The aggressive looking hatchback is the latest addition in GM’s new small car onslaught and the good news is that this particular hot hatch has the performance to match its looks.
Under the hood sits the same 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque 1.4-liter turbo four already found in the Sonic lineup, and this is matched to a standard six-speed manual transmission (a six-speed auto is optional) with unique gear ratios.
Helping to make the most of the front-wheel drive power is a MacPherson strut front suspension with coil springs and stabilizer bar, a semi-independent torsion beam axle-mount compound link-type rear suspension, and gas-charged shocks. The front and rear tracks are identical at 59.4 inches.
The Sonic RS is offered exclusively in the five-door body style and comes with Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system as standard. It also gets a custom bodykit, new RS-specific grille, 17-inch wheels, aluminum pedals and sports seats.
Stopping power comes from disc brakes at all corners, which include ABS and electronic brake force distribution. Electric power steering is also standard, though we’ll have to wait until our first drive of the Sonic RS to tell you whether this is a good thing or not. Also, 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 eagerly awaiting its arrival.
The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS will hit showrooms late next year but we’ll be bringing you all the live photos and details from its debut at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show, press days for which commence on January 9. In the meantime click here for our ongoing coverage of the event.