Thanks to James May, we now have a Sandero that we would love, yet we can't
Great news! There is now a Sandero R.S. 2.0!
Great, moving on...
Surely everybody here would remember that James May, back in the days of old Top Gear, loved to announce that something new from Dacia has been unveiled. He sounded super enthusiastic and Jeremy would just move on nonetheless.
This however, is not a Dacia as you can see. This is a Renault. However, in truth, they are under the same umbrella so all is fine. This is the Sandero R.S 2.0, which sounds very racy and extremely exciting. Because it is.
Under the bonnet, there is a 2-litre engine naturally aspirated engine mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox. The car is every ounce as sporty as a hot-hatch should be. And because it's not a mega-hatch, and because it hasn't got a flappy-pedal gearbox like the Clio RS, this is one of the rare cheap hot hatch that relives the olden days of hot-hatches, much like the Up! GTi.
As you might think, this Sandero has been overhauled by the Renault Sport department - the same company that did the Renault F1 cars. Therefore it has received the full treatment, 4-wheel disc brakes, electric power steering, hardened and lowered suspension setup. The boffins at Renault Sports also tuned the ESC system in the car, which means there are now three settings to be choosed from - standard, sport and racing. But none of those can match the most important improvement of all, some racing stripes down the body of the car.
If we move swiftly to the inside of the car, you'll find that there is a 7-inch touchscreen, aluminium pedals, a proper handbrake and some body-hugging bucket seats that holds you tight so that you can have oodles of fun round the twisty mountain roads. Best bit of all, that stripe on the body, is carried over onto the seats. Nice.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the car is what powers it. Renault are super proud to say that this car can be run on ethanol, which means if you fancy a bit of extra power, the motor can tune itself to put out 150bhp, which pulls the car from 0-60 in under 8 seconds, onwards to a top speed of 125mph.
Unfortunately, the Sandero R.S. 2.0 is only available in Latin America. However, this might be a missed opportunity for Renault - you see there aren't many hot hatches that are so-called 'under-powered' these days, the Clio has well over 200bhp, so does the Golf GTi and the likes.
Then there's the Up! GTi and the Twingo, which weren't exactly 'hot hatches', more like 'warm hatches'. This fills in the hole in the market beautifully. And honestly, who wouldn't want a Sandero in their garage right?