What Is It? 

The Chevrolet Sonic is a subcompact car slotted between the tiny Spark and the compact Cruze in Chevrolet's lineup. It's offered as a 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback, but news from this year's LA Auto Show relates only to the sedan. The reason is that the 4-door Sonic is gaining two new trim levels -- a luxurious model called the Dusk and a sporty variant dubbed the Sonic RS, which is only offered as a hatchback. 

Chevrolet previewed the Sonic Dusk at this year's SEMA show in Las Vegas. On the outside, the production model features a body kit, a rear spoiler and gray-painted 18-inch alloy wheels. Inside, there are black leather seats with suede accents and stitching, along with Bluetooth, Chevrolet's MyLink Radio and a reversing camera. Dusk models use the Sonic's efficient 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, which returns up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway. 

Chevrolet's other Sonic news at the LA Auto Show is the debut of an all-new sporty Sonic RS sedan. It boasts the same upgrades as the 2013 Sonic RS hatchback, which means it includes a lowered ride height, 17-in alloy wheels and rear disc brakes. Power still comes from the Sonic's standard 138-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, meaning the sporty features are primarily for show. 

How Much?

The Sonic RS sedan will likely start in the low-$20,000 range, while the luxury-trimmed Dusk is expected to be more expensive. 

When Can You Get It? 

Both models are expected to debut in spring 2014. 

Add It to Your Shopping List Because... 

We've enjoyed the Chevrolet Sonic's ability to combine handsome styling with strong fuel economy and other compact-car must-haves, such as many safety features and a long list of available gadgets. With the latest Sonic Dusk and RS sedan, the lineup expands, providing shoppers with a reason to consider the small Chevy. 

Other Cars to Consider 

Ford Fiesta -- The Fiesta is roughly the same size as a Sonic, and it comes in the same sedan and hatchback body styles. But the Fiesta boasts a sporty ST model that offers nearly 200 hp -- something the Sonic can't touch. 

Hyundai Accent -- The Hyundai Accent is a recently redesigned compact car offered as a sedan or 5-door hatchback. There's no sporty version, but the Accent has the same power as the Sonic -- and a list of equipment that's just as long. 

Nissan Versa -- For shoppers looking at a base-level subcompact, it's hard to beat the Versa. Refinement isn't class-topping and there aren't many features, but pricing and gas mileage are among the best. 

Used Volkswagen Jetta -- The Jetta offers a good alternative to both new Sonic models. The sporty Jetta GLI uses a 200-hp 4-cylinder, while the luxurious Jetta SEL offers a well-built cabin and a lot of equipment. But the Jetta is more expensive than the Chevrolet Sonic, which means you'll have to consider a used model.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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