Ginger hair, NHS specs and buck teeth. That’s what the Renault Wind would be blessed with on its first day at school. Such an easy car to bully.
Mocked for having a hunched back. Teased for its ridiculously flatulent name. Giggled at for its piddly 1.2 or 1.6 petrol engines. But, much like the best victims of bullying, the Wind has a few tricks that help fend off the cussing and let it start pulling punches of its own.
For a start, the roof is brilliant. Like the Ferrari Superamerica, it’s a one-piece flip top that hinges at the back window – in 12 seconds it emerges from under its cover on top of the boot, swings over the seats and attaches to the windscreen. You’ve got to close the final latch yourself, but unlike every other folding hard top, the roof doesn’t bulge into the boot when it’s down. Smart, quick and practical… easily outsmarts the bullies.
It’s even better when you drive it. The Wind uses RenaultSport Twingo running gear, which in turn means it shares a lot of bushes, bolts and funlinks with the goosebumpingly lovely Clio 182. Roof up, there’s no noticeable body shimmy – just massive clumps of grip, a tweakable rear end and a snuffly front. It’s the most chuckable front wheel drive convertible I’ve ever driven.
There’s some scuttle wobble with the roof down, and the steering’s not the most granular, but it wazzes in the eyes of Tigras, 207CCs and other such drivel wagons. A ninja’s roundhouse kick to the teasing fatties.
Starting at £15,500, the Wind is cheaper than its comparatively terrible rivals too. It’s worth paying a grand extra to upgrade from a 100bhp 1.2 to the ferociously revvy 133bhp 1.6 from the Twingo Cup, but matching its performance in a 207CC would cost another two grand on top. And the Peugeot drives like a soggy tissue in comparison.
So… any reasons to tease the Wind at all? Well yes. The interior is made of melted down Smartie lids. You can’t see anything over your shoulder. And no matter how hard you press the clutch, the gearbox occasionally snags its cogs. But that’s it.
If tedious twazbags hadn’t started referring to everything from eating a Wispa to watching Wheeler Dealers as a guilty pleasure, then that’s what I’d call the Wind. But I won’t. It might be an unusual car to like, but it’s not going to make you feel as guilty or happy as snorting cocaine off a French prostitute’s left breast. Although it could probably go topless in about the same time as her.
The moral of the story? Don’t be a bully. Or you’ll be attacked by a ferocious little fart.