2012 Chevrolet Sonic: GM’s Fiesta Fighter

10 Jan 2011 | 3,496 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds Chevy's been on a roll these days with the Volt, which won the North American International Auto Show's North American Car of the Year award, the Camaro, the Cruze, the Equinox, and...well, the list goes on and on. The good news just might continue with their latest creation, the 2012 Chevy Sonic, a stylish subcompact which has about zip in common with the "okay" Chevy Aveo it replaces. Materials have been greatly updated, construction and fit and finish, vastly improved and the looks?  Certainly interesting enough to take on the competition--i.e., Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and several others.      The Sonic made its debut Monday at the North American International Auto Show The Sonic is offered in two body styles, and Chevy says the pair will have the best in class rear seat roominess and cargo space in their class. And things may prove to be pretty intesetring for driving enthusiasts wheo you consider that Chevy Corvette engineers were responsible for raod tuning and handling work on the Sonic. Production of the Sonic begins later in 2011 at the General Motors Orion Assembly Center in Michigan, which received a $545-million investment in upgrades and retooling, and will help restore approximately 1,000 jobs in the metropolitan Detroit area. “Chevrolet is the only company building a small car in the United States,” said Perry. “We believe the Sonic will bring substance to the segment, with progressive styling, performance and value that will change perceptions of what a small car can be in America.”           The Sonic can be powered by a 1.4 liter, 138 horsepower turbocharged four, and Chevy is quick to point out that the engine will have 18 more horsepower than Ford's Fiesta.  One of the few criticisms that anhyone has had of the  Fiesta is that it could use some more horses under the hood. The standard engine in the Sonic is a 135 horsepower naturally aspirated four.     The Sonic will have standard electronic power steering and StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing, and Chevy says that with a rear seat that folds nearly flat, the sonic hatchback will have more cargo space in back than Fiesta, along with more room in the second row when it is in use.  Connectivity is a key feature with Sonic, including  OnStar with six months of Turn-by-Turn navigation. Available features include XM Satellite Radio, USB and Bluetooth functionality and MyChevrolet mobile application with OnStar MyLink vehicle connectivity. Also available will be  remote start, heated front seats and sunroof. In terms of safety features, the Sonic will have  10 standard air bags, antilock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist and OnStar with Automatic Crash Response.    But we suspect that it will be the styling that will come in for the most attention from consumers, because the Sonic looks like a fun car to drive. Chevy says it has a "wide, planted stance, with wheels-at-the-corners proportions" that convey performance, and thanks to the flow of character lines and its profile, the Sonic looks like its in motion even when standing still.    Styling cues, "Chevy adds, include " fender flares and motorcycle-inspired round headlamps,  blended with global design cues – a dual-element grille and round taillamps – for a design instantly recognizable as Chevrolet. The leading edge of the hood forms a character line above the headlamps, which flows in a sleek side profile characterized by uninterrupted body side lines, a high beltline and low roofline. The side mirrors carry the same shape as the car and seemingly disappear into the profile." A news release notes that the sedan and five door hatchback are markedly different from each other. The five-door carries a tight, two-box shape with aggressive, diving feature lines, while the sedan’s “notchback” profile has a more upscale and mature presence. At first glance, the five-door model looks like a three-door hatch because the rear door handles are discreetly located in the “C”-pillar area. The rear of the five-door continues with unconventional details, including exposed, motorcycle-inspired rear taillamps. Inside, drivers will find a detailed instrument cluster featuring a large, round analog tachometer set within an asymmetrical LCD readout, with a large digital speedometer display. There's also an instrument panel surface is available in two colors (dark titanium and brick) that flows into upper doors, with premium low-gloss finishes. The automatic shift knob has a “cobra head” design,” while the manual shifter has a chrome-finished knob. Tubular outboard climate outlets protrude from the instrument panel surface, and the interior includes storage compartments in the center stack and doors. The rear seats fold flat for carrying larger items. Front bucket seats are standard and heated front seats are available.

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