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Chevrolet Sonic at the 2011 Detroit auto show

Published: 10 January 2011

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.

Looks like the Euro-spec Aveo...

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.

What powers the Chevy Sonic?

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.

But will the Sonic drive as well as it looks?

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

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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