Tuesday, February 15, 2011

2012 Chevy Sonic RS Turbo: Three Extra Horsepower? Seriously?

OK, Chevrolet. Care to tell us what's so special about the extra three (3 as 135+3, or 2.22%) horsepower up for grabs in your upcoming 2012 Sonic RS?

Seriously? A three horsepower bump for the 1.4t RS over the 135 hp available in the base 1.8 Sonic and suddenly we're talking a brand new performance model designation?

It's one thing to rename the frumpy old rolly-poly wheezing computer-algorithm-named Aveo a "Sonic" whilst still providing a decidedly un-sonic rolly-poly wheezing platform for the new model, but when you start renaming cars "RS" and putting righteous alloy five-spokers on all four corners you better breathe some sincere grunt on the effort.

I know. Your proposed hotted-up RS model will have more torque and nearly all of it available across the rev range, so it will scoot more better than the normally-aspirated 1.8 base wheezer. (A whopping 25 extra ft. lbs. of torque ... someone please rush the smelling salts).

It will have a better suspension and tires, and probably some currently faddish standard equipment like Bluetooth phone connectivity ... because everyone wants to share their phone conversations with the carpool or look like a lunatic yakking away in an empty car. There will no doubt be little body flair parts all over and a special gearshift knob that all the 20-something hipsters will be replacing with eBay-sourced "forged from billet unobtainium" knobs simply because some guy on a forum is offering a factory-direct group buy from his uncle's money-laundering garage-based foundry in New Jersey.

But if you don't pony up some appropriate ponies for this new so-called hot hatch of yours, Chevy, you have doomed the New General Motors to the same sins of the old.

We remember the Cadillac Cimmaron.

(Little known fact: Rick Wagoner smirked when Obama mentioned that hoodwinkmobile in D.C. a few years back. Rick's How Bad Do You Want to Keep Your Job interview was going just swimmingly 'til then).

And turbos are about to be everywhere again.

You can no longer impress young men with the word "Turbo," especially when your "Turbo" provides little over the standard engine but higher running costs.

Three horsepower and 25 extra in the torque department?

Name-drop those Corvette engineers who are suspension-tweaking Sonic RS if you care, but it's no magic trick getting a car with Pee-Wee Herman Power to stay on the road. Some "Corvette engineer" in India could Google old Zora Arkus-Duntov papers and claim the magic ingredients.

As this nation's self-appointed Car Czar I'm well aware that some committee deep within your bowels suspects that you can sell a few million of 135 hp and 138 hp Chevy Sonics before anyone notices, hence bumping your CAFE figures for the period.

Instead, General Motors, suspect this: Boost this baby up to 170 or better or the world driving population will revolt against your latest attempt at Rally-Sporting an unremarkable car using the same FaceTwitter tactics that recently brought down that guy in Egypt.

As the nation's self-appointed Car Czar I will be watching. Even if the social networking revolt proposed above is a dud, mark my words: Continue to market the Sonic RS with its whopping three-horsepower advantage over the base model and I shall return to this blog and visit meaning upon the appellation "RS" ... and it shall not be "Really Smart."

I am the Car Czar, and I'm here to help.


  1. How would you market the car?

  2. Lily: With 50 more horsepower! TCC

  3. An aftermarket tune will easily get you your 170hp :) Gains of 50hp are common with the Cruze turbo (same engine) with a reflash, and with the tuner kit you can reflash it back to stock when you need to service it.

  4. Good to know. Hopefully Mr. Goodwrench will be none-the-wiser at warranty time.

  5. congrats on showing your ineptitude and ignorance. There is no RS designation as of yet from Chevrolet for the Sonic, there are the LS, LT, and LTZ. All available with the 1.8 litre or 1.4 litre turbo. realizing that the 1.4 turbo in the Cruze makes up to 42 mpg, i would imagine that a 400 lb lighter car may make even better. not to mention that having drivin the cruze with the 1.4t motor, i have to say the motor has no shortage of power. Hopefully you can pull your head out of your rectum and actually wait to drive a vehicle before you slam it.

  6. Maybe you should spend some time up in my rectum, because while my head was there I learned that sometimes cars that don't exist on the manufacturer's website today are, in fact, listed when the manufacturer is ready to sell them. Chevy, for instance, showed a Sonic RS concept at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show and bragged about its 138 hp mill. If the RS comes in at 2800 pounds, my math shows weight/hp @ 20-sumpthing.

    But since you've already driven the heavier Cruze with this engine and you liked it, it sounds like you will like the Sonic RS even more. This is a win-win, as Honda Odyssey drivers and most modern traffic will enjoy gazing upon your smiling face as your redlined new Chevy hot hatch recedes in their rear view mirrors.