Sonic To Get RS Treatment
Chevrolet's 'hot hatch' concept from 2010 will likely get produced.
June 20, 2011
By: Nick Saporito
During last year's North American International Auto Show in Detroit Chevrolet took the wraps off of the Aveo RS Concept. The "hot hatch" concept was intended as a design preview of Chevrolet's next generation global B-segment player, but garnered much fanfare for its aggressive design and proposed performance credentials. According to GMI's sources familiar with GM's small car plans, the Aveo RS Concept will survive the name change to Sonic and will likely end up in showrooms next year.
Like the Aveo RS Concept, the Sonic RS is expected to be powered by GM's Ecotec 1.4-liter turbo, making 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. On the outside, expect the RS to resemble the Aveo RS Concept as well, including a more aggressive (if that is possible) lower air dam, fog lamps and perhaps even a body kit. Mechanically, expect some minor tweaks as well, mostly to the car's suspension and larger brakes all around.
The pushing of the performance envelop with the Sonic does not come as a large surprise. In Chevrolet's own press release announcing the Sonic earlier this year the bow-tie brand touted that the normal Sonic's suspension was tuned by "Corvette engineers." That, among other marketing hints, has suggested that GM plans to position the Sonic as a very youthful, performance oriented sub-compact.
While Chevrolet held back from a total confirmation of the Sonic RS' existence, it was made clear to GMI that the Sonic is a foundation for future performance, niche variants of the car. Chevrolet spokesperson Cristi Vazquez stated, "The Chevrolet Sonic with an available 1.4L turbo engine and sporty ride and handling has a strong foundation for performance variants. We have nothing to announce at this time."
GMI expects the Sonic RS to go into production in the October 2012 time frame as a 2013 model in both hatchback and sedan forms.
The normal Sonic will also sport the 1.4-liter turbo as a cost-option. At launch the 1.4-liter will only be available with a six-speed manual transmission, however GM has promised the addition of a six-speed automatic mated to the 1.4-liter turbo mill in the first quarter of 2012. When equipped with the 1.4-liter turbo, the Sonic is expected to wear a 40 MPG highway rating.
Chevrolet announced pricing for the all-new Sonic late last week. The Sonic LS sedan will have a base price of $14,495 when it arrives in dealerships late summer or early fall.