General Motors has announced that the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS hatchback, which has a more powerful engine than the base Sonic, will start at $20,995, including destination, when it goes on sale this fall.  

The 2013 Sonic RS has a 138-horsepower 1.4-liter four-cylinder turbo engine. That horsepower rating is identical to the base Sonic’s rating, but the Sonic RS produces 23 more pound-feet of torque. General Motors says in a press release that the Sonic RS comes with a six-speed manual transmission, but can be equipped with a six-speed automatic transmission for an additional $1,285.

Compared with lower Sonic trims, the Sonic RS has unique exterior enhancements, as well as a sportier suspension. Inside, the Sonic RS comes with leather-appointed front bucket seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, aluminum sport pedals and Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system, which includes satellite radio, Pandora Internet radio and Bluetooth.  

“Do all these changes add a spark to the Sonic’s step?” says Automobile Magazine. “Somewhat. As we reported in our First Drive review, we’re not ready to call the RS a hot hatch, but a somewhat more enjoyable Sonic.”

The 2013 Sonic RS falls in the middle of its class with regard to horsepower, but it is more expensive than many rivals. The $18,995 2013 Ford Fiesta Titanium hatchback, for example, has a 120-horsepower four-cylinder engine, while the $20,590 four-door 2013 Volkswagen Golf has a 170-horsepower five-cylinder engine.

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