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Vehicle Preview: The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic The biggest news in small cars arrives this fall!

Last updated 6 years ago

Hey Baltimore, get ready for big news in the small car arena this fall when the Chevrolet Sonic arrives. The new, American-built Chevy small car’s name seems quite appropriate for two reasons: First, with its performance, roominess, generous equipment and great value, the Sonic is going to make a big noise in its segment, yet the Sonic is also going to deliver a sonically smooth ride. 

Today, small car buyers are demanding more: More performance, more room, more comfort and more value. Chevrolet answered those demands in the compact segment with the new Chevy Cruze, and come this fall, it addresses those needs quite smartly in the subcompact realm with the new Sonic. For example, the Sonic will offer more power and room than the Ford Fiesta. 

The story behind the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic packs multiple compelling plot lines. First, the Sonic will be the only car in its class built in the United States. A thoroughly upgraded factory in Orion Township, Michigan is not only bringing back 1,000 jobs to the metropolitan Detroit area, it’s doing so with a small car developed with international input. 

Consider the next storyline for the Sonic a tie between styling and performance. Sharply creased designs, in both four-door sedan and five-door hatch models, envelope a chassis and powertrain engineered for both fun and economy. With the dual-element grille and round taillamps, the look is unmistakably – and rather boldly – Chevrolet. You’ll have a choice between the same two Ecotec powertrains used in the Cruze - a naturally aspirated 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a 1.4-liter turbocharged four. 

As in the Cruze, the turbo 1.4 will deliver an impressive 138 hp and the naturally aspirated 1.8, an estimated 135 hp. The bigger difference will be in peak torque with the turbo delivering a solid 148 lb/ft between 1,850 rpm and 4,900 rpm. Couple that to the standard six-speed manual transmission and factor in sport suspension with available 17-inch tires, and you have what car buffs like to call a “pocket rocket.” In the 1.8-liter models, you get 90 percent of the car’s 123 lb/ft of torque from 2,400 rpm to 6,500 rpm, meaning it’s going to feel quite zippy in every day driving. The 1.8-liter engine will be teamed with your choice of a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. 

The Sonic will be lighter than the Cruze, so the Sonic turbo is going to be the hot performer in its segment. The best a Ford Fiesta offers, by comparison, is 120 hp and 112 lb/ft of torque, and a six-speed manual transmission is not available. A Honda Fit offers even less power. 

The next big storyline for Sonic is big, indeed: Room. Chevrolet designers promise the Sonic sedan will offer segment-best trunk capacity, and both the sedan and hatchback will offer more passenger room and cargo room than the Fiesta. A key point to note here is that in the Sonic hatchback, the rear seat will fold flat, which is not the case in the Fiesta. 

The adjective “big” also precedes the words “safety” and “value” with the 2012 Chevy Sonic. This little car packs 10 airbags to offer optimal protection for its five passengers, plus OnStar® with Automatic Crash Response. The Sonic will offer six months of OnStar Turn-by-Turn navigation for free and maximum convenience with the MyChevrolet mobile app and OnStar MyLink vehicle connectivity. On the infotainment front, Sonic will offer Bluetooth, XM Satellite Radio and a USB port. 

The 2012 Chevy Sonic will offer heated front seats and a sunroof, luxuries you won’t find in the Honda Fit. Like the Cruze, the Sonic will also surprise and delight with high-quality interior finishes. Unlike other small cars that banish you to a bland sea of gray or black, the Sonic will offer a choice of two colors for the mid-instrument panel - dark titanium and brick. On manual-shift models, the chrome-finished shiftknob adds a sporty touch. 

The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic arrives at Jerry’s Chevrolet in Baltimore this fall. If you or someone you know is in the market for a high-value small car and want lots of room, style, performance and safety, wait for it: Sonic is the one.


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