New Sasol GTC cars set for thrills

The iconic Grand Prix Circuit will present a new challenge to the GTC drivers as they tackle the country’s fastest racetrack on June 16.

Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

Suzuki kicks off its new model assault with an all new Swift hatchback and standalone sedan called the Dzire.

Chev bids farewell to Aveo

2011-01-11 06:38

GOODBYE AVEO: Chevrolet launches its new Sonic to replace the Aveo moniker

Chevrolet’s Aveo moniker is being phased out in place of the US carmaker’s next-generation Sonic, unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show.

Chevrolet hopes to take on the Honda Jazz and Ford Fiesta with its new Sonic range, which will be built in the US.

Sporty(ier) design

Though the local Aveo range received a facelift in 2008, the new Sonic takes a major shift in terms of design. The new model sports aggressive styling cues compared to the current generation Aveo especially with its motorcycle-inspired headlights and redesigned honeycomb grille.

The two models are decidedly different with the sedan version having a more sedate box-shaped design and the hatchback featuring a more sporty design. Though even the sedan looks a lot more aggressive when compared to the tame design of the model it replaces.

At first glance, the five-door hatchback could be mistaken for a three-door due to the rear door handles being discreetly located in the C pillar area.

Cruze-based powertrains

In the US, Sonic will be offered in two variants - hatchback and sedan - with two Ecotec engine options (1.8-litre naturally aspirated, 1.4-litre turbo) derived from the Cruze.

Three transmissions options are currently available - a five-speed manual and six-speed automatic in the 1.8-litre with a six-speed manual gearbox in the 1.4-litre turbo.

The Ecotec 1.8-litre engine produces 101kW at 6300rpm and a maximum torque figure of 168Nm at 3800 rpm. The 1.4-litre turbo produces 103 at 4900rpm and delivers maximum torque of 200 Nm at 1850 rpm. Cheverolet has not released fuel consumption figures.

All models feature a MacPherson strut front suspension with coil springs and stabiliser bar, and a semi-independent, torsion beam compound link-type rear suspension.

Inside the Sonic receives the US carmakers latest family styling, taking many design cues from existing models within the brand such as the Cruze. It seems Chevrolet is set to tackle the competition through features offering remote start, heated front seats and sunroofs across the model range.

Safety has been improved with 10 airbags standard as well as a host of safety features such as anti-lock brakes and brake assist.

General Motors is set to begin US production of the new Sonic early in 2011 with the new model going on sale there later in 2011. GMSA's Caroline Thomas said the new model will be coming to South Africa.

"North America has elected to not use the Aveo name plate.  We will keep the name when we launch the Aveo in 2012 in our market," said Thomas.


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