2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS Road Test and Review: Engines and Fuel Economy
- Stiffer, lower suspension
- More aggressive gear ratios (manual)
- Revised final drive ratio (automatic)
The Chevy Sonic RS is equipped with the same turbocharged, 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that’s offered in the bigger and heavier Chevy Cruze, so it naturally feels more responsive in this application. A 6-speed manual transmission that is specific to this model is standard equipment, with a 6-speed automatic transmission optional.
Making 138 horsepower at 4,900 rpm and 148 lb-ft. of torque beginning at 2,500 rpm (1,850 rpm with the optional automatic), the Sonic RS model’s engine offers satisfactory acceleration and response, though buyers focused too much on the “Turbo” and “RS” badges might be disappointed. Without driving a Sonic RS back-to-back with a standard Sonic LTZ Turbo, it’s difficult to ascertain the effectiveness of the RS model’s more aggressive transmission ratios on acceleration.
The Sonic RS is equipped with stiffer shocks and a suspension that’s lowered 10mm. A set of 4-wheel-disc brakes is swapped in to replace the front-disc, rear-drum setup on other Sonic models, and the Sonic RS is equipped with 17-inch aluminum wheels wearing P205/50R17 Hankook Optimo all-season tires.
Fuel economy estimates for my Sonic RS test car, equipped with the manual gearbox, are 27 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 30 mpg in combined driving. I averaged 26.9 mpg in a mix of city, highway, and mountain driving.