From the 1980s through to the latter half of the 2000s, American automakers reluctantly participated in the small car market. Poor build quality, lack of reliability and overall unattractiveness tainted not only the reputation in the small car category but potential first-time car buyers. When Chevrolet committed to replace the Korean-built Aveo with the 2012 Sonic, the bowtie brand immediately asserted the new small vehicle would be an enthusiastic entry.
When the 2010 Paris Motor Show presented the global car media the first conceptual look of the Chevrolet Sonic subcompact, the intent was to condense the performance feeling of the Camaro or Corvette in a smaller package. To sell the sportier ambitions for Chevrolet, the exhibition car was named the Aveo RS Concept. To be presented at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the 2013 Sonic production car will dazzle with ‘RS’ badging in thrilling performance style.
Infused with a similar vibe as the 2011 SEMA Show cars, the Chevrolet Sonic RS is the awaited model observers expected to add some aggression to the subcompact. Offered both as a four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body style, the upcoming Chevrolet Sonic RS trim level ups the youthful appearance ante. The 2013 Sonic RS wears unique bodywork that includes special front and rear fascia as well as side rocker panel moldings. On the front, the 2013 Chevy Sonic RS subcompact’s dynamic-looking fog lamps fixtures shine the roadways. A new exterior colour being introduced for the 2013 Sonic RS (along with other Sonic models) is Black Granite Metallic. The Black Granite Metallic will be one of four colours available with the Chevrolet Sonic’s RS trim level.
Rolling on 17-inch five-spoke wheels, the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS rides on a lowered and more responsive suspension system suited to sporty driving. Backed by electronic handling aids, the 2013 Sonic RS gains a driver confidence with features such as electric power steering, StabiliTrak stability control and electronic brake assist. The RS version of the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic will be the only model to be equipped with four-wheel disc brakes for additional braking prowess with a full anti-lock braking system.
Already powered by a turbocharged engine, Chevrolet saw little need to upgrade the performance beyond what is found on the brand new Sonic. Good for 138 horsepower and a responsive 148 pounds-feet of torque, the Ecotec 1.4 liter displacement engine propelling the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS should be trust-worthy enough for almost 35 miles per gallon fuel economy. One change coming with the availability of the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS is the inclusion of a 6-speed automatic transmission alongside the manual gearbox choice. For the 2012 model year premiere of the Sonic, the only transmission mated with the 1.4 liter turbocharged engine was a 6-speed manual.
With the RS model, the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic reinforces the performance-oriented exterior with a functional but racy cabin. A thicker steering wheel featuring a flat-bottom appearance, aluminum foot pedals and specific graphics on the Sonic’s motorcycle-inspired instrument cluster will be some initial elements defining the RS model. RS-badged sport seating is found for the driver and front passenger who are within reach of standard MyLink infotainment technology. A seven-inch touch screen guides Chevrolet’s new integrated navigation and entertainment system inside the 2013 Sonic RS. Featuring Bluetooth connectivity, smart phones can transmit navigational information and can even allow pictures as well as video to be viewable when the Chevy Sonic RS is at rest. Pandora and Stitcher Internet radio services can also be accessed through the Sonic RS’ MyLink system delivering music selections with cutting-edge technology.
To be built as the Orion Assembly Center alongside other Chevrolet Sonic models, General Motors vice president of Global Chevrolet Marketing Chris Perry said, “The new Chevrolet Sonic RS pushes Chevrolet’s performance heritage in a new direction, for a new generation of drivers”. As Detroit prepares to host the official presentation of the 2013 Sonic RS as a production, it will remain to be seen if this announcement could provoke rival automaker Ford to battle. Part of the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show was a concept car called the Ford Fiesta ST. Could a pint-sized performance war be shaping up in the American small car category?
Information and photo source: General Motors