Chevrolet finally has an affordable halo model performance brand available to the public.  As of this week, Chevrolet SouthAfrica has launched the Sonic RS, a halo in the Sonic range, featuring a 1.4-litre turbocharged engine, taken from the Opel Astra 1.4T.

The RS moniker forms the first level of performance-orientated branding for Chevrolet, and harks back to 1967 when it was originally applied to the Chevrolet Camaro RS (Rally Sport).  While the Sonic RS is not a rally car, the RS moniker gives the Chevrolet brand its 1st “hot Chevy”.

Performance-wise, the RS is powered by an Opel 1.4-litre turbocharged ECOTEC engine developing 103kW @ 6000 RPM and 200Nm @ 4000 RPM, driving the front wheels via a new 6-speed close-ratio manual gearbox.  Resulting figures are a 0-100km/h sprint time of 9.5 seconds and a top speed of 197km/h.  The soundtrack to the new performance is performed by a new sports-tuned exhaust.  Fuel consumption is rated as 6.6l/100km on a combined cycle.  The Sonic RS also features a tuned suspension setup, with lowered ride height, stiffer springs and performance-tuned dampers.

Visually, the Sonic RS has been jacked up with slight design changes, including more aggressive front bumper design with angular fog lights and chrome detailing.  Gunmetal grey 17-inch 5-spoke alloys are separated by chunky side-skirts, and gloss black door mirrors with integrated LED indicators further accentuate the sportiness of the RS, while a roof-spoiler, trapezoidal exhaust, RS-specific rear diffuser, and RS badging complete the look.

The interior follows suit with sporty red accents, leather and suede sport seats, aluminium pedals, and a new rev-counter.  A scattering of red “RS” stitching around the cabin, on the seats, the rev counter and on the bottom of the new leather-bound, flat bottomed steering wheel remind you that this isn’t any ordinary Sonic.

The centre console has been upgraded and now features piano black finishes alongside the new Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system.  The new system sees Chevrolet take the plunge into the modern age, bringing Smartphone functionality to the Sonic.  The system allows for full Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming functionality, whilst allowing full control from the 7-inch touch screen and voice-control systems.

The Sonic RS comes standard with an extensive kit list, including multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, full-size spare wheel, MyLink infotainment system, air-conditioning, and electronic windows, as well as all the usual safety features, including ABS, EBD, BAS, ESC, and traction control.  The Sonic RS retails for R225 300 and comes with a standard 5-year/120 000km warranty and a 3-year/60 000km service plan.

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