2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS
2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS
2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Jacob Black

There are not many interiors that scream “SPORT!” as loudly as the one violently thrust into the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS. From the vivid red “RS” stitching to the suede inserts in the heavily bolstered leather seats, and from the motorcycle-style instrument cluster to the flat-bottomed steering wheel, this interior declares its pedigree loudly and brashly.

Outside, there are vibrant RS and Turbo badges adorning the rear, a rear spoiler and aggressive front fascia. A rectangle exhaust tip sets off the squat and wide stance at the rear, while the 17-inch, five-spoke alloys draw attention to the four-wheel disc brakes.

So far, so good – right?

Firing up the turbocharged 1.4L inline-four sends the right signals. A raspy exhaust note greets the driver and the whole car gives a little shudder as if to say, “I’m awake! Let’s go.”

The lever attached to the six-speed transmission gives itself a little shake too, and at first I think it’s a subtle hint to the monstrous power the gearbox is trying to restrain. It isn’t.

Driving out onto the road I stand on the gas, urging the 138 hp engine into life. At 2,500 rpm 148 lb-ft of torque flow through the gearbox and I decide to switch gears. The sporty-looking gear stick flops into my hand and sloppily fumbles its way between the gates. Snapping it home I’m immediately captivated by the lever – not because it’s good, but because the three centimetres of sideways play is causing it to wiggle back and forth hypnotically.

2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS
2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS. Click image to enlarge

The electrically assisted steering wheel feels firm and weighty in my hands – it’s thick and wrapped in leather like all sport wheels should be. Sadly, there is another three centimetres of play before the steering wheel has any effect on the front wheels. Once it does, the Sonic is pointy and sharp, tipping in with a willingness to attack the corners that isn’t properly supported by the feedback transmitted back up the steering column. No drama though, the car is tracking true and the bumps are not affecting the direction of travel. Each one is met with a loud thud but is promptly absorbed and left behind. Despite its height, the Sonic RS has a remarkable lack of body roll in the turns. I’m sure it would be very capable given the chance, but the lack of feedback in my hands is making me feel disconcerted so I abandon my attempts to corner at speed.

Meanwhile, the 1.4L engine continues to growl like a grumpy cocker spaniel. It’s an interesting sound that implies more violence than what the engine is capable of producing. It’s zippy, sure, but this car is up against rigs like the Fiesta ST.

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