Small car performance enthusiasts have been waiting for an RS version of the Chevrolet Cruze. The Cobalt SS was the previous generation performance small car at Chevy, and it actually made substantial inroads into the youth market. Surprisingly (or perhaps not unsurprisingly for those who know GM) that hasn’t been capitalized on.
Ford, on the other hand, is getting ready to launch a hotted-up ST version of the Focus. With the B-segment Sonic though, Chevy has moved quicker in establishing an RS label. The Sonic RS was introduced at the North American International Auto Show in January. Now, eight months later, Chevy has released pricing for the new hatch, which is scheduled to go on sale this fall.
Production begins next month. The car starts at $20,995 – a bit steep for what you get. We wouldn’t exactly call the Sonic RS a powerful hot hatch. While it might look the performance part, under the hood things remain the same. That means the RS is powered by the top-level Sonic’s 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which makes 138 horsepower and 148 pound feet of torque. Peppy, yes – but not exactly the stuff dreams are made of. GM says the RS is a bit quicker though thanks to retuned gear ratios on the six-speed manual transmission. Visually, the RS livens things up with a more aggressive front fascia, spoiler, 17-inch wheels and RS badging.
The suspension has been lowered by 10 millimeters and it features stiffer, sport tuned damping. Inside the RS interior gains a sports steering wheel, red stitching and two bucket leather sports seats. At last year’s Los Angeles International Auto Show, Ford showed off the Fiesta ST. While it hasn’t been officially announced for the United States, it is all-but confirmed. That means the Sonic RS will have (more powerful) cross-town competition before long. Given it’s asking price, it’ll be interesting to see if the Sonic RS gets traction. Any takers?