General Motors will enter the hot hatch ranks in 2012 with the launch of this new Chevrolet Sonic RS. The model has made its debut at the Detroit motor show, but GM has yet to officially confirm whether the model will make it the UK as a Chevrolet Aveo RS.
A company source said if a decision was taken to launch the car in the UK, its likely on sale date would be 2013. Such a car could find its niche in the UK, given the popularity of hot hatches. It would line-up alongside cooking versions of the Renault Clio and Ford Fiesta.
Powering the five-door Sonic RS is a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine producing 132bhp and 138lb ft. Transmission options include a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic, although GM has revealed no performance figures for either set-up.
Distinguishing the Sonic RS over its more humble siblings is a series of muscular styling upgrades. These include a front-end with a unique grille, fog lights and extra air intakes. At the rear, there’s a new spoiler and bumper and twin chrome tips for the sports exhaust system. The car rides on 17in alloys.
GM has also given the chassis an overhaul, lowering and stiffening the suspension and fitting performance-tuned dampers. Four wheel disc brakes are standard.
An overhaul for the interior brings new front sports seats, a new flat-bottomed sports steering wheel, a new gear knob, aluminium pedals, a new instrument panel and special RS trim. MyLink infotainment system is fitted as standard and can play music streamed through a smartphone.
The standard Sonic has proved popular with young buyers; around 16,000 units have sold in three months and the company is struggling to meet demand. Mark Reuss, GM Vice President said the Sonic RS "pushes Chevrolet in a new direction for young buyers. I'm very excited about it."