Hedgehogs, take note: Chevrolet names Aveo replacement "Sonic"

Consumer Reports News: December 10, 2010 04:02 PM

Chevrolet will name its upcoming Aveo replacement "Sonic" for North America. The Aveo name will continue to be used in other markets around the globe. The 2012 Sonic will be built in Michigan, and it will be joined later by a smaller Spark hatchback.

Official specifications have not been released, though we did preview this car at the Detroit auto show last year in the form of the Aveo RS (see our video). That subcompact seated five and was powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine shared with the Cruze. It is likely that in production form, the Sonic would use a lower-cost, naturally aspirated engine.

Chevrolet Aveo RS show car.

Chevrolet described the show-car interior as being motorcycle inspired. As you can see above, it is modern, angular, and modular, looking like a cross between the Ford Fiesta and Scion xB cabins.

Like the outgoing Aveo, the Sonic will be offered in four-door hatchback and sedan body styles.

The car looks promising, but we will reserve our enthusiasm until we drive it. After all, the retiring Aveo is not a good car. Handling is poor, ride jittery, steering imprecise, noise constant, and fuel economy disappointing. The overall test score is so low that you'd have to combine the scores for the Aveo hatch and sedan to cross the threshold to allow a recommendation. Plus, reliability has been poor. Even owners don't like it. Our latest owner satisfaction survey puts the two body styles in a tie for least satisfying among all vehicle types.

So whether or not the new name makes you want to drive to a Sonic drive-up burger joint, with a Sonic the Hedgehog air freshener swinging manically from the rearview mirror while listening to the Sonic Youth, a new name for this hatchback is a sharp idea. Plus, it sets up the small car perfectly for a performance variant, with the legendary "SS" badging—a Super Sonic.

Jeff Bartlett

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