In early August, General Motors confirmed through the now-traditional tweet format that the Chevrolet Spark minicar will be U.S.-bound sometime in mid-2012. Now comes word that before the Spark arrives Stateside, it will receive mild updates, including some necessary exterior design tweaks.

GMInsideNews reports that all North American-bound Spark models will sport a revised front fascia, including an enlarged lower air intake and altered front grille. The slight exterior modifications are reportedly required so that the Spark conforms to U.S. safety standards. The Spark will start at $14,495.

In other Chevy minicar news, GM announced today that at least one version of the slightly larger Sonic – the Ecotec 1.4L turbo with a six-speed manual transmission – will get an EPA-estimated 40 mpg on the highway and 29 in the city. MPG ratings for other trim levels are 25/35/28 (city/highway/combined) for the 1.8-liter paired with the six-speed automatic and, when given a five-speed manual transmission, 26/35/29. In addition, the 2012 Sonic has picked up a coveted Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety thanks to its excellent crash test results. Check out GM's official press release after the jump for more details.
Show full PR text
2012 Chevy Sonic with 1.4L Turbo Hits 40 MPG on Highway

2011-09-15

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 Nuño-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 Nuño-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.

To learn more about Sonic, visit the Chevy Sonic Facebook page.

About Chevrolet

Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 120 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Spark, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly to gas-free" solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended range. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 22 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Wrong, wrong and wrong. Who wrote this article? This same blog site has already posted the mostly correct information in another article. To the author: Check your facts!
        • 1 Day Ago
        Here's a link: http://www.autoblog.com/2010/08/18/general-motors-2011-vin-decoder-reveals-new-1-0l-1-2l-1-6l-fou/
      DuaLima EmpatTujuh
      • 3 Years Ago
      great car review post please visit: http://newcarenginereview.com
      John Levy
      • 3 Years Ago
      It seems like a cool little car and I'm all for buying American (even if the only thing American about it is the company that makes the profit) but why is40 mpg considered good for this car? Just a few articles above this is the one about the Sonic which is much larger and also gets 40 mpg and don't they have the Cruze Eco which gets 42?
      Guillaume Séguin
      • 3 Years Ago
      Interesting engine offer, when you see that in Europe we only get slow 1.0 and 1.2 engines :( For the craic I just wanted to check the local website, and forgot the www ... http://chevrolet.ie/ redirects to the Nissan website, Great stuff
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Guillaume Séguin
        Sneaky sneaky....
      Levine Levine
      • 3 Years Ago
      This car is the same old Daewo Aveo, a POS. Same old GM pushing the same old garbag under new sheet metal. GM bankruptcy in three years, again.
      Larz Larzen
      • 3 Years Ago
      Uffda. I smell Azztek.
      Ford Future
      • 3 Years Ago
      City mpg 29: sucks. This is why we need hybrids.
        lne937s
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Ford Future
        Comes to 33mpg combined, which is pretty good. What's bad is that it is for the more expensive engine combined with a manual transmission (which make up a sliver of actual cars sold in the US, despite the vocal minority of manual fans on this blog) So the standard engine automatic (CVT) Versa sedan or automatic Accent/Rio matches the 33 mpg combined of the more expensive engine manual Sonic... but somehow people and publications fixate on that special model highway mileage number and forget about combined mileage for the best selling version.
          lne937s
          • 1 Day Ago
          @lne937s
          Just realized this looking at the Chevy site, but the 1.4 isn't available with the Automatic. So the most common version would be the 1.8 Automatic. The 28 mpg combined rating of that model puts it 5 mpg behind the segment-leading non-hybrid automatic subcompacts.
      Rotation
      • 3 Years Ago
      These figures would be a disaster on a Spark because you can get a Sonic for that price and the Sonic will probably turn the same mpg figures. Luckily it doesn't seem to be a big problem because the press release indicates these are the figures for the Sonic, not the Spark.
      • 3 Years Ago
      These seem to be selling well in the EU. It's a car that sells as much of styling as anything else, that big bowtie really sticks out. I must have seen 4 or 5 on the Autobahn between Hamburg and the Netherlands last month.
        lne937s
        • 1 Day Ago
        In Europe, Chevrolet is a discount-brand of Korean-made cars-- they are selling on price, not style. For example, the Spark sells in the UK because it is £7000, while a Fiesta is £9500 and Ka is £8500. http://www.chevrolet.co.uk/cars/spark/
          lne937s
          • 1 Day Ago
          @lne937s
          What car is cheaper in the UK? Kia Picanto, Skoda Fabia, Suzuki Alto, and Hyundai i10 are all more expensive. The only car less expensive in the UK is a Malaysian-made Perodua.
          Rotation
          • 1 Day Ago
          @lne937s
          I'm sure you're right the price is the bigger factor. But the styling must come into play somehow, because there are even cheaper options available and people are skipping over those for some reason.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      The name "Spark" should be reserved for an EV.
      Pete K
      • 3 Years Ago
      Um, guys...Chevy Sonic... http://media.gm.com/content/media/us/en/gm/news.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2011/Sep/0915_sonic
        Ratieya
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Pete K
        Yep, wrong car. A 1.4 Turbo would be fun in the spark, though.
        William
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Pete K
        The Cruze Eco using the same engine gets 42 mpg hwy. The lager Sonic's pricing starts at $13,735. I'm with you Pete, Autoblog seems to have confused the two. If not, the Spark will be tough sell for Chevrolet. How many would choose a smaller vehicle which gets identical fuel economy but costs more? I'm not sure whether it's Chevy or Autoblog, but someone's got some 'splaining to do!
          Danaon
          • 1 Day Ago
          @William
          All of the information they listed is for the Sonic. While Chevy is bringing the Spark over it hasn't been rated for FE yet. Dunno how they got the two confused.
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