6

The Wind is a little two-seat convertible coupe with a chassis that derives from the old (Mk2) Clio platform, which also underpins the latest Twingo (and in part the Dacia Duster).

Given that summer met an abrupt end last week, forgive me if I write not about how the Renault Wind feels with the roof down, but instead how its Renaultsport-derived chassis copes with British roads.

Pretty well, is the short answer. It’s a versatile old thing, and is testament to how comprehensively developed most recent chassis are; they crash so safely and are so stiff that they can stay in use for longer.

This platform is also smaller and lighter than the one that underpins the latest Clio, so even with the weight of the electric hood mechanism (which wild rain prevents me from flipping back, even though it only takes 12 seconds), you’re looking at a pretty healthy 1173kg kerb weight.

Roof up, there’s no hint that the chassis isn’t as rigid as a regular Twingo, and its suspension set-up is based on that of the old Renaultsport Clio, so it’s agile and crisp, too.

It doesn’t ride supremely, but I wouldn’t expect it to; this is the kind of car that revels in feeling small and keen, so you allow it the odd skip over bumps.

This test variant has the 131bhp 1.6-litre engine from the sporty Twingo. While it produces more torque overall than the alternative 1.2-litre turbo engine, its advantage isn’t great (118lb ft versus 112) and it arrives higher up at 4400rpm (versus 3500rpm). So it’s no wonder you have to wind up the 1.6 for brisk progress.

I’ve got no problem with doing that; the five-speed ’box shifts pretty sweetly, the engine sounds good and the pedal weights are all spot on for quick upshifts and revvy heel-and-toe downshifts.

But I wonder if that’s what buyers of cabrios are really after. When was the last time you saw a Vauxhall Tigra on its door handles?

Perhaps that’s why Renault says the Wind offers something unique: a sporty little two-seat coupé (with surprisingly capacious boot) and a roof that just happens to come off. The Honda CR-X Del Sol or Fiat X1/9 of the modern day, perhaps. That’s fine by us. There are enough boulevardier small convertibles around and they’re mostly dreadful.

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