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Chevrolet Sonic at the 2011 Detroit auto show

Mon, 10 Jan 2011 00:00:00 -0800

One of GM's numerous debuts at the 2011 Detroit auto show was this: the Chevrolet Sonic. Shown as a hatchback and four-door notchback, it's one of The General's weapons to tackle the now-globalised Ford Fiesta and its ilk.

Good spot. That's because this is the US-spec Aveo - albeit shown in US-only notchback form as well as the more Euro-flavoured hatchback. They've switched names and called it the Sonic for America.

The four-door pictured won't come to Europe, where we'll have the three- and five-door Aveo hatchbacks shown at the Paris show in 2010.

The US-spec car shown at the NAIAS today is powered by a 1.8-litre four-pot petrol engine, but there's a downsized, turboed-up 1.4 with a not insubstantial 138bhp. Five-speed manual or six-speed autos are available for the US market.

GM types are confident the loud-sounding Sonic has more interior space than the Fiesta, and the back seats flop flat.

The press blurb suggests that the Corvette engineers had a hand in its MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension. It'll certainly have its work cut out, as the Fiesta is one of our favourite small hatches and a hoot to drive.

The Chevy Aveo comes to Europe in May 2011, with right-hand drive UK-spec cars landing in time for the 1 September new reg plate.

We'll get a 1.2, 1.4 or 1.6 petrol engine, or GM's commonplace 1.3 turbodiesel.

By Tim Pollard