Chevrolet Sonic RS 2013
NAIAS, year 2010 - Chevrolet showed that they too want to be taken seriously in the hot hatch world with their, then concept, Sonic RS. Well, now that concept is a reality and it will be revealed at the 2012 NAIAS with production starting near the end of the same year. To set itself apart from its standard counterparts, the RS has employed some distinguishing alterations which start at the exterior and reach all the way under the hood.
Available solely with five doors, the Sonic RS is undoubtedly dressed to impress. The front, racing styled fascia is patched on both ends with typical RS inlets which in turn have redesigned fog lights nestled in them. The front grille is also in a specific RS honeycomb design and new rocker moldings are applied as well. At the back new fascia, new spoiler and chromed outlets of the already tuned exhaust system give the Sonic a new character. For an overall look, Chevrolet have put on RS badges here and there along with four conspicuous 17-inch five spoke styled wheels. The paint finishes will be available in Victory Red, Summit White, Cyber Gray Metallic and Black Granite Metallic depending on customer preference.
Inside the RS symptoms continue as we make ourselves comfortable in the black leather sport seats with red stitching all around. A specially designed steering wheel with a thicker rim and a flat bottom feels nice to the touch. Strange and futuristic instrument clusters, which can only be found in the RS, flash back at you. The gear stick is freshly styled while the pedals are made from aluminum.
IT enthusiasts will be glad to know that Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system comes as standard. It is a seven-inch color touch screen radio which can be connected to various smart phones via Bluetooth in order to access Pandora and Stitcher Internet radio. Navigation directions, originally downloaded on the user's smart phones can be displayed on that screen. Other forms of multimedia (like photos and videos) will also be available to display provided that the car is not in motion.
There are high hopes for the RS's performance as this will be the first car in its segment to employ a turbocharged powertrain. It is an Ecotec 1.4l engine that develops 138 units of horsepower (103 kW) and 148 lb.-ft. of torque (200 Nm). Chevrolet say this power will be available trough the whole range of the rev. counter so even at low rounds per minute the sporty presence should be preserved. The gearbox is be a six-speed manual which comes as standard while a six-speed automatic is optional.
There are some technological advances dedicated to handle the newfound power as well. The front wheels are attached to a MacPherson strut suspension with coil springs and a stabilizer bar while at the back we have a semi-independent, torsion beam axle-mount compound, link-type rear suspension – including a robust, tubular V-shape beam – with gas-charged shocks. Both, the front track and the back one are identical when it comes to width - 59.4 inches (1,509 mm) aimed to achieve a good planted stance and stability. Being an RS version, the car also has a set of four disk brakes complete with a four channel ABS system. It also has a clever nervous system in the form of four load sensors (one on each wheel) which take into account the road conditions and the weight of passengers and cargo so that the braking force is distributed more evenly and efficiently.
All and all it has been a long wait and now we'll have to wait even more to see if it was worth it.