General Motors has debuted it latest small Chevrolet saloon, the Sonic (that’s Aveo for me and you), at the 2011 Detroit Motor Show. Set to wrestle with the Ford Fiesta in the sub-compact segment, the newcomer will be available in hatchback and saloon formats, but will continue to carry the Aveo nametag in South Africa when it arrives during 2012. The new car is more aggresively styled than the Aveo that it replaces. There are hints of Lumina about the exterior styling, such as the headlamps, and familiar Spark traits are seen in the tail-lamps.
The interior, too, has been spruced up with a snazzy instrument cluster that GM stylists claim is reminscent of a superbike’s cluster. In the saloon model a two-tone facia follows on from a similar theme as used in big brother Cruze.
US buyers can choose between a 1,8-litre four-pot or a turbocharged 1,4-litre producing 104 kW and 200 N.m of torque at just 1 850 r/min. Shifting duties are handled by either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. GM is keen to underline the fun-to-drive aspect of the new vehicle. Suspension engineers responsible for the Corvette’s lauded handling prowess were been tasked with tuning the MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension arrangements.
“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,” said Chris Perry, vice president of Chevrolet marketing. “Its combination of great design, fun driving experience and the latest connectivity features create a serious competitor with a fun spirit.”
Domestic buyers can expect a raft of features that are rarities in this segment. Included among these are turn-by-turn navigation, XM Satellite Radio, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, remote start, heated front seats and a sunroof. Comprehensive safety features include 10 standard airbags, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and automatic crash response.
GM is very proud to announce that the Sonic is the only car in its segment that is built in the US. Production of the Sonic will take place at General Motors Orion Assembly Center in Michigan. Approximately 1 000 jobs will be restored by the time production begins later this year. “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.”
A GMSA spokesperson has confirmed that the Sonic will be making its way to South Africa in 2012 but that the Aveo name will be retained. Details on the engine options and standard specification are not yet available for the local line-up.