The northern boundaries of this constituency hug the Clyde River and take in the historic town of Renfrew, the pre-1975 centre of local government for the county of Renfrewshire.
The constituency has within its boundaries Bishopton, home to the now defunct WWII-built Royal Ordnance factory. The land it stood on became the focus of controversy in 2008 when Renfrewshire Council granted planning permission for a housing development. As traditional industries have died in the area, new business has flourished. Renfrew's Braehead on the south of the water is a well-developed commercial enterprise featuring a large shopping centre and leisure facilities. The constituency also has within its boundaries Glasgow Airport.
Labour's Trish Godman was elected to the old Renfrewshire West seat in 1999 and again in 2003 and 2007. The SNP took the constituency with Derek MacKay in 2011, and he went on to be appointed Minister for Transport.