SEMA preview: Chevy to unveil the mature Sonic Dusk
Though the annual SEMA show can often feel like theater of the absurd for the automotive world, there are some pockets of normality flying below the radar.
One of them at next week's Las Vegas show will be a special version of Chevy's compact Sonic sedan that's headed for production. It's called the Sonic Dusk and it aims to add a bit of refinement to the sub-compact segment.
No seven layers of purple paint here, or chromed-out doors that open backwards. Just some low-key body kit pieces below the front and rear bumpers and along the sides of the car. A small rear spoiler sits on the trunk lid, while the car rolls on unique 18-inch alloy wheels. The Sonic Dusk is painted a color that Chevy calls "ashen grey."
The refinement continues inside with a two-tone cabin featuring suede inserts on otherwise leather seats. This Sonic also has Chevy's excellent MyLink infotainment system, which we were able to sample in a recent drive in the company's ultra-tiny car, the Spark.
This touchscreen system nicely integrates your phone and music library in an easy-to-use format and you also have the option of downloading a $50 app that uses the phone's connectivity for a real-time navigation system.
The model you see here has a six-speed manual transmission, though a six-speed automatic will also be offered. It will be connected to a 1.4-liter, turbocharged EcoTech engine (this engine is the optional unit on other Sonics). It has 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque; when we tested the Sonic in late 2011, we found this engine to be the best choice for the car. It gives you a nice combination of ample power and respectable fuel efficiency.
This Sonic Dusk sedan will be complemented in Chevy dealerships by the Sonic RS, a sporty, hatchback-only variant with the same turbo engine, but with tweaks to the suspension and transmission gearing to give the car more spice.