Racetracks are fine locations for automakers to introduce new models to the press. Porsche
invited journalists to drive the current 911 GT3 at the Autodromo at Adria, for example. Ferrari
brought its 599 GTO to Italy's Mugello circuit. And now Chevrolet
has brought the 2012 Sonic Turbo, a subcompact five-door hatch, to Lucas Oil Raceway, a drag strip in a sleepy corner of Indianapolis, Indiana, mere miles from the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Okay, the "track" we're using is actually a temporary autocross course, the boundaries of which are defined by the winding access roads serving the nearby drag strip, and a smattering of orange pylons. Still, Chevy makes a bold statement by presenting its CHEVROLET AVEO
replacement -- a car destined to spend the majority of its miles getting 20-somethings to and from offices, homes, grocery stores, and concert venues -- here on a closed track. Getting straight to the point, Chevy rounds us up in front of the cars sitting on the damp asphalt circuit and tells us that the Sonic was designed to be the most fun-to-drive 40-mpg vehicle sold in the U.S. The collective ears of our assembled group perk up.
The Sonic is the first vehicle to be born from General Motor's all-new global small vehicle architecture, a front-wheel-drive platform that will underpin GM subcompacts on nearly every continent over the next several years. The Sonic's primary market is the U.S., and in fact, it's the only vehicle in its segment to be built in the States (right in good 'ol Orion Township, Michigan). Two bodystyles will be available: a four-door sedan and the five-door hatchback version we're spending most of our time with. Both are fun, and even aggressive-looking, with chiseled front ends and a rising waistline crease that runs from the front fender all the way back to the tail. Hatchback versions feature a rear door handle that's hidden in the blacked-out C-pillar, a la Nissan