Holden's popular Barina SRi could be due for a comeback in the new year, with GM giving the new Chevrolet Sonic RS an early unveiling this week.
Entering as the flagship in the Sonic range - sold in Australia as the new Barina - the RS will be powered by the same 103kW/200Nm turbocharged 1.4 litre four-cylinder engine featured in the Holden Cruze SRi-V.
This is the same engine that drove the original Australian-designed Aveo RS concept back in 2010.
Power is sent to the front wheels through a six-speed manual transmission in its standard form, with a six-speed auto also available.
Performance figures, for now, remain a secret - although we can likely expect those to come with the car's Detroit Auto Show unveiling next month.
GM says that buyers can expect unique gear ratios for both transmissions, giving the RS a more sporting feel than the regular model.
“The new Sonic RS pushes Chevrolet’s performance heritage in a new direction, for a new generation of drivers,” GM's Chris Perry said.
“It takes the Sonic’s great design and latest connectivity features and combines them with a more performance-oriented look and feel.”
The suspension package includes MacPherson struts up front with coil springs and a stabiliser bar, along with a torsion beam arrangement at the rear.
On the styling front, the Sonic RS draws plenty of inspiration from its Aveo RS concept forebear, including a sharpened front bumper and an RS-specific grille, a new rear spoiler and new side skirts. The whole package sits on new 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels.
Inside, there's new front sport seats, a sports steering wheel with a thickened rim and a flat-bottom design, a new shifter knob, aluminium pedals and new instrument cluster graphics.
Could we see the SRi badge return to the Australian Barina line-up? For now, the car is offered in just one specification, driven by an 85kW and 155Nm 1.6 litre petrol engine.
It's got the looks, but it couldn't hurt to have the edge that an SRi flagship would bring.
With the Sonic RS' online unveiling coming after business hours, Holden was unavailable for comment at the time of publishing. Watch for more details tomorrow.