CHEVROLET SONIC RS LAUNCHED, DRIVEN

I am an unadulterated, unapologetic, hot-hatch fan.  It’s my weapon of choice for carving a way through Jozi traffic with surgeon-like precision. While SUV and big sedan drivers are still running quantum physics-like calculations in their heads on whether their cars will fit into that gap in traffic, I’ve already taken it and am planning my next assault.

2014 Chevolet Sonic RS 2

This love of hot-hatches is evidenced by the two parked in my garage as we speak (admittedly one belongs to my wife but what’s hers is mine and what’s mine is…). So when I attended the launch of the new Chevrolet Sonic RS last week, my expectations were high. This was temporarily dampened by the explanation that the RS moniker was not that of an outright performance vehicle like an SS or Z badged Chevrolet. The Sonic RS is the halo vehicle in the Sonic range and features a turbo charged 1.4 litre petrol engine, sporty suspension, enhanced exterior styling and a high level of specification all for a very competitive price.

2014 Chevolet Sonic RS 3

The Sonic RS also comes standard with MyLink, an easy-to-use “infotainment” system which acts as an extension of one’s smart phone. Bluetooth audio streaming allows you to play the music from your smartphone and customise your playlists. Phonebook and call list integration makes calling your local Nando’s on the way home a piece of cake, (or chicken in this case.) The high resolution, 17.78cm touchscreen is the perfect medium for video playback and picture gallery viewing while the vehicle is stationary. The additional USB and auxiliary ports ensure that other sources of music, videos or photos can also be easily integrated. The controls mounted on the multifunction steering wheel coupled with voice control on most smart phones means that the system is easy enough for the driver to operate safely, thus nullifying the need for you to pick up a hitch hiker to work the controls for you while you try and drive.

2014 Chevolet Sonic RS 4

Sonic RS promises fun and excitement in this segment of the market and fully delivers on this brief. Power comes courtesy of General Motors’ global 1.4-litre turbocharged ECOTEC petrol engine delivering 103kW at 6 000 rpm and 200Nm at 4 000 rpm through a 6-speed manual gearbox. The claimed 0 – 100 time of 9.5 seconds and top speed of 197 km/h don’t sound too heart-racing, but when coupled with the responsive handling and firmer yet comfortable ride, the package is more than adequate to quicken one’s pulse on a good B-road with sweeping curves and an unexplored destination beckoning you at the end of your journey. The engine has enough grunt to make overtaking comfortable without necessarily downshifting or playing chicken with oncoming traffic.

2014 Chevolet Sonic RS group photo

The looks of the Sonic RS are noticeable without being over the top with a new menacing front bumper and fog lights with chrome detailing. The rear has motor-cycle inspired tails lights, and integrated roof spoliers, Sonic RS badging and trapezodial exhaust pipe. For those of us who have been out of school for a while, trapezodial is rectangle with the top corners pushed in slightly. The Sonic RS also sports 17-inch, five-spoke, gunmetal grey, alloy wheels which together with the car’s lower profile adds to the sporty look.

2014 Chevolet Sonic RS 8

In terms of interior, Sonic RS has also gotten a make-over with top quality materials being used and a generous spread of RS emblems and red stitching incase you forget which version of the sonic you are in. Seats are a comfortable leather and suede combo (even for those of more generous proportions). The centre console looks particularly good in dark grey as compared to the silver one.

2014 Chevolet Sonic RS 7

The Sonic RS comes with even more gizmos and gadgets including cruise control, ABS, EBD and BAS, ESC, traction control and four airbags. It is available with a standard 5-year/ 120 000 km warranty and a 3-year/ 60 000 km service plan linked to service intervals of 15 000 km.

2014 Chevolet Sonic RS 9

Because of my love of hot-hatches, the fun all round package that the Sonic RS offers now has me wondering what the trade-in value of one of my cars is.

 

Chevrolet Sonic RS price

R225 300

 

STORY BY MASOPHA MOSHOESHOE

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