Car Review: Renault - Wind  Series 10 (3 stars)

The Renault Wind is a cute and engaging little roadster, but doesn't offer many driving thrills.

You might occasionally sit at traffic lights in your Renault Twingo and wistfully dream of how great life would be if your roof wasn't there - in which case Renault has built the perfect car just for you. The obvious comparison with the Wind on paper is the Mazda MX-5, but that would be unfair on both motors - no, the Wind is aimed squarely at the likes of the Mini Convertible and the Fiat 500C.

Aimed at younger drivers, the car is intended to represent fun summer motoring on a budget. There are just two engines and three trim levels available with the Wind, keeping costs down. Value for money is hurt at the bottom of the scale by a lack of equipment, but buying a car with a better specification should leave you happy.

The centre of the Wind's appeal is its funky, ingenious roof. It's a metal number that rotates into a panel at the back of the car in a mere 12 seconds. You can't operate it whilst on the move, unfortunately, but it does give the car some technological appeal over a soft-top with a boring folding fabric roof.

The Wind is amusing on the move, but doesn't feel geared towards exuberant driving - it handles well, but the large steering wheel doesn't scream sportiness and the engines are a little underpowered for anything too fancy. Nor does it have any particularly luxurious aspirations - the cabin is solidly put together, but the plastics feel cheap and hollow to the touch.

There are 1.6-litre and 1.2-litre petrol engines on offer with the small car, of which we think the 1.2-litre unit is the better bet. The 1.6 knocks a second or so off the other engine's 0-62mph time, but doesn't have much to recommend itself other than that. The entry-level motor feels much better suited to the Wind's laid back character.

It's the brakes that take a bit of getting used to, with a cigarette paper difference in travel between barely noticeable and leaving your nose print on the windscreen. One of the Wind's greatest positive points compared to rivals is its boot, which is capacious and unaffected by roof position. The cabin does suffer from a lack of storage though.

The Wind is much more for posers than drivers, but it is an interesting addition to the market and will surely gain a loyal following.

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