When the all-new 2012 Chevrolet Sonic starts selling this fall, it will have a starting price of $14,495. It will be offered in two body styles -- a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback – and in two trim levels too. The Sonic comes with comprehensive standard safety equipment, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, power door locks, and 15" alloy wheels as standard.
On the highway, the sub-compact returns 40 mpg an acceleration time that leads its class when mated to the 1.4L Turbo and six-speed manual transmission.
The Sonic will start production this fall at the General Motors Orion Assembly Center in Michigan, which got a $545-million investment. This will mean that about 1,000 jobs in the metropolitan Detroit area will be restored.
Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing, said that the Sonic is “truly a safer small car” as it has been fitted with more airbags than its closest rival. Scheidt also said that it provides the “safety, security and convenience of OnStar with Turn-by-Turn Navigation on all models.”
He added that Sonic demonstrates the spirit of Chevrolet models such as the Corvette by offering an “athletic and agile performance.” He said that consumers expect a lot from small cars, a desire that he believes Sonic will be able to fill. He said that the Sonic has a surprising level of standard equipment that will delight customers with its various amenities and comforts.
In terms of appearance, the Chevrolet Sonic sedan is uniquely different when compared to the five-door version. The sedan, with its notchback profile for example, gives it a more full-grown and high-class presence. Meanwhile for the five-door version, it has a two-box form that features plunging and aggressive feature lines. Subtly placed in the area of the C-pillar are the handles for the rear door which give the five-door version, at a quick look, an appearance similar to the three-door hatch.
Still on the five-door, its rear portion utilizes unusual features like having exposed rear taillamps, which are clearly inspired from the ones in a motorcycle. Regardless of the look though, both the sedan and the five-door exhibit refinement, stability, and strength, no matter where you look. With its wheels being placed out at each of the corners, the Sonic gets a planted and wide stance expressing performance. Even when not moving, the use of raked and advancing body lines suggest as if it is moving.
When it comes to models from Chevrolet, there are a number of design cues that come with it like the round taillamps and the dual-element grille. When the round headlamps that are clearly motorcycle-inspired are combined with the aggressive cues, these result in a design that makes it immediately identifiable as a Chevrolet. Its hood’s leading edge shapes a character line that is just on top of the headlamps. It then goes through the sleek side profile which is depicted through the continuous side lines, low roofline, and high beltline. Since the side mirror has the same shape as the vehicle, it gives the impression of disappearing into its profile.
For the Sonic, there are a number of features that strengthen that fact that it exudes quality and that extra attention to detail was done in making it. Examples of these include the honeycomb grille in matte black and the chrome grille surrounds, which are available for all models. It even comes with a wide range of wheel sizes like the alloy 17-inch version which further cements its sporty appearance. When it comes to the powertrains, all Sonic models will be fitted with small-displacement and power-dense engines. Two of these will be the Ecotec 1.4L turbo and the Ecotec 1.8L, the same ones that are inside the Cruze. Paired to these engines will be three types of transmissions. These are a five-speed manual as well as a six-speed automatic with the 1.8L and a six-speed manual fitted with the 1.4L turbo.
For the 1.4-liter engine, output is estimated to be 138 hp (103 kW) with maximum torque at 148 lb.-ft. of torque (200 Nm) available from 1,850 rpm up to 4,900 rpm. Turbocharge engines have a wide range of rpm for the peak torque and the 1.4-liter in the Sonic is no different. Because of this, it allows the engine to offer improved performance and a better driving experience. Helping the engine deliver durability and smoothness are its premium design elements.
Examples of these include the chain-driven cams, the roller-finger camshaft followers, and the dual overhead camshaft that has the variable valve timing. Then there is the hollow-frame low-mass cast iron block, variable-flow oil pump, the piston-cooling jets and integrated oil cooler, and the electronically controlled thermostat. Still on the subject of the 1.4-liter engine, in order to make sure that it offers greater packaging flexibility and a lower weight, the turbocharger has been integrated inside the manifold of the exhaust.
By having stronger connecting rods and with the crankshaft reinforced, it gets that extra strength in order to support the pressurized power, as well as the torque, of the engine on a wide range of rpm band. For the 1.8-liter version, it has a number of features that are similar to the 1.4-liter one. It is durable and compact ensuring that this four-cylinder unit needs low maintenance, and at the same time, it delivers greater fuel efficiency and low emissions. Since it has a variable two-stage intake manifold, 90% of its torque is available from 2,400 rpm up to 6,500 rpm. Output is estimated to be 135 hp (101 kW) with maximum torque of 123 lb.-ft. (167 Nm) available at 3,800 rpm. In terms of design, the interior is a good complement for the exterior especially with styling that is clearly motorcycle-inspired.
The interior for instance makes use of a detailed instrument cluster that comes with an asymmetrical LCD readout inside of which is a round analog tachometer. The instrument cluster also has a digital speedometer display. Other design highlights in the interior include the tube-shaped outboard climate that juts from the surface of the instrument panel. Another highlight is the automatic shift knob which sports a cobra head design with the manual shifter having a chrome-finished knob.
Finally, the surface of the mid-instrument panel is able to flow smoothly to the upper doors and its low-glass premium finish. Two colors will be available -- brick and dark titanium. The interior will also have storage compartments that are placed in the doors and the center stack. Those who have to carry large items are in luck as storage space is optimized by folding flat the seats in the rear. While the front bucket seats are equipped as standard, offered as an option are the heated front seats.