Hype surrounding this year's Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show next month started months ago, and automakers and aftermarket companies alike have been previewing the vehicles that attendees will be able to see on the show floor. Chevrolet now can officially be added to that list, as it recently announced seven "performance-oriented concepts" it's bringing to the show.

Three Sonic concepts will bow. The Chevrolet Performance Sonic RS is faster and handles and stops better than the stock car. A cold-air intake and high-flow exhaust system gives it a bit more power, a track-tuned suspension lowers the car, which rides on 18-inch wheels, and endows it with better handling, and the Wilwood front brake calipers improve braking performance. Visual enhancements round out the package, some of which you can see in the photo gallery. Follow on below to read about the rest.

The Personalization Sonic is an exercise in how Chevy can accessorize.

The Ricky Carmichael All-Activity Sonic has all of the upgrades of the Sonic RS, but adds turbocharger upgrades to increase its output. The other enhancements are mostly cosmetic, such as boardshort material used for the seat inserts, but it also gets an upgraded sound system and Thule roof rack. Check out the photo gallery to see it. Also, you can see Carmichael show off the car in a video below.

The Personalization Sonic (seen at top) is an exercise in how Chevy can accessorize the little hatch. It will start out as a somewhat unassuming Sonic with some cosmetic upgrades and a Kicker 200-Watt amp and 200-Watt powered subwoofer. But over the course of the show, it will receive performance upgrades including a Borla exhaust system, the aforementioned sport suspension and Wilwood brakes, and an 18-inch wheel-and-tire package.

The Spark EV concept (read our review of it here) has been advertised as a budget car with smile-inducing performance (hey, with 400 pound-feet of torque, it has more torque than a certain Italian exotic, the Ferrari 458 Italia), but Chevy intends to up the ante with the Spark EV Tech Performance. Check it out in the photo gallery. It builds on the stock car's performance with a "unique power-delivery algorithm that enhances acceleration." Stronger axles are equipped to cope with the high amount of torque, which is put to the ground through tires wrapped around billet aluminum wheels.

Rounding out Chevy's showing are the Urban Cool Impala concept, Malibu LTZ concept and Personalization Cruze Diesel concept. The Impala concept gets custom-painted grille accents and "performance-style" ground effects and 20-inch wheels in the same color as the grille accents. The Malibu concept is equipped with performance-style ground effects, too, and 19-inch wheels, though it also gets a cold-air intake and a Borla exhaust system. The Personalization Cruze Diesel has a ground-effects package by 3dCarbon and revised front fascia and chin spoiler; a Kicker sound system and ambient lighting spruce up the interior.



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Chevrolet Previews Performance-Oriented SEMA Concepts

Sonic, Impala and Spark EV get aftermarket makeovers

DETROIT – Chevrolet today previewed several performance-oriented concepts of some of the brand's most popular passenger cars, including the Sonic and all-new Impala. The cars will debut at the SEMA Show, Nov. 5-8, in Las Vegas. It's the world's largest convention of automotive aftermarket parts and accessories.

Chevrolet also showed a personalized version of the Malibu, which features new and enhanced technologies for 2014 that improve efficiency and personal connectivity. Stop/start engine technology contributes to 14-percent greater estimated city fuel economy (25 mpg), and new Siri with Eyes Free Mode and Text-to-Voice features allow hands-free texting via the available MyLink system.

"Chevrolet's 2014 passenger car lineup is the strongest and most competitive in the brand's history, offering customers a wide range of great-looking, great-driving and well-connected choices," said Chris Perry, vice president, Chevrolet Marketing. "A five-year plan to completely remake Chevy's car lineup is resonating with customers, who are finding value in the performance, quality and technologies that complement their lifestyles."

The SEMA concepts feature accessories designed to allow personalization while maintaining excellent refinement and ride characteristics. General Motors' engineers developed most of the accessories shown on the concept vehicles. Some of the accessories are available from Chevrolet dealers. Others are being evaluated for production.

The enhancements are designed, engineered, tested and backed by Chevrolet to be installed by a Chevrolet dealer, which maintains the vehicle warranty – a claim aftermarket manufacturers cannot make.

A pair of "super" Sonics leads the charge into SEMA, each packing enhancements for their respective 1.4L turbo engines, along with suspension, exterior and interior accessories – and distinctive color-and-graphic packages.

Chevrolet Performance Sonic RS concept

This performance-oriented Sonic RS concept draws on the legacy of Chevrolet's high-performance vehicles yet reimagined for a new generation. It features engine performance, suspension/brakes and appearance upgrades developed by Chevrolet Performance engineers and designed to be installed by Chevrolet dealers.

- A Stage Kit, cold-air induction and a high-flow exhaust system allow the 1.4L turbo engine to produce more power for a more exciting driving experience
- The engine enhancements are complemented by a track-tuned suspension system and higher-performance brake upgrade kit, featuring Wilwood front calipers
- The suspension kit lowers the ride height for a sportier stance
- Chevrolet Performance 18-inch, split-five-spoke wheels complement the lowered look with aggressive style
- Lemon Peel Yellow exterior with blue graphics; tinted headlamps and fog lamps; blue-accented window moldings and rear hatch trim
- Additional exterior accessories, including color-tinted grille trim, headlamp rings and mirror caps are available from Chevrolet dealers and complement custom graphics and other accents that can be easily duplicated by creative owners
- Re-trimmed seats in black leather, with Lark Yellow contrast stitching.

Ricky Carmichael All-Activity Sonic concept

The All-Activity Sonic concept returns for the 2013 SEMA Show – this time, it adds something the American Motorcycle Association champion, X-Games gold medalist and NASCAR racer Ricky Carmichael can truly appreciate: An all-new performance package with parts from Chevrolet Performance. Highlights include:

- Chevrolet Performance 1.4L Turbo Stage Kit with high-flow exhaust
- Chevrolet Performance cold-air induction
- Chevrolet Performance suspension kit with lowered ride height
- Chevrolet Performance brake package with Wilwood front calipers
- Chevrolet Performance 18-inch wheel-and-tire package featuring custom gloss black with green lip

The exterior is painted satin black that is pearlized with blue, along with custom graphics. The Sonic's body is accented with a concept rear wing spoiler, smoked lamp housings, ground effects package and a unique grille. It also wears a THULE roof rack.

Inside, FOX Racing boardshort material is used on the seat inserts, which complements dark green and black leather instrument panel trim and door trim with lime green piping. A matching, green/black-trimmed flat-bottom steering wheel continues the theme. Additional interior features include an upgraded sound system, a Chevrolet Accessories pedal kit and a custom aluminum shift knob.

Personalization Sonic concept

Equipped with several performance enhancements, this Victory Red concept represents an undeniably fun take on Sonic – with a larger emphasis on personalization. Highlights include:

- Body-color door handles with chrome stripe
- Chrome liftgate and mirror cap trim
- Chevrolet Accessory exterior graphics package
- Chevrolet Accessory door sill plates and all-weather floor mats
- Chevrolet Accessory footwell lighting package and pedal covers
- Kicker® 200-Watt DSP amp with 200-Watt powered subwoofer (also available with Chevrolet MyLink).

Some exterior details will be changed during the SEMA Show, giving the car a different appearance throughout the weeklong convention. It also features:

- Borla performance exhaust
- Chevrolet Performance suspension kit (with lowered ride height)
- Chevrolet Performance brake package with Wilwood front calipers
- Chevrolet Performance 18-inch wheel-and-tire package.
- Spark EV Tech Performance concept

A pure-electric urban mini-car designed for fun driving, easy ownership and head-turning style, the Spark EV uses no gasoline, but its GM-built motor and drive unit deliver 400 lb-ft of instant torque – more than the classic 1969 Camaro SS muscle car with a 350 V-8 – for exhilarating acceleration. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds.

The Tech Performance concept builds on Spark EV's performance with a unique power-delivery algorithm that enhances acceleration. Stronger axles support the greater power – helping transform this electric mini car into a mini-muscle car. Additional features:

- Custom exterior color and graphics, a unique backlit Chevrolet "bowtie" emblem in the grille and performance billet aluminum wheels
- Chevrolet Accessory sill plates, floor mats and pedal covers
- Body-color trim plates and green stitching on the shifter boot and steering wheel
- A military-style flip-up "activation switch" on the instrument panel adds a fun, high-performance-oriented touch of style to this plug-in performer
- Lightweight features that enhance performance

Urban Cool Impala concept

All-new for 2014, the Impala's aggressive good looks contributed to a 64-percent rise in retail sales in September. The Urban Cool concept builds on the Impala LTZ with custom-painted grille accents, Chevrolet Accessories concept ground effects and Chevrolet Accessories concept 20-inch wheels painted to match the grille accents.

A lowered stance further accents the sporty style while the LTZ's high-intensity discharge headlamps and light-emitting diode, or LED, daytime running lamps lend a more sophisticated appearance. Inside, the trim is painted high-gloss piano black and anodized low-gloss black, contrasting with Sky Cool Gray leather-trimmed seats that also feature perforated leather inserts and orange stitching.

The Urban Cool concept rocks with the Impala's available 11-speaker Bose® Centerpoint® Surround Sound System, which connects to the Chevrolet MyLink system via an eight-inch-diagonal color touch screen.

Malibu LTZ concept

With a raft of technology, comfort and refinement enhancements, as well as a new front-end design, the 2014 Malibu takes on one of the industry's most competitive segments with greater roominess, greater efficiency and greater connectivity. The Malibu LTZ SEMA concept delivers greater style, too, with performance-style ground effects and Chevrolet Accessories 19-inch wheels with a Sterling Silver finish. A Borla exhaust system lends a throatier note to the 259-hp, 2.0L turbocharged engine. A concept Stage Kit and cold-air induction system support greater performance, too, from an engine that already delivers 295 lb-ft of torque, the most in its class.

Personalization Cruze Diesel concept

A distinctive ground effects package by 3dCarbon, as well as an updated front fascia and chin spoiler give this Cruze Diesel concept a fresh, athletic aesthetic that supports its 258 lb-ft of torque (350 Nm) – and 0-60 capability of 8.6 seconds. Inside, the sound system is upgraded with Kicker® Audio components and an ambient lighting package has been added. With its 2.0L clean turbo-diesel engine, the Cruze Diesel offers EPA-estimated 46 mpg on the highway – better than any non-hybrid or gasoline-powered passenger car in America. It can travel 717 miles on a single tank, or about 10 hours of highway driving.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      Andrew Pappas
      • 1 Year Ago
      This video is exactly why top gear has a tame racing driver that doesn't talk. He told me nothing of substance. I feel the sonic is one of the best b segment cars on the market. I'm just wondering when they are going to put a real engine in it. That 1.6t in Europe would be quite sweet, without much of a mpg penalty
      • 1 Year Ago
      [blocked]
      Jim R
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd rather see a Sonic with more power. Like, 200 or so under the hood. Call it the SuperSonic. Thank you, I'll be here all week. Tip your waitress, try the fish!
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Jim R
        [blocked]
      ravenosa
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow. Not a big Chevy fan, but it's like a less-generic and more sporty version of the Rabbit/GTI. Good job, GM!
      TruthHertz
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'd like to see a Spark that can get to 60 mph quicker than my 4 cylinder daily drive finishes the quarter mile.
      Matt
      • 1 Year Ago
      Take everything added to the Chevrolet Performance Sonics RS along with the turbo upgrades from the All-Activity Sonic and turn that into a Sonic SS. I love what the Fiesta ST is, can do, and represents but I think the Sonic is the more attractive car. I'd definitely put a Sonic SS on my shortlist.
      Clipper44
      • 1 Year Ago
      Anybody over the age of 6 who likes that car is a tool.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Clipper44
        [blocked]
      skodt
      • 1 Year Ago
      um, rack professional speaking here. the thule crossbars are about 3 years outdated. and clip-into-doorjamb type rack is about as far from custom as you can get. all the money spent on other 'tune-ups', yet you use a 3 year old off-the-shelf roof rack
        mycommentemail
        • 1 Year Ago
        @skodt
        On top of that, Thule doesn't even make racks for the Sonic. So it turns out that they had to drill into the roof to install these anyway. Seems like a doubly bad idea: Generic racks that require holes regardless. That's why I bought Rhino Racks for mine.
      csrecord
      • 1 Year Ago
      They found a way to make them uglier.
      Scooter
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why bother waiting for SEMA?
      barkeep
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Sonic would have looked at least 10x better without that stupid roof rack.
      foxtrot685
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow, the Cruze's 18" wheels actually look good on the Sonic! GM should consider offering them as OEM equipment on it.
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