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    Thread: Chevrolet Sonic fuel economy: 40 MPG highway with 1.4 turbo, 6-speed manual

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      Administrator Daox's Avatar
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      Chevrolet Sonic fuel economy: 40 MPG highway with 1.4 turbo, 6-speed manual

      GM hasn't "formally" announced what the next gen Aveo/Sonic fuel consumption numbers will be.

      But in a YouTube presentation of the Sonic 1.4 turbo hatchback, Margaret Brooks, GM Small Car Marketing Director, says it'll be good for 40 mpg (US).

      In terms of fuel economy, we've said that our 1.4 liter turbo is going to get 40 MPG. That is clearly our most fun to drive powertrain with 40 MPG, I don't think there's anything on the planet where you can have more fun getting 40 MPG than the Sonic.
      We'll presume that's the highway rating, though she doesn't say so.

      FYI, 40 MPG (US) = 48 MPG (Imperial) = 5.9 L / 100 km

      • Ford Fiesta is the current subcompact fuel economy leader (non-hybrid) in the U.S., rated at 40 MPG highway for the SFE model. That's with a 120 hp 1.6 L engine.


      • Note that the Chevrolet Cruze, with the same 1.4t engine, and ~500 lbs more weight than the Sonic is rated for 42 MPG highway. (Though that's the ECO model, which has a few extra efficiency mods that the regular Cruze - and likely the Sonic - won't have.)


      • 2012 Hyundai Accent - Hyundai is also competing for the MPG crown with its next gen subcompact hatch and sedan. That car, unveiled at the Montreal Auto Show last week will have a 138 hp (same as the Cruze/Sonic) 1.6L direct injection gasoline engine, and it'll probably squeeze out low 40's on the highway. In Montreal, the company is saying the Accent will be good for 4.7 L/100 km on the highway (source), which actually translates to 50 MPG (US). But that figure may represent the Canadian fuel economy test figure, which is more optimistic than the EPA's numbers.

      So it looks like the Sonic will at least tie for best highway MPG in the subcompact segment... for a while.

      YouTube video with Margaret Brooks' comments about the Sonic MPG:

      YouTube - 2012 Chevrolet Sonic - 2011 Detroit Auto





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      Timing belt broke, do I keep it? thehunterooo's Avatar
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      people with cruze's say they are getting like 38 mpg with the 1.4t, is the sonic lighter? Im sure it could manage over 40 with ease

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      I'll keep it and add a turbo Pontiac1976's Avatar
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      That Funny that show 1.4 turbo & a 5 speed
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      Still love my daily driver Thymeclock's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Daox View Post
      GM hasn't "formally" announced what the next gen Aveo/Sonic fuel consumption numbers will be.

      But in a YouTube presentation of the Sonic 1.4 turbo hatchback, Margaret Brooks, GM Small Car Marketing Director, says it'll be good for 40 mpg (US).

      We'll presume that's the highway rating, though she doesn't say so.
      It's probably safe to assume that it is with a manual transmission and that it is the highway rating. As for what the city rating is, "you don't want to know".

      Considering that my '09 Aveo gets 37 hwy with A/T and the A/C on, that's no big improvement. But soon as you are no longer driving at highway speeds the MPG becomes dismally disappointing.

      Of course they can always invoke the ultimate, all purpose disclaimer: "Your mileage may vary".

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      Administrator MetroMPG's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by thehunterooo View Post
      people with cruze's say they are getting like 38 mpg with the 1.4t, is the sonic lighter? Im sure it could manage over 40 with ease
      It's supposedly ~500 lbs lighter than the Cruze, according to some unnamed GM person. (But they didn't say which Cruze. The Eco version is ~200 lbs lighter than ther other Cruze models.)

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      I'll keep it and add a turbo
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      Aerodynamics, overdrive percentage, tire friction, and final drive ratio will play a significant role in delivering highway mileage. As with the present car– paying attention to certain key details could well pay-off in mileage improvements- picking up where the factory left off. If possible whether ordering the car new or buying a "new" used version from the dealer- specifying a wheel tire package geared towards mileage rather than outright "performance" would address the tire friction point and if approached by working the choice into the deal could mean not paying extra to do so.

      Ordering the correct options- ( live in a balmy area?- consider a sunroof and no a/c ), wind-up windows, 5 speed ( didn't they announce a manual 6 speed option?), and hatchback and you would also assist the mileage quest while getting a better bargain up front. Overdrive levels would directly relate to whether the manual trans were a 5 or a 6 speed final drive would relate to the manufacturer's choice based upon the weight and engine characteristics. If following the current trend from the 2010 or 2011 model, the 4th and 5th gears having a higher overdrive ratio vs changing the final drive ratio itself ( with the similar- though not the same- results ).

      Aerodynamic changes would be fairly simple. The cut-outs for the lower drive lights could be plexied over or filled in with rolled aluminum sheet. Slightly smaller ( shorter and less tall ) oem or aftermarket mirrors and relocating/shortening the radio mast and extending the belly pan ( if none is there from the factory ) would be other relatively inexpensive and easy ways to improve fuel consumption at speed. Speaking of "at speed"- in any car- say even the Prius or Insight, you are going to get "disappointing results" compared to factory claims if you regularly exceed 65mph. Tire friction, engine rpm's, and aerodynamics conspire together to decrease mileage in roughly 5% increments for every 5 mph above 55-ish-60 and increases once you get above 65-ish- 70 depending on car and drive-train type. Toyota claimed 60 mpg on past Prius models. Prius owners were up in arms with 45 mpg real world returns. Ever see an average Prius on the freeway? 70 plus is the norm. Assuming a strictly linear 5% reduction for every 5 mph increase over 55 that means a 15% reduction at 70. That equates to 51 mpg instead of 60 as an example and without taking into account the increased aerodynamic drag from each successive 5 mph jump over the previous.

      Things to think about.

      Steve
      Last edited by Avezoh; 02-16-2011 at 07:25 PM.

    7. #7
      I'll keep it and add a turbo
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      Ok, a quick glance at the specs (and the title of this segment!) answers some of my questions and may answer yours as well. Regarding 40 mpg and whether that is a significant move ahead or not–
      Following the trend of auto makers the past 10 to 12 years yes and no. Despite adding content- gps- traction control- a/c as standard- the highway mileage has actually increased. Following the trend of the past 3 years- decreasing engine size, increasing gear numbers, improving aerodynamics, all appear to come together to allow GM to advertise 40 mpg. The downside- is this slight increase over the present Aveo despite bring out a completely new car with a different engine and drive train and more aero appearance is not a real move forward in terms of getting a direct replacement for the current car. The reason for the content"improvement" is pretty easy to decipher.
      The move from amortized costs on a platform that has been largely the same for 9 years and built by a workforce that draws presumably a lower cost per unit wage means that the shift to a US built replacement almost required both a name change and a marketing shift upward that allows GM to make money. To justify that expense it's fairly standard to offer more "features" or "content" to sell the greater cost of buying.
      For someone interested in buying the spiritual and low cost per mile replacement for the Aveo, the Sonic isn't it. The new Spark probably is.

      Steve
      Last edited by Avezoh; 02-16-2011 at 07:54 PM.

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      thats pretty well said steve. i dont know if youve come across it, but the new aveo is also bigger and heavier as well. so while that makes those numbers "better" with those factors. the fun of a small, nimble, lightweight car is gone. now the 1.4t with the 6 speed in our body style is what i was contemplating trying, but the swap is as much as a lnf swap currently. although i am led to believe it would drop in and be plug and play for ecotec owners, wonder how the body harness pins out for etecII to ecotec aveos.


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      I'll keep it and add a turbo
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      Quote Originally Posted by petrified.rabbit View Post
      thats pretty well said steve. i dont know if youve come across it, but the new aveo is also bigger and heavier as well. so while that makes those numbers "better" with those factors. the fun of a small, nimble, lightweight car is gone. now the 1.4t with the 6 speed in our body style is what i was contemplating trying, but the swap is as much as a lnf swap currently. although i am led to believe it would drop in and be plug and play for ecotec owners, wonder how the body harness pins out for etecII to ecotec aveos.
      I'd be really excited to see if the 1.4T is also offered in the upcoming Spark- that would be a factory version of what you propose doing with a pre-09 Aveo.

      Steve

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      I'll keep it and add a turbo
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      Of course, I'd have to get past that funky nose on the Spark- it would have to be a little pocket-rocket to overcome that ungainly headlamp/hoodline combination.
      Steve





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