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First look: Renault concept no stand-up comedy act

Out-there: Sand'up show car is aimed at hip young Sao Paulo show-goers.

Renault's Brazilian design house produces its first concept, a "sport-chic" ute

31 Oct 2008

STYLISTS at Renault’s Brazilian design studio have produced the company’s first South American concept car – a vehicle that has been influenced by the country’s big pick-up market and the “sport chic” trend that has become popular with Brazilian youth.

The Renault Sand’up Concept was revealed this week at the Sao Paulo motor show in Brazil and is described as a modular 2+2 coupe that converts into a cabriolet or a pick-up (ute).

It is based on the all-wheel drive Renault Sandero Stepway, which is a derivative of the Sandero five-door hatch that was launched in Brazil and Argentina earlier this month, which was developed by Renault’s Romanian affiliate Dacia and is in turn based on the low-cost Dacia Logan sedan.

Pick-ups are a popular alternative to conventional passenger cars in Brazil and Renault Design America Latina said that Brazilians are particularly interested in what they call “sport chic” vehicles because they express a sporty, urban and young attitude.

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“The purchase of a pick-up vehicle is essentially emotional and irrational in Brazil,” the design studio said. “Customers are mainly drawn by the look of the pick-up.” The Sand’up features an innovative load bed that can extend by 40cm out the back, providing 1.7 metres of load space with the rear seats folded flat and a payload of 500kg, for transporting scooters, jet-skis, bikes and surfboards.

With only two passengers up front, a flexible roof slides down behind the cockpit and over the tray and for four passengers there is a red solid roof that attaches to the vehicle’s distinctive pair of aluminium roof rails. When equipped with this manual hard-top, the Sand’up gets a split tailgate clamshell boot, similar to the Renault Koleos.

The designers say that the Sand’up Concept’s reflective gray paintwork underlines its sophisticated and robust nature while an array of red inserts – which includes an integrated nudge bar at the front and a skid plate pierced by two trapezoidal exhaust pipes at the rear – accentuate its sporty side, as do the 18-inch alloy wheels.

The cabin features two shades of gray contrasting with red seatbacks and aluminum inserts on the air-vents and seats. The front seats include two suitcases built into the seatbacks that can be removed and used as overnight bags.

Passengers enter through gull-wing style doors made entirely of transparent glass that use an electro-hydraulic system similar to that on Laguna Coupé concept.

Other features of the Sand’up include two small cameras on the side replace regular wing mirrors (which display on an LED screen located on the dash next to the GPS) and, of course, the requisite LED tail-lights instead of conventional bulbs.

Power comes from a 16-valve 1.6-litre flex-fuel engine that produces 80kW of power running on petrol, enabling it to accelerate to 100km/h in 10.6 seconds. Running on ethanol, which is the fuel of choice in Brazil, the car develops 84kW and therefore accelerates to 100km/h about one-tenth faster.

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