- - Thursday, September 22, 2011

DETROIT — The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic with the Ecotec 1.4L turbo delivers an EPA-estimated 40 mpg on the highway with a six-speed manual transmission and city fuel economy of 29 mpg.

The Sonic’s highway fuel economy makes it one of the most fuel-efficient small cars in the market, on par with the 2012 Ford Fiesta SFE and the 2012 Hyundai Accent. Along with getting 40 mpg, the 1.4L turbo Sonic can reach 60 mph in 8.2 seconds.

Sonic changes the sub-compact stereotype and puts an end to the term ‘econobox,’” said Joaquin Nuno-Whelan, Sonic vehicle line director and vehicle chief engineer. “The 1.4L turbo saves money at the gas pump and is a ridiculously fun car to drive. So, our buyers are getting a safe, exciting and fuel efficient car at a great price with the 1.4L turbo.”

The Sonic is the only sub-compact car currently built in America. Production began earlier this summer at General Motors Orion Assembly facility in Lake Orion, Mich.

The Sonic’s 1.4L Ecotec turbocharged engine is SAE certified at 138 horsepower (103 kW) - 18 horsepower (14 kW) more than Ford Fiesta and is essentially the same engine used in the Chevrolet Cruze in a smaller, lighter package designed for a greater feeling of performance. The turbo engine is also rated at 148 ft.-lbs. (200 Nm) of torque between 2,500 and 4,900 rpm. The wide rpm range for the maximum torque - a specific trait of turbocharged engines - helps the engine deliver a better driving experience and performance. Premium design elements give the engine smoothness and durability. Features include:

• Low-mass hollow-frame cast iron block

• Dual overhead camshafts with continuously variable valve timing

• Chain-driven cams

• Roller-finger camshaft followers

• Piston-cooling oil jets and integrated oil cooler

• Variable-flow oil pump

• Electronically controlled thermostat.

The 1.4L’s turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold, for reduced weight and greater packaging flexibility. 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 Sonic’s 1.8L manual gets fuel economy of 26 mpg city and 35 mpg highway and the automatic gets 25 mpg city and 35 mpg highway.

“Our engineers wanted to bring a car with an athletic feel and an excellent ride and handling to a segment not known for excitement,” said Nuno-Whelan. “Combine these driving characteristics with the 40-mpg fuel economy rating and we think we have a winning combination for Sonic drivers.”

The suggested retail price of the Sonic begins at $14,495 including destination but excluding tax, title, license and dealer fees.

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