Report Card: Sonic Youth
By Ed Sunkin
Chevy's Sonic Z-Spec Concept Kicks off 100 Years for GM
The Chevrolet Sonic Z-Spec Concept, used to help kick off Chevrolet's 100th year, has been called by its designers “a statement of what can be expected of this foundational brand in years to come.”
In fact, Mark Reuss, president, GM North America, said the Sonic “Blends the practicality of a small car with a passion for driving.”
Smaller than the Chevrolet Cruze, the Sonic will be available later this year in two body styles a sporty five-door, which was revealed in Paris in October 2010, and the stylish four-door, which made its debut January 10 at the North American Auto Show in Detroit.
According to Reuss, the Chevrolet Z-Spec Concept combines factory-engineered accessories with tuner parts for a striking personal statement.
“We introduced several Chevrolet Z-Spec concepts at SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) a short while back,” Reuss said. “It's a way to reach performance-oriented buyers with affordable packages to customize their car.
"So, whether you gravitate to the hot-hatch, the stylish sedan, or an easy-to-customize ride, the Chevrolet Sonic is designed to turn heads away from the more established nameplates when it arrives this fall.”
Highlights for the Upcoming Chevrolet Sonic
Available with an efficient Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine (and manual six-speed transmission) rated at an estimated 138 hp that delivers competitive fuel economy, or a standard Ecotec 1.8L engine paired with five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions.
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.
Engineers who also work on the Corvette tuned the Sonic’s confident 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 for well-planted stability and balance.