|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.