wind (2010 – 2012): At A Glance
Despite the unpredictable the weather, here in the UK we love our convertibles. Maybe it's the fact that a sunny and warm day is such a rare treat, we like to take full advantage. It's no surprise that there are plenty of drop tops to choose from, but since the demise of cars like the Smart Roadster and Honda CR-X, there have been few small and affordable two-seat roadsters that aren't necessarily all-out sportscars.
That's where the Renault Wind comes in. More stylish and funky than the now discontinued Vauxhall Tigra, it's a stylish and chic coupe-convertible with a solid roof that neatly folds away in just 12 seconds, allowing you to take advantage of open air motoring as often as you want. As well as being great looking from the outside, it's also good inside with a roomy cabin, sporty styling and a good level of standard equipment. Only things like the lack of steering and seat height adjustment are criticisms, as is the poor visibility.
But the Wind makes up for these in other areas. It's enjoyable to drive, well equipped and comfortable too while the two engines in the line-up offer good performance with decent fuel economy. You can choose an economical, low CO2 and low tax 1.2-litre turbocharged petrol TCe with 100bhp, or a much sportier 1.6 VVT with 133bhp that's also used in the Renaultsport Twingo.
In terms of prices, the Wind is cheaper than an equivalent Peugeot 207CC and although it's less powerful and only has two seats (as oppose to the 207CC which claims to have four although the rear two are tiny), it competes well on performance and equipment thanks to its low weight.
What does a Renault Wind (2010 – 2012) cost?Get a finance quote with CarMoney
Renault Wind (2010 – 2012): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 270 litres
As the two-seat Wind doesn't bother with rear passenger space, there's plenty of room for both the driver and passenger, although there's no height adjustment on the seats or reach adjustment in the steering column which taller driver's will find annoying. It can also feel a little gloomy with the roof up due to the thick pillars, high door sides and black roof lining. However, it's comfortable with a reasonably smooth ride for a coupe-convertible (which by their very nature have to be stiffer than a standard car).
It feels well built inside too and although some of the plastics are a little hard rather than soft to touch, it's neatly laid out. Dropping the roof is quick too, although it's not a full automatic system. First you have to turn a handle on the roof, but it's easy enough to do and then just requires the push of a button by the gear lever to retract the roof neatly away. It sits beneath a neat cover and the Wind looks even better with the roof down. Raising or lowering it takes just 12 seconds and the roof mechanism operates smoothly and quietly.
With the roof down the design of the Wind means there's little wind blowing around the cabin at lower speeds. But on dual carriageways and motorways, you're well aware of the lack of roof over your head. And the curious flyscreen contraption between the seat backs, while depriving the mirror of a rear view, does not entirely eliminate buffeting. However, removing the flyscreen creates a vortex that makes the buffeting far worse.
Rather than conventional door handles, the Wind has pull straps on the inside which you can either interpret as in-keeping with the lightweight image, or simply cheap. The sports seats offer good support with their bolstered sides and there are nice touches such as the instruments that are housed under a translucent cowl (either in red or black) designed to echo motorbike styling. The instruments themselves are easy enough to read, although the speedometer could do with being a little clearer as the numbers are quite small.
Standard equipment from launch (July 2010):
Dynamique models have a trip computer, ports seats with extra side support and integrated headrests, 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, cruise control, front fog lights, a 2x20W CD stereo system with an auxiliary input, height adjustable steering, ESC electronic stability control, remote central locking and a tyre inflation kit.
Dynamique S adds 17-inch alloys, a Thatcham Category 1 alarm, automatic headlights and wipers, climate control, a 2x35W CD stereo and Bluetooth
Collection is a limited edition model of just 200 cars and gets carbon-faced leather upholstery, heated seats, gloss black retractable roof, red and chrome dashboard inserts, a leather sports steering wheel and gear knob, aluminium pedals, electrically adjustable heated door mirroes with chrome effect, red door pulls, black carpets with red piping and a chrome effect double cowl roof cover.
Child seats that fit a Renault Wind (2010 – 2012)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the Renault Wind (2010 – 2012) like to drive?
Two engines are available in the Wind and there's an even split in terms of popularity. The entry-level version is the 1.2 TCe 100 - an engine that's used in several other small Renault models including the Clio and Twingo. As the 'T' in the name suggests, it's actually a small turbocharged engined designed to provide good low down performance along with economy. With 100PS on offer it has enough get-up-and-go to make the Wind feel sprightly around town plus it will happily cope at higher speeds, such as motorway driving.
On paper it'll cover 0-62mph in 10.5 seconds but it's not really a 'performance' engine. Rather it delivers its power smoothly and with little fuss. Maximum torque is 152Nm which is more than adequate considering the Wind weighs just a touch more than 1100kg, so it pulls pretty well in gear and is enjoyable to exploit, without sounding coarse or noisy. The turbo also has an overboost function which increases power by 5PS and 6Nm of torque in second, third and fourth gears at speeds above 4500rpm. Renault claims the 1.2-litre can average 44.8mpg while CO2 emissions are 145g/km.
The other engine choice is the 1.6 VVT with 133PS - a naturally aspirated engine that was developed by Renault Sport and is specially tuned to emit a sporty pitch. It's also used in the Renaultsport Twingo which is great fun to drive and it's equally as eager in the Wind. It revs all the way up to 7000rpm and although it gets noisy, it's a sporty sound, rather than a strained engine noise.
It can accelerate from 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds and despite not having that much more torque than the 1.2-litre (160Nm) it feels noticeably more urgent in-gear. The extra performance is most evident at at higher revs where it has that extra bit of poke which is useful for swift overtaking. Economy is still good for the performance with a claimed average of 40.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 165g/km.
The Wind is easy to drive in town thanks to light steering which weights up at quicker speeds. It does feel quite artificial but is nicely weighted and responsive, so tackling tight corners is easy plus there's good front end grip. The biggest gripe is visibility - the Wind is not easy to see out of. You get virtually no over the shoulder view, and with the flyscreen in place you can't see directly behind, so you have to rely solely on the door mirrors. The screen pillars are very thick, too, and the window ledges too high to rest your arms on.
Both cars come with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard (there's no automatic option) and although it has a positive shift, it's not especially slick, so is happier when it's not being rushed. The clutch is a little springy too, although you soon get used to it.
|1.2 TCe||45 mpg||10.5 s||145 g/km|
|1.6 VVT||41 mpg||9.2 s||160 g/km|
Real MPG average for a Renault Wind (2010 – 2012)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
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