At last year's Detroit Auto Show, Chevrolet pulled the sheet off its Aveo RS concept. Since then, the Aveo line has been renamed Sonic, but the RS treatment appears to be moving forward, adding a bit of heat to the small hatch.

The heat doesn't come in the form of power, however: it's equipped with the same 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, rated at 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, that's available as an option in the standard Sonic. What it does get is a meaner, more aggressive body kit (much like the Aveo RS), and possibly a tweaked suspension for better handling, according to GM Inside News.

As yet, the Sonic RS hasn't been positively confirmed, however: Chevy told GMI only that the Sonic would make a good platform for "performance variants." If built, the Sonic RS could arrive by late 2012.

Given the power output, you might be wondering where the market is for the Sonic RS--there are many hot hatches that offer more performance.

But in light of the $14,995 starting price of the base Sonic, it could make an argument as a true budget hot-hatch. And that 1.4-liter turbo certainly feels stronger than it rates. Our experience with the engine in the Cruze Eco has us looking foward to the Sonic RS, if it does come.

[GM Inside News]