The phrase hot hatchback: it conjures images of Volkswagen GTIs, or the even hotter upcoming Ford Focus ST. The builders at General Motors would like to add one more car to that list: it’s the Chevrolet Sonic RS, which was unveiled today at the Detroit Auto Show.
We should say from the start that the Sonic RS doesn’t make any more horsepower than the Sonic it’s based on: the car produces a respectable 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, thanks to the turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-four-cylinder engine from the Sonic LT and LTZ models. Of note: that engine’s exhaust will be sent through a new exhaust system that promises to turn up the sound a bit.
Still, the RS is gifted with a number of go-fast and stop-quick items. The standard six-speed manual transmission is different from the Sonic LT’s economically-minded box, which should equal a bit more pep. When the roads get twisty the RS’ suspension has been fettled and dropped, and when it’s time to slow things down the RS sports four-wheel disc brakes (as opposed to front discs and rear drums).
Inside, the above-average cabin from the stock Sonic gets somewhat of a Camaro-themed makeover, with red contrast stitching, a flat-bottom steering wheel, and plenty of RS emblems.
What’ll all this run you? It's hard to say--General Motors hasn't released formal pricing yet--but the top-spec 2012 Sonic hatchback with the 1.4-liter turbo costs a shade under $19,000, so expect the price to start somewhere around 20 grand. If you’re clamoring to get your hands on a hot Sonic, here’s hoping you can be patient, too: the model will debut as a 2013, some time late this year.