The body of the Sonic utilizes the heavy-duty steel in the frame rails, around the door openings and roof supports. In fact, high-strength steel is used throughout 60 percent of the body structure. Couple that with ten airbags, and the interior of the Sonic is a relatively safe place to be in the event of an accident. All of those airbags are controlled by a system of sensors that also monitor the angle of travel, speed and points of impact.
Click past the jump to see how the Sonic handles an offset frontal impact at 40 miles per hour. Note that the videos look small, but there's an option to view them in full screen. Enjoy!
Front, side and rollover crashes considered during engineering for improvements
DETROIT – The new 2012 Chevrolet Sonic comes with an array of safety features and sophisticated electronic control systems engineered to make it one of the safest vehicles in the small-car segment.
The backbone of Sonic's safety design is its exceptionally strong body structure consisting of a single welded unit of full-length, high-strength frame rails and a safety cage. Welded tubular-section members are used to frame door openings and to support the roof while steel members reinforce the doors.
Nearly 60 percent of the body structure, as well as the four-mount hydro-formed engine cradle, uses high-strength steel. Ultra-high-strength steel is strategically integrated in the forward portion of the rockers and the center cross bar. The Sonic's engine cradle distributes energy in frontal and side impacts. Together with the front bumper system and the engine compartment rails, the engine cradle bars absorb the brunt of a frontal crash.
Reinforced front hinge and A- and B-pillar zones help maintain the integrity of the passenger compartment. Should the vehicle roll over in a crash, its roof structure is designed to withstand forces more than four times the car's weight. A releasable pedal assembly can reduce the risk of injuries to the lower extremities.
Sensors that control the deployment of 10 standard airbags is mounted into Sonic's structure. The sensing and diagnostic module receives data from the car's sensors and establishes the severity of the impact and whether to deploy the airbags. The Sonic features:
Dual-stage airbags for the driver and the front passenger
Roof-rail mounted head curtain airbags with rollover protection. The bags stay inflated longer than air bags developed only for side impacts, since rollover incidents can last longer. They also help keep occupants from being ejected.
Seat mounted side-impact airbags for front and outboard rear seat passengers are activated by sensors in the B-pillar and front door impact beams
A driver knee air bag and a segment-exclusive front passenger knee air bag can help reduce injury to lower extremities.
If the Sonic's onboard sensors register that the vehicle "tips up" on a flat road surface, the brakes are activated to reduce lateral force.
All five seating positions have three-point safety belts. Front safety belts include pretensioners and load limiters. The outboard rear seating positions are equipped with a LATCH system to help make attaching child seats easier.