GM has doubled-down on the compact car market, introducing the universally-lauded Chevrolet Sonic as a much-needed replacement for the Aveo. Available with a turbocharged 1.4 liter engine, the Sonic is the only car in the sub-compact class for offer an optional turbo engine. That is a big advantage in this competitive segment, but the Sonic isn’t done yet.
GM Inside News reports that the General could be planning a Sonic “SS” model with a bigger 1.6 liter turbo engine, which could deliver on the order of 220 ft-lbs of torque. That’s a lot of power for a little car, but the question we have is should GM give its economy car an SS model?
The 1.6 liter turbo engine could come to the U.S. market from Europe, and will likely find its way into more than one Chevy model. The Cruze, Equinox, and Malibu are likely to get this bigger turbo engine as well, but in the lightweight Sonic that kind of power would offer a lot of performance. It could stand to compete with more-expensive models like the EcoBoost-powered Focus ST.
If done right, a Sonic SS could turn out to be quite fun. That said, GM had a bad habit of plastering the SS badge on every model it made, including the van-like HHR and a front-drive, V8-powered Impala. If done right, a Sonic SS would be a cheap way to get the kids hooked on domestic performance cars again, providing a gateway to more premium products like the Camaro SS.
Done wrong, and the Sonic SS could be an embarrassment to the brand. GM must step carefully with this one…but we think it is a risk worth taking.