The new 2017 Chevrolet Sonic made its debut today, including the hatchback version which comes exclusively in RS trim.

With gas prices creeping back up, Chevrolet may have picked an ideal time to introduce the new 2017 Chevrolet Sonic, including the new hatchback that comes only in RS trim.

The new model is not only a gas miser as expected, but like most automakers, Chevy knows that good mpgs alone will not be enough to draw in customers. For 2017, there are new features for the Sonic, including a heated steering wheel, a standard 7-inch color touch screen for the new MyLink System and rear park assist.

“The new styling and features of the 2017 Sonic reinforce its position as a fun, efficient small car with leading technology – all at an affordable price,” said Steve Majoros, director of marketing, Chevrolet Cars and Crossovers. “This is an important segment for Chevrolet, as we really have an opportunity to introduce ourselves to new buyers and show them what we’re all about.”

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Like most subcompacts, Chevy is looking to draw in younger, often first-time, buyers with the new model. It offers its in four trim levels – LS, LT, Premier and RS – on the sedan. The new hatchback only comes one way: RS.

The new Sonic sedan comes in a sporty RS trim level as well, including blacked out wheels. It hits showrooms this fall.

The trim levels are simply cosmetic. There are two engine options available for the Sonic: a standard Ecotec 1.8-liter engine estimated to deliver similar fuel economy numbers as it did last year, but EPA-approved numbers aren’t yet available; and a peppy Ecotec 1.4-liter turbo engine, mated to a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. No fuel economy numbers for that model either.

Chevrolet is working to give its small vehicle line-up a cohesive look and the Sonic clearly borrows styling cues from the Cruze, Bolt and Trax. The new model gets a complete makeover on the exterior with a new rear fascia, hood, front fascia and lights.

“With its trademark wheels-at-the-corners stance, the dramatic changes to the Sonic’s design give it and even sportier stance and attitude,” said Justin Thompson, exterior design manager.

There are also new 15-, 16- and 17-inch wheel designs and four new exterior colors offered in 2017: Orange Burst Metallic, Brimstone, Cajun Red Tintcoat and Arctic Blue Metallic (late availability).

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Young buyers all seem to want one thing: technology, whether its in their hands in terms of the latest iPhone or Galaxy or helping to pilot a car through traffic. The new Sonic’s infotainment system allows connectivity with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as well as a 4G LTE wifi hotspot.

However, they also like the creature comforts found on more expensive vehicles and those can be had on Chevy’s new subcompact as well, including keyless open and start, heated cloth seats and a heated steering wheel.

The focus on technology extends to the Sonic’s available safety features, which include forward collision alert, lane departure warning, rear park assist and a rearview camera.

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The new Sonic is expected to hit showrooms this fall, which if gas prices continue to climb may make it a very appealing option for young buyers – 20% of Sonic customers are under 35 years old and it’s the brand’s top-selling vehicle to first-time buyers. Pricing was not released.

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