By Carl Malek
Until yesterday, it was unclear when the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS would make its official debut. However, Chevrolet decided to give budget-minded enthusiasts an early Christmas present by unveiling the new performance-oriented model ahead of its official debut at next month’s NAIAS.
To help make the RS model stand out from its more mainstream Sonic siblings, General Motors has added several styling tweaks to the Sonic RS which include a new front and rear fascia, reworked rocker moldings, RS-exclusive 17 inch wheels, a reworked exhaust system with dual chrome tips, as well as a specially stiffened sport tuned suspension to help sharpen up the cars ride and handling characteristics. Based on the images provided by the company, it appears that the Sonic RS will be only available in hatchback form with no sedan version in the cards as of this writing.
Providing the momentum for the new hot hatch is the same 138 horsepower 1.4 liter turbocharged four cylinder engine that also sees duty not only in the up level Sonic models but also in the larger Chevrolet Cruze. All 138 horses are routed to the front wheels through either a standard six speed manual transmission or an optional six speed automatic gearbox. General Motors claims that both transmissions feature revised gearing which is designed to be much more aggressive and closer in ratio than the gearboxes fitted to other Sonic models; this should spice up performance numbers a bit. When it comes time to bring the car to a stop, the Sonic RS will be the only model in the Sonic range equipped with four wheel disc brakes.
The interior of the Sonic RS has been given a performance makeover as well, and will feature items such as a thicker flat bottomed steering wheel, special front sport seats, a new shifter knob design for manual versions, RS exclusive instrument panel graphics, aluminum sport pedals, and special RS only interior colors for the door panel trim and instrument panel inserts. In addition to these sporting bits, Chevrolet has also loaded the interior with the latest technology the brand has to offer which includes the Chevrolet MyLink system. In addition to providing the driver with a navigation screen, MyLink also gives the radio the ability to allow iPod integration, Bluetooth streaming, and access to Pandora and Stitcher Radio.
Look for more details such as final pricing and performance numbers to be unveiled when the 2013 Sonic RS officially hits the stage at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in January with sales possibly beginning sometime in late 2012.