2012 Chevrolet Sonic Turbo Gets Six-Speed Automatic

2012 Chevy Sonic

The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic's optional 138-horsepower, turbocharged 1.4-liter engine can now be paired with a six-speed automatic transmission, according to the carmaker.

The pairing delivers 27/37 mpg city/highway and 31 mpg combined. This is slightly better than the base 1.8-liter with a six-speed automatic, which gets 25/35/28 mpg. Previously, the 1.4-liter turbo was available only with a six-speed manual transmission and achieved 29/40 mpg. The improved ratings aren't enough to beat the scores from the best automatic transmissions in the subcompact field, such as the Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent, which both are rated 33 mpg combined. Even the long-in-tooth 2012 Honda Fit gets the same 31 mpg figure as the Sonic turbo.

During our testing, we thought straight-line acceleration with the 1.4-liter turbo felt no better than the Sonic's 1.8-liter, at least with the manual transmission. (The technical difference is about 0.37 seconds, from zero to 60 mph.) The upgraded engine is a $700 option for the higher-level LT and LTZ trims with a six-speed manual. Chevy didn't mention the pricing for the automatic variant just yet.

Comments 

sheth

if you're going to compare cars you need to mention power and mileage. You failed to note that fiesta and Fit have significantly less power and torque than the 1.4L turbo and the Fiesta is one of the slowest cars in this segment- if not the slowest. Accent has similar hp but much less torque from its NA four cylinder.

It's a disappointing drop from the manual version, but I agree with sheth that it's impressive given the promised power.

The 1.8-liter is a really sorry engine, and if my drive of the Cruze is any indication, the 1.4-liter will make a big difference for this car.

George

If you're going to compare cars, you need to mention that the Sonic weighs more than its marketplace competition, so any purported power/torque advantage is nullified.

sheth

incorrect George. In testing Sonic has proven faster than almost every car in this class- ESPECIALLY the Fiesta and Mazda2. The Fit with a manual is about as fast as the Sonic turbo manual. With an automatic rest assured the Fit would be well over 9 seconds and well behind the Sonic. Besides, independent of weight more power typically means some trade off in terms of mileage. Some of the Sonic's competitors have anemic NA fours that do a mediocre job of propelling those vehicles.

Slinky

Sheeth
These are not sports cars. They are all slow and anemic. The point with these cars is to get the best mpg.

Slinky

I can get 40 mpg in my Corolla.

sheth

slinky:

Stop making excuses. You need passing power in EVERY vehicle if you plan to drive on the highway. No one wants a car that can barely get out of its own way, even if its an efficient car. And to act like 2mpg will make a huge difference in one's budget is ridiculous. You would barely notice the difference between a 31mpg car and a 33mpg car financially.

sheth

If you drive 50mph you can beat the EPA highway mileage in many cars, not just corolla. The corolla is rated at 34-35mpg hwy by the EPA- well below the most efficient Sonic- and the Sonic is faster as well.

Slinky

If I set my cruise on 70 I can get 40 mpg.

sheth

Slinky, if you can beat epa in one car you can do it in another. I will just saw its highly unlikely that doing 70 would yield mileage 6mpg higher than the epa rating. If that is true toyota needs to retest the corolla and give it correct ratings.

Slinky

I don't care if you believe me. That's what I get hwy only with no city miles.

Slinky

EPA ratings are only estimates. I had the opposite effect in a truck I owned. It got less than the window sticker stated. I could never achieve the ratings city or hwy no matter how easy I drove it.

George

Car and Driver did a test with the new Sonic Turbo. It was NOT the fastest or quickest despite the so called power/torque advantage. The extra weight is the problem.
Now GM is making the same mistage it already made with the Cruze [and somewhat fixed], gearing. The automatic is too shortly geared. I'd like 5th gear to be 25mph per 1K rpm, 6th would be 3,000rpm at 100mph.
The stick gearing leaves a big whole in the real world, especially for passing. 2nd goes to 63mph, 3rd goes to 99mph.
3rd should be shorted to only hit 80mph, 4th should not be the top speed gear.

sheth

George:

You are right- I think the Sonic was the 2nd fastest in the test in spite of being FAR heavier than the other cars in this class. The Sonic's torque advantage means it will outrun most cars in this class in spite of being heavier. And the power is just "claimed", its SAE certified so it really is making the advertised power.

BObbY

I can get 40MPG in our 5000+lbs 4x4 VW Toureg TDI no problem

I like the new Sonic. I was at the GM plant in lake orion last week and saw the new Turbo 6-speed. It has to be better than the Aveo. Here's some of the pictures i took at the plant: http://davewirth.blogspot.com/2012/04/2012-gm-cars-chevy-sonic-and-buick.html

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