HOLDEN BARINA SRi
Not content to sit out the battle for supremacy in the light-hot-hatch market, GM is reportedly preparing a production version of its Holden-developed Chevrolet Aveo RS.
In its regular 'econobox' guise, the Aveo has been renamed 'Sonic' in the US market, and it will debut in Australia next year as the next-generation 2012 Holden Barina.
In Aveo RS concept form, the five-door hatch is powered by the same turbocharged 1.4 litre four-cylinder petrol engine that now features in the Cruze SRi and SRi-V, producing 103kW and 200Nm of torque.
According to US website GM Inside News, the rumoured production-ready Sonic RS will draw heavily on the features of its concept progenitor, offering the same aggressive styling, beefier brakes and performance suspension.
Although an RS-badged variant has yet to be confirmed, Chevrolet spokesperson Cristi Vasquez let slip that the 1.4 litre turbo engine (seen in the Aveo RS concept) will find its way into the small hatch's engine bay.
"The Chevrolet Sonic with an available 1.4 litre turbo engine and sporty ride and handling has a strong foundation for performance variants. (But) We have nothing to announce at this time," Ms Vasquez told GMI.
If it exists, the Sonic RS is expected to make its US-market debut in late 2012 as a 2013 model. Whether we can expect to see a Barina RS in Australia - or more likely a return of the Barina SRi badge - remains to be seen.