Chevrolet Sonic RS (2014) Review

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The range-topping Chevrolet Sonic RS spent a week with Cars.co.za and David Taylor was impressed with more than just the name.

Engine and powerplant

Naturally, being a performance model, you'll want to know all about the engine. Sadly, this is no hot hatch and if you're expecting to run with the Volkswagen Polo GTIs of this world, you're in for a nasty shock. Then again, they're considerably more expensive. There's a 1.4-litre turbocharged four cylinder with 103 kW and 200 Nm which puts the power to the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox.

It's not outrageously quick, but it's pleasantly brisk. In-gear acceleration is decent and when you're in the mood, you can get a move on. You should get to 100km/h in under ten seconds, which isn't bad. Fuel economy was a pleasant surprise too, with the readout sitting at just under 8l/100km. Interestingly, this engine also does duty in the Opel Astra GTC - a stylish coupe.

Ride and handling

This is an amusing car to drive. See, the problem with performance cars is you're often left feeling like your bones have been shaken up due to the harsh ride, and in an ideal world we'd have fun-to-drive cars without rock-hard suspension. A major tick goes to the Chevrolet Sonic RS for balancing the daily driver task with some cornering agility. When you're pushing hard on a tight road, the Sonic RS will put a smile on your face and the best part is you don't need to go at lunatic speeds either.

Styling

The Chevrolet Sonic RS is quite an aggressive-looking machine. It reminds me of a chihuahua with a spiked collar - all bark and very little bite. That said, you're getting racy gunmetal grey 17-inch alloy wheels, chrome exhaust, a bolder body kit incorporating bumper, skirts and diffuser, as well as a nice red RS badge slapped onto the rear.

Features

You get a generous helping of gadgets and gizmos in the Chevrolet Sonic RS. Aside from the impressive MyLink infotainment system, you also get cruise control, manual air-conditioning, six speakers, multi function steering wheel and you can fold down the back seats for a bigger boot. Check out the gallery below to see how the Chevrolet Sonic RS swallowed a surfboard!

It's safe too, with traction control, hill start assist, electronic stability control and has four airbags to protect the driver and passenger.

MyLink

The Chevrolet Sonic RS comes fitted with MyLink - Chevrolet's own infotainment system and it's simply brilliant. All you need is a Bluetooth-capable smartphone and the TuneIn app, which is available for both Android and IOS devices. Within a minute, my Samsung was connected to the car and this allows music streaming as well as hands-free telephone operation. The seven inch screen is crisp and is very intuitive. You can look at photos and even watch video clips. If only all manufacturers could make such uncomplicated systems...

Summary

The little Sonic RS ain't a bad offering and it comes with a generous offering of specification. It looks sporty both inside and out, but when it comes to actual out-and-out performance, it lacks slightly. It's a brisk drive when you really want to open it up and if you want to attack some corners, you won't be disappointed. Perhaps RS should stand for Really Sensible...

Chevrolet Sonic RS price in South Africa

The Chevrolet Sonic RS retails for R225 300 and the vehicle comes with a  three-year or 60 000km service plan as well as a five-year or 120 000km warranty. Service intervals are every 15 000km.

Chevrolet Sonic RS (2014) Quick Specs

Engine 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol
Power 103 kW @ 6 000 rpm
Torque 200 Nm @ 4 000 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual gearbox
Wheels 17-inch
0-100km/h 6.6 seconds (claimed)
Fuel economy 9.5 l/100km (claimed)
We like:

. Nice performance addition to the Chevrolet Sonic range . MyLink is one of the best infotainment systems . Fun to drive

We dislike:

. Not as fast as we'd hoped . Poor quality finishes on some parts of the interior Also consider: Suzuki Swift Sport Renault Twingo RS Gordini Ford Fiesta ST

Gallery

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