Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Quirky - but More Pizzazz Is Needed

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Quirky - but More Pizzazz Is Needed

Article excerpt

Byline: Malcolm Robertshaw

IN similar fashion to Bob Dylan, Renault discovered that the answer was blowing in the wind when seeking a name for its new roadster.

This good-looking two-seater from the French car giant arrived on the UK scene last September since when the Renault Wind has proved a pretty sharp little mover.

Traditionally Renault has established a heritage of well-established excellence in building small cars endowed with some decidedly sporting character and Wind, a name which first emerged in a concept car at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, looks well set to do it justice.

The rush to affordable coupe cabrios kicked off in 2001 with Peugeot's 206CC followed by its more upmarket stablemate the 207CC.

However, wind in your hair driving can come at a price, normal folding soft and hard tops being vulnerable to outside interference while providing little boot space with top stowed or not.

However, roof up or down, the Renault Wind roadster offers the same area of luggage space provided by its Clio stablemate.

Following a simple unlatching of the roof before a 12-second press of the electric switch for it to pivot on its axis and fold into the boot lid, it leaves some 270 litres of stowage space available.

Despite weighing in at only around onefifth of the weight for conventional hard tops, closing what can be quite a heavy boot lid may prove cumbersome, so Renault engineers ensured that the boot lid operates with gas strut assistance.

Nevertheless, lack of visibility through the pill box-like rear window means you definitely require the use of the door mirrors.

Sitting between Renault's Twingo and Clio in the model line-up, the Wind is blessed with a nimble chassis that benefits from a classleading balance of weight and structural rigidity. Compact and stylish, this Renault newcomer can swiftly switch to a wind-in-thehair, sporty performer, being the sharpest in its class to both open and close its roof. …

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