Highlight: This is the only subcompact built in America.
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $20,995 (no options added)
Seating Capacity: 5 occupants
Standard Safety Features: 10 airbags (driver, front passenger, side-impact, knee, rear outboard and head); ABS; electronic brake force distribution; stability control; a hill-start assist system; traction control system; and a tire pressure monitoring system
Standard Equipment: 17-inch wheels; RS trim package; manual transmission; remote keyless entry; leather/suede inserts in seats; manual-adjusted front seats; driver seat armrest; premium floor mats; tilt/telescopic steering wheel; heated front seats; a 6-speaker premium audio system with XM-radio; and Chevy’s MyLink (Smartphone-like) audio system; a roof-mounted spoiler; front fog lights; and an aluminum brake/gas pedal.
Standard Audio: a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD with satellite radio
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 100,000 miles
Bluetooth Compatibility: Included
Ipod Compatibility: Included
MP3 Capability: Included
USB audio interface: Included
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.4-liter/138-horsepower
Standard Fuel Mileage: 27-city/34-hwy
Pros: The motorcycle inspired Sonic hatchback with the RS package, stands out in the subcompact segment. In fact, the five door hatchback adds a flavor that’s lacked by its four door sibling. And the exterior design of the Sonic RS slightly mimics the VW Golf hatchback, but a miniature version. The power exuding from the bright exhaust outlet coupled with its standard 17-inch wheels screams excitement. Well, while this vehicle is no barnburner, the Sonic RS offers great handling with its sports tuned suspension system and fuel-efficient turbocharged engine.
Cons: The Sonic RS we reviewed lacked a sunroof and a center front armrest for the front passenger. Also for those seeking to use their antiquated CDs, think again. This vehicle isn’t equipped with one. Yes, this vehicle is definitely going after the heart and soul of those in Generation Y. We must also note that a power sunroof is available as an option!
Moreover, the vehicle we reviewed lacked a factory-installed nav system. However, soon an in-dash nav system through a Bring-go smartphone app that can be added via Chevy’s signature MyLink system.
Also with the rear seat in use, the cargo area is virtually non-existent.
Furthermore, we’re not quite ready to pay $21,000 for a souped-up subcompact that could climb up to $23,000 with an automatic transmission and a power sunroof.
Verdict: We’re super excited that the Sonic RS has no connection to the lackluster Korean-built Aveo RS that it replaced. We literally hated any vehicle that Chevy made that was associated with the defunct Daewoo line. With that said, the Sonic RS is one of the best subcompacts we ever driven. Not only was the manual transmission fun-to-drive, it appeared to be a well-built vehicle, too. Overall, the sporty RS adds a little spice to the no frills, price-sensitive subcompact segment. The Sonic RS offers quite a bit of features, but in a pint size package.
Competition: Nothing, as of now! This could be a whole new segment.
Jeff Fortson is an auto analyst and editor of a car-buying website for women and minorities. To learn more about his popular car-buying workshop and/or to price a new-vehicle, drive on over to JeffCars.com. Follow him at twitter/JeffCars.