2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS: Up Close

Amid other hot GM products — namely two shapely Chevrolet concepts and the Cadillac ATS — sat the Sonic RS. The sportier RS should augment the Sonic, a subcompact that's fared well since it went on sale in August 2011, with a dash of extra performance. A few other elements distinguish the car, and if Chevrolet keeps to a modest markup over a top-of-the-line Sonic LTZ hatch — it runs around $18,000 with the turbo four-cylinder — then the RS could find enough customers to survive.

More 2012 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

The Sonic's circular fog lamps match the car's headlights, but the RS' tear-drop fogs lose the similar look. On a budget car, dressing the side mirrors with black caps looks like a downgrade. Lesser trims have body-colored side mirrors; the black ones appear cheaper from afar.

The RS' interior redeems things, with some of the nicest leather seats in the econobox class; it's a far cry from the plasticky leatherette in the Sonic and closer to the premium hides in a Fiat 500.

Available only in the RS, Chevrolet’s 7-inch MyLink touch-screen allows you to stream navigation from a purchased smartphone application. That could make it the cheapest in-dash navigation option out there by a long shot, enabling better integration — and safety — than any handheld device.

The Sonic RS gets the same 138-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder, but unique gearing for the manual transmission and a different final drive ratio for the automatic should help power off the line, which is peppy enough as it is. Throw in rear disc brakes and a sport-tuned suspension and the Sonic RS could match the Ford Fiesta or Honda Fit for go-kart balance. Here's hoping it doesn’t sacrifice the nameplate’s relative refinement in the process.




Black mirror are a downgrade on any car. Yes I'm talking about you BMW and VW and Honda Odyssey.

Amuro Ray

YOU must be losing it, WTF, stating the obvious WITHOUT any point.

Read carefully.

"Lesser trims have body-colored side mirrors; the black ones (for this upgrade model) appear cheaper from afar."

On all other models you mentioned, black ones for lower grade, body color for the higher trims...so your point is?


You need to stop reading in to things.

I don't like black mirrors. They are standard on the Odyssey. They are showing up on European cars like the Beetle R and certain 3-series.

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