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2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS

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What's New
General Motors is hitting the subcompact car market dominated by its Japanese rivals with not one, but two vehicles: the 2012 Chevrolet Spark and the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic. The 2012 Chevy Sonic is a class-competitive vehicle in every way and replaces the long-in-the-tooth Chevrolet Aveo. Chevrolet hinted at various press events, though, that the Sonic would herald a slew of models all aimed to fill the growing subcompact market. Now Chevrolet follows up on that promise for a sportier model with the 2013 Chevy Sonic RS, releasing a handful of details of the hot hatch ahead of its debut at the Detroit Auto Show.

Who It's For
GM aims the standard Chevrolet Sonic against the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit, and Nissan Versa hatchbacks, which all offering plenty of cargo space but the small footprint and fuel economy of a subcompact vehicle. The 2013 Chevy Sonic RS, though, reflects the brand's SS racing heritage. It builds on the Sonic's global chassis and targets fans looking for a sporty ride but without sacrificing the comfort and conveniences of the standard Chevrolet Sonic.

Key Features
The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS comes standard with the potent 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine which is also available on the Sonic LT and LTZ models. The Sonic RS also comes with an exclusive six-speed manual transmission, as well as a six-speed automatic. By contrast, the standard Chevy Sonic is offered with either standard five-speed manual as well as well as the above automatic.

Other features exclusive to the Chevrolet Sonic RS include:

  • Exterior and interior badging
  • Revised front grill and redesigned headlamps
  • Exclusive 17-inch wheels
  • Sports-tuned suspension

What We Think
With automakers promoting the fuel efficacy of their vehicles lineup, the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS aims at car enthusiasts, harkening back to the days when "pocket rockets" zipped Americans streets. We forecast decent, not spectacular, sales for the Chevy Sonic RS, drawing buyers primarily looking for a subcompact that's just a little different from the rest of the pack.

Back to Auto Show Coverage: Detroit 2012