Never a company to stand still, Renault has plenty to talk about. Editor of wheelworldreviews, DAVID HOOPER, looks at some of the latest models.
DRIVING an open-topped car around the beautiful Yorkshire Dales is never too much of a chore, but when I got wind of some new models to try, I couldn’t resist.
Yes, believe it or not, it’s official – Renault has got Wind.
Renault has got wind of what?, you might ask. Not a gust, or a breeze, just Wind. They have got “a” Wind to be precise. And I’ve driven it.
It’s the French carmaker’s latest new model – it really is called Wind, and the company representatives I spoke to have heard just about every pun you can think of during its regional tour of the UK.
So surely, I asked, this must be one of those names which means something completely different in French, and has been lost in translation? Nope, came the reply – it was actually christened Wind by a British bloke. With a sense of humour.
But mock all you like – this is one car that actually does what it says on the tin – top! For you see, the Wind, is a convertible car, with a cleverly designed, one-piece roof that does a 180 degree back-flip a Commonwealth Games gymnast would be proud of to throw itself backwards into the gaping boot, the lid of which has pivoted itself backwards to make room.
Up front, you are left with a two-seater, which actually looks a bit different to anything else on the market, is surprisingly good to drive and could be sitting on your driveway without causing a financial storm.
Prices start from £15,500 for the 1.2-litre model, while the 1.6-engined model I drove, starts from £16,400.
Inside the car, with the targa-style roof folded away, there is more of a breeze in your hair than a full-blown Wind, even at 60mph, and during my brief photo stop in the lovely village of Grassington, it certainly made a few heads do a good impression of a twister.
Another little cracker from Renaultsport which is certain to go down a storm with younger buyers, is the latest version of the Twingo, which now boasts the Gordini name, a name which will be remembered fondly by people of a certain age. Finished in a pretty Malta blue colour with racing white stripes, a theme continued inside the car, on the leather wrapped steering wheel, with the top of the gear knob featuring a Gordini logo.
It’s basically the same as the Renaultsport Twingo mechanically, but with a bit more bling to make it stand out from the crowd.
It’s lively, naturally aspirated 1.6-litre 133bhp engine is great fun to drive. It sits at the top of the Twingo range and costs £14,500, but you’d better breeze along to your dealer if you want one – only 200, individually numbered cars are coming to the UK, so you don’t want to blow it.
If something a little less obvious is more your thing, then the Megane GT dCi160 will be just the thing. Stylishly sporty 18in GT wheels may give the game away, but other than that, there is little to denote the Renaultsport underpinnings of this model. The potent diesel will whip it up to 62mph in 8.5 seconds and on to a potential 133mph top speed, while returning a combined average fuel consumption of 47.8mpg.
At £25,510, it’s a bit dear, but it looks good, is great to drive, and comes with embroidered front headrests and GT kick plates as standard.
As always, Renault has a lot to talk about, and its current range, in my opinion, features some of the most attractive cars on the market today.
Perhaps it’s time you brushed up on your French lessons.