Volkswagen unveils the new Passat; diesel version expected to deliver 43 mpg highway
Ford unveils C-MAX Energi, its first production plug-in hybrid, and another hybrid variant

Chevrolet displays new subcompact 2012 Sonic at Detroit Auto Show

The 2012 Sonic. Click to enlarge.

Chevrolet displayed the all-new subcompact 2012 Sonic—called the Aveo in other parts of the world (earlier post)— at the North American International Auto Show. The Sonic is offered in four-door and five-door variants.

The Sonic offers an Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine rated at 138 hp (103 kW)—the same engine used in the Chevrolet Cruze in a smaller, lighter package. The standard Ecotec 1.8L engine is paired with five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions, and an Ecotec 1.4L turbo is available with a six-speed manual transmission.

The fuel economy ratings are still TBD.

The Ecotec 1.4L turbo’s power ratings are estimated at 138 horsepower (103 kW) and 148 lb-ft of torque (200 N·m) between 1,850 rpm and 4,900 rpm. The wide rpm range for the maximum torque helps the engine deliver a better driving experience and performance. Design features of the engine include:

  • Low-mass hollow-frame cast iron block
  • Dual overhead camshafts with variable valve timing
  • Chain-driven cams
  • Roller-finger camshaft followers
  • Piston-cooling oil jets and integrated oil cooler
  • Variable-flow oil pump
  • Electronically controlled thermostat.

The 1.4L’s turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold, for reduced weight and greater packaging flexibility in small vehicles. A reinforced crankshaft and stronger connecting rods deliver additional strength to support the engine’s pressurized power and torque over a wide rpm band.

The naturally aspirated Ecotec 1.8L engine has many of the same features of the Ecotec 1.4L turbo. It is a compact and durable four-cylinder engine designed for low maintenance, low emissions and fuel efficiency. Its two-stage variable intake manifold allows approximately 90% of peak torque to be available from 2,400 rpm to 6,500 rpm. It is estimated at 135 hp (101 kW), along with 123 lb-ft of torque (167 N·m) at 3,800 rpm.

Engineers who also work on the Corvette tuned the Sonic’s ride and handling, giving it a more direct and athletic feel, while balancing the vehicle for the broad range of driving conditions in North America.

All models feature a MacPherson strut front suspension with coil springs and stabilizer bar, and a semi-independent, torsion beam axle-mount compound link-type rear suspension featuring a robust, tubular V-shape beam – with gas-charged shocks. The front and rear tracks are identical at 59.4 inches (1,509 mm), for stability and balance.

Electronic power steering is standard and features a wear compensator that continually adjusts the system interaction with the steering gear to ensure precise steering action over the life of the system.



Is this a renamed Aveo?


This is a pretty cool little car. Should do well with rental car fleets & economy budgets.


This seems a step in the right direction, but there's still 36 truck-like vehicles in GM's 62 countable model product line.|_2010_GM.com_Retention_|_GM.com_Branded_Segment_|_GM_Vehicle_|_gm_vehicles

Many have an mpg in the teens, yet the CEO ("..not a car guy..") thinks GM is ready for US $4/gal gas again.

How soon can US taxpayers get ALL their money and interest OUT of GM?


This may be marketed as Cruze Lite. The ad slogan for Cruze is "expect more", well the Cruze costs more than the Ford Fiesta, so they needed something, this seems to be it.

Joseph Tricomo

This Sonic, Aveo still made in Korea? Aside from Apple we still seem to be a backward country in technology these days. American car companies don't consider the needs of so many people for basic transportation...Check out this video on the Tata Pixel. a $4000 car that makes this model look very outdated. Maybe we should have let GM die a quick death. GM! bring back the Metro and make it more like this!

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