Performance Dacia Sandero hatchback in development

Dacia Sandero

Dacia may have made a name for itself offering utilitarian vehicles at bargain-basement prices, but that hasn't tempered the Romanian brand's performance ambitions. Dacia has confirmed to Autocar that a hot version of its entry-level Sandero hatchback is already in the works.

Development work is being undertaken by Dacia's parent company Renault, whose performance wing Renaultsport is keen to see a fiery version of the normally underpowered Sandero take shape, as it would aid the division's growth in developing markets such as Brazil and Russia.

As the Sandero is sold under the Renault brand in these markets, any potential model would likely wear the marque's performance 'RS' badging. As such it is unlikely that the new car would be offered in the UK.

Renaultsport boss Patrice Ratti also confirmed that its engine would not be taken from the current line-up, though it wouldn't need to be much more powerful to make the Sandero a hot-hatch.

"A Sandero is lighter than a Clio, so you don't need that much power," he told Autocar. The most powerful Sandero currently made develops 101bhp from a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol motor. It too is unavailable in the UK

Eventually a performance version of the Sandero would act as an entry point to the Renaultsport range, sitting beneath the Clio RS 200, and potentially underneath a hot version of the brand-new Twingo. A performance iteration of Renault's new crossover, the Captur, is also being considered.