Why the Renault Sandero RS will save cheap hot hatches in brazil
Cheap hot hatches in brazil are dying, but the launch of the sandero rs may change this course, here's why...
The Puma GT Malzoni won 5 races
Since the introduction and first development in the automotive industry, Brazil has developed sports cars. Puma, for example, was a company first developed for motorsport, after its success on the track, Rino Malzoni launched the car for the road.
In the 80's, car companies started to develop sport versions of it's entry-level cars, usually hatchbacks, this can be described as the European Hot Hatch wave getting to Brazil, since every trends in that time tended to took more than a year to arrive. The Fiat Oggi CSS and the Volkswagen Gol GT are two products that represent this movement in the automotive industry. The Fiat was the sedan version of the 127-based Fiat 147, and it was the first racing homologated car made in Brazil, only 300 were made. The Volkswagen Gol GT was VW of Brazil response to the Ford Escort XR3 and the Chevrolet Monza S/R, but unlike the other two, the Gol was developed only in Brazil.
The 90's saw what can be described as the best era for hot hatchbacks. Each of the big 4 companies went through its own way to innovate. The Volkswagen Gol GTi was first car with electronic injection in Brazil, launched in 1989. Its evolution got to it's peak with the Gol GTI 16v that debuted 141 cv, 178Nm and managed to change it's top speed from 185 to 203,2km/h, according to a test conducted by QuatroRodas. Fiat considered the 1.6L engine still too weak for the Uno, so they fitted the 1.4L turbocharged from the European Turbo to offer the first car made in Brazil equipped with a Turbo. Ford offered the first car with electronic suspension in the Escort XR3 Fórmula, which got this name for its allusion to the recent F1 cars with electronic suspension. Chevrolet was the only one who offered a product that was the same offered in Europe, with the Corsa GSi.
Although in the medium segment be full of interesting hot hatches, the entry level of the 00's for hot hatches in Brazil started to decline. Volkswagen stopped selling the GTI due to low sales and it's confusing configuration system, since a entry level Gol could have the same level of equipment of the GTI. Fiat didn't replace the Uno up until the introduction of the Palio 1.8R, but even so, it had the same suspension and powertrain of the comfort based HLX. Ford on the other hand, gave us the Ford Ka XR that used a 1.6, this meant that we had the most powerful Ka in the world at the time. Shorter gear ratio, a functional aero that improved top speed by 7km/h and new exhaust system were also on the package.
Although looking good on appearance, entry level cars are not offering sport versions with the performance desired from a hot hatch. The Ka got fatter, the Volkswagen SpeedUp has the same suspension of the regular Up and although the Uno has a short gear ratio and lowered suspension, it is too weak to offer the desired performance of a hot hatchback.
The Sandero RS was unveiled at the 2015 Buenos Aires Motorshow. It was the development of 2 years between Renault Latin America and RenaultSport. It has received new suspension, new braking system and the 2.0L F4R engine that debuts 150cv and 209Nm of torque when fuelled with Ethanol. This makes the Sandero RS the best entry level hot hatch of the Brazilian market, since it joins the more powerful performance with the hot hatch handling.
With the launch of the 208 GT in response and the development of the Gol GT Concept, the industry tends to create more sporty versions of its entry level cars, with more hot hatch feeling rather than only sporty looks.