Historically, an “RS” badge applied to a Chevrolet meant upgraded cosmetics, not mechanicals. That’s largely the case for the new 2013 Chevy Sonic RS, a “performance-inspired” new version of the Sonic 5-door hatchback that looks good and offers an extra dose of fun-to-drive.
The Sonic debuted last year to accolades from the media and from owners, who told J.D. Power and Associates that the diminutive new Chevy was the most appealing model in its class. The Sonic, built right here in the good old U. S. of A., replaced the drab Aveo in Chevy’s lineup, serving as the company’s entry-level model until the new Spark arrived for 2013. Once the Sonic arrived in showrooms, Chevrolet shot from last place to key contender in the sub-compact car market.
The Sonic offers the same engines as the larger and heavier Chevy Cruze, and provides its young, perpetually “connected” target owner base with available Chevy MyLink technology, which helps them to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel. Top-notch crash-test ratings help to protect those youthful, relatively inexperienced drivers against injury in a collision.
Key competitors include the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Mazda 2, Nissan Versa, and Toyota Yaris. Among these models, the Honda Fit Sport, Kia Rio SX, and Toyota Yaris SE are sporty variants that take a similar approach to performance as the Chevrolet Sonic RS. Starting next year, however, a new 2014 Ford Fiesta ST model arrives with genuine sport mini-compact credentials.