Review: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic

2012 Chevrolet Sonic
12s sonic 1
2012 Chevrolet Sonic

The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic goes on sale this fall. Revealed at the 2011 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the 2012 Sonic is meant to be the replacement for the current Aveo as the smallest, most economical car that Chevrolet sells in North America. The Sonic will be offered in two body styles, a four-door sedan and a sporty five-door hatchback, in LS, LT, and LTZ models, both with what Chevrolet believes will be class-leading rear-seat roominess and cargo space. Sonic is about six inches shorter and 500 pounds lighter than the larger Chevrolet Cruze with which it shares powertrains.

The standard engine will be an Ecotec 1.8-liter engine paired with a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, delivering an estimated 135 horsepower and 123 foot-pounds of torque at 3800 rpm. Both models will be offered with an Ecotec 1.4-liter turbocharged engine rated at an estimated 138 horsepower, which Chevrolet says is 18 horsepower more than the Ford Fiesta, with 148 foot-pounds of torque, between 1850 rpm and 4900 rpm. It is expected to deliver 40 mpg on the highway, although official EPA estimates are still pending. The Chevrolet Sonic chassis will feature electronic power steering, MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension, ABS/EBFD disc brakes and wheel sizes up to 17-inch.

Inside, the Sonic carries what Chevrolet calls a motorcycle-inspired digital instrument panel layout, with the rest of the interior recalling current GM luxury brands like Buick, similar but not matching. Standard equipment will include 10 airbags, traction control, stability control, and enhanced OnStar, with available Bluetooth, USB port, remote starting, heated seats, a sunroof, two new mobile apps, MyLink and MyChevrolet, and XM Sirius satellite radio. In order to provide younger buyers with easy ways to customize their new Sonics, Chevrolet just announced the first batch of what it calls Z-Spec accessories for the 2012 Sonic. The Sonic Z-Spec portfolio includes Color Out accent packages with contrasting-color exterior parts and graphics that express the car’s performance characteristics. These Color Out packages feature black accents on a Summit White Sonic and Summit White accents on an Inferno Orange Sonic.

Z-Spec accessories will initially include body-color ground effects, a silver exhaust tip, contrasting mirror caps and roof spoiler, contrasting upper and lower grille surrounds and a body graphics package, along with 16- and 17-inch painted alloy wheels. The ground effects kit features a front fascia extension, rocker panel extensions, and rear fascia extension. Interior upgrades include aluminum sport pedals and sill plates. Z-Spec parts can be purchased individually, to suit customer tastes and budgets, or can be purchased as a complete package. When the parts are purchased with the Sonic and installed by the dealer, customers can roll the cost into their monthly payments. Additional accessories will be available for the Sonic, ranging from the fashionable to the functional, such as chrome mirror caps and door handles to cargo nets and trunk trays. Additional graphics packages also will be available in the future. The Sonic will be built at the Orion Assembly Center in Orion Township, Michigan, making it the only subcompact to be built in the United States.

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