Though the brand isn't sold in the U.S., Renault is known the world over for its Renault Sport brand and rally-bred hot hatches. The Clio Renault Sport R3 Maxi is one such vehicle, and now the French company has developed a lower-cost Access version to make entry into rally racing even easier.

Powered by a 2.0L F4R RS four-cylinder engine generating 200hp (149kW) and 158lb-ft (214Nm) of torque, the little hatch features many race-specific additions and enhancements to make it suitable for the stresses handed out on the average rally stage. A fully welded roll cage, beefed up suspension components, six-speed gearbox and limited slip differential all make for a very competent asphalt-only rally car.

Other special concessions for racing duty have been made as well: the gearshift is no longer out of the way, but beside the steering wheel for quick access, a special Sabelt safety system taken largely from the higher-end Maxi racing variant, and the stock pedal system has been strengthened to withstand the strain of racing.

The Access can also be upgraded with a range of Premium kits for the chassis, brakes and engine. The end result of this upgrade path is the same specification as the Maxi R3. While the car is far from inexpensive by road-car standards, its entry price of $45,200 (€32,600) in France is very reasonable for a race-ready car. Peugeot estimates the cost of competition to be roughly $37/mi (€17/km).