Aside from the retro Camaro muscle car and new Corvette, Chevrolet’s car range doesn’t drum up a huge amount of lust in the UK – but a snippet of news from Down Under got us thinking that could change. Chevrolet’s fellow GM brand Holden has announced it’s going to sell an Australian-market version of the Sonic RS hot hatch, badged as the Barina RS.
Why does that matter us? Because Australia is, alongside the UK and Japan, the world’s only other major market for right-hand drive cars. If GM is pumping in the funds to build a right-hooker Sonic RS for the Aussies, we Poms might be about to get a look in too, with our own Aveo RS version.
What’s Chevrolet saying about the chances of a UK-market Aveo RS?
Hints and teases, but not quite a confirmation. 'Watch this space' was the official line from a Chevrolet spokesman quizzed by CAR, who hinted that we’d get a concrete answer on UK availability ‘early in 2014’.
Why would I want a Chevrolet pocket rocket? Hardly a muscle car…
No, but if the price is right, the spec might be worth a second look. The Sonic RS uses a turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine, delivering 134bhp and 148lb over a wide rev-band: 1850-4900rpm in fact. It’s front-wheel drive, and equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox. The 0-62mph sprint is a tardy 10.5sec, and the top speed only 111mph, but the Sonic RS will return a claimed 48mpg while being 1.2sec ahead of the next-fastest Sonic. The RS also has a subtle bodykit on the outside to compliment the 17in alloy wheels, and inside there’s red-trimmed mats, stitching, an ‘RS’ steering wheel and leather seat branding, plus alloy pedals.
How does it compare to other hot superminis?
The Aveo RS’s key rival would be the Suzuki Swift Sport, which develops an identical 134bhp, a less impressive 118lb ft, but manages 62mph in 8.7sec, and feels faster thanks to its zingy, rev-hungry 1.6-litre engine. Plus, it’s blessed with a forgiving, chuckable chassis that makes it just about the most fun car on sale right now for less that £14,000. If the Chevy is to have a hope of making a splash in the hot hatch-loving UK scene, it needs to undercut the Swift Sport (and hopefully head down the gym to pep up its performance).
Another tempting option is the Ford Fiesta Zetec S. It employs downsizing we approve of: a 1.0-litre three-cylinder, tuned up to 125bhp and 147lb ft. Its claim of 9.4sec to 62mph is not to be sniffed at, but it’s priced from £15,395 – and only available as three-door.
With no successor to the Renaultsport Twingo officially confirmed, the door could be open for an American-Korean effort to fill the cheapo pocket rocket niche.
>> Should Chevrolet green-light Aveo RS sales in the UK? What sort of entry price should it aim for? Add your thoughts below