Renault doesn’t compete in the North American market, but it is a major player in South America, which is where it revealed these two new models that make us wish they’d edge northward. Introduced this weekend at the Buenos Aires Motor Show in Argentina, both of these new additions to the French automaker’s Latin American portfolio are based on models sold as Dacias in other markets, enticing us with their back-to-basics appeal.
First up is the Duster Oroch, a small double-cab pickup version of the Dacia Duster designed to slot in between half-ton and one-ton trucks. The result resembles something along the lines of the VW Amarok or Honda Ridgeline, but in a compact and nimble form. It’s the kind of pickup we wish we could get here – especially for those who need to move small loads around the city.
Equally as enticing is the Sandero RS 2.0. It’s also based on a Dacia – this time the Sandero hatchback – but has been tuned by Renault Sport as the performance division’s first product to be built outside of Europe. Power, as you might have inferred from the nameplate, comes from a 2.0 inline-four, channeling 145 horsepower and 144 pound-feet of torque through an old-school six-speed manual transmission – the likes of which you can’t get in the dual-clutch Clio RS.
The Sandero RS 2.0’s output means it’s not in contention for outright hot-hatch supremacy (that’s what the flaghship Mégane 275 Trophy-R is for, after all), but is said to be enough to propel the little pocket rocket to 62 miles per hour in 8.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 124 mph. It’s also got 17-inch wheels, an enhanced interior, and sport-tuned suspension, steering, and disc brakes.
Unfortunately, the Sandero RS will be limited exclusively to Latin America – which is a bit of a shame, because it looks like it’d be a hoot to drive.