From the back of the class straight to the very head of the pack, the 2012 Chevy Sonic four door sedan and five door hatchback debuted to great fanfare at the 2011 Auto Show. If you weren’t clear as to what car the Sonic is replacing you are probably most familiar with its antecedent if you rent cars regularly-yes, I am talking about the woefully horrible Chevy Aveo.
I usually find myself questioning the logic of automakers that change car names when they redesign a car but if any vehicle needed to be freed of the baggage of a duffer of a name it was the Aveo. Not only is the new 2012 Sonic a whole lot better looking than the Aveo but it also boasts some cutting edge powertrain technology and features.
Chevy’s vice president of marketing had this to say, “The all-new Chevrolet Sonic blends the practicality of a small car with the passion for driving that Chevrolet vehicles like the Corvette are known for. Its combination of great design, fun driving experience and the latest connectivity features create a serious competitor with a fun spirit.”
The ride and handling were tuned by Chevy Corvette engineers with electronic power steering and StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing standard on all models. Comprehensive safety features include 10 standard air bags, antilock brakes, electronic brake force distribution, brake assist and OnStar with Automatic Crash Response.
There is an available Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine rated at an estimated 138 horsepower which delivers what Chevy promises will be competitive fuel economy. It’s the same engine used in the Chevrolet Cruze and is available with a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automatic. The standard Ecotec 1.8L engine is paired with a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission.
The sedan model offers segment-best trunk capacity and the hatchback and sedan both offer better rear-seat roominess than you find in the back of the Ford Fiesta. The flat folding rear seats also afford the Sonic greater cargo carrying capacity than the Fiesta. Expect that the Honda Fit will remain the class leader, however, when it comes to hauling bulky cargo.
High tech connectivity features have not been ignored with the Sonic package and include OnStar with six months of Turn-by-Turn navigation. You can also optionally order XM Satellite Radio, USB/ipod integration and Bluetooth connectivity. Remote start, heated front seats and sunroof are also all optional.
Look out Ford Fiesta. It appears you have competition from the last place you probably expected it. Your local Chevy dealer.