06 December 2012

Chevrolet Sonic launched in Malaysia - RM76,888

There is a new kid on the block, ready to mix with the class stalwart Toyota Vios, and will mess with the rest of the B Segment entries in Malaysian market namely Honda City and the recently launched Nissan Almera. This is the latest Chevrolet foray in the crowded but lucrative B Segment, and they have just launched a two-pronged attact with both sedan and hatchback bodystyles.

Compared to the mundane styling of its Japanese rivals, Sonic is best described as unconventional and definitely not the "pakcik" type. The front end is snout-like, with upright blunt grille flanks by the similarly upright, swept back headlight with its protruding lenses. While the side profile in unadventurous, the 5 door hatchback does get an Alfa-styled hidden rear door outside handle. The rear fascia is adorned by the intricately-styled rear light too.

In terms of size, Chevrolet Sonic sits on a class competitive 2,525mm wheelbase. The sedan measures 4,399mm in length right in the smack of City/Vios but dwarfed by the gigantic Almera, while the hatchback is shorter at 4,039mm. Width and height are1,735mm and 1,517mm respectively, identical for both variant. Though the interior space is identical, the sedan version can swallow 466L worth of luggage, while the hatchback measures 253L.

As for the interior design, Chevrolet Sonic dashboard carries the same theme as the one on the Cruze, albeit with the fabric insert removed. The centre cluster houses the integrated audio system with nice high-black screen while the manual aircon is operated via three rotary dials mounted on the lower, silvered panel. The motorcycle-inspired meter binnacle is also youthful in appearance.

Mechanically, there's only single engine variant, namely the 1,398cc ECOTEC engine, producing a reasonable 99hp@6,000rpm and 130Nm@4,000rpm of power and torque respectively. While its peers is marching ahead with their 4 speed automatic transmission (or 5 speed in case of Honda City), Sonic gets 6, good for on-paper marketing USP. Chassis setting is a class norm, consists of McPhersons strut and Torsion Beam setup. Tyre and rim sizes are 205/55 R16. Fuel tank capacity is 46L, while the official mixed cycle fuel consumption is 8.12L/100km. Performance-wise, Chevrolet Sonic can reach 100km/h in 12.9s, and will run out of puff at 175km/h.

Chevrolet Sonic is indeed very well-priced especially considering that it is CBU unit. Price starts at RM76,888 for the sedan while the hatchback is RM2,000 more. Another trump card that it can hold against its rival is the service internal, which is set at 15,000km or 9 month interval. Combined with the warranty period of 5 years or 200,000km, the ownership prospect looks very assuring indeed.


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