Adding more appeal to its new subcompact model, the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic will now offer an automatic transmission option on models fitted with the 1.4-liter Ecotec turbo engine. Stepping up from the standard six-speed manual gearbox to the new Hydra-Matic 6T40 six-speed autoshifter does modestly raise 0-60 mph times from 7.8 to 8.0 seconds on the turbocharged Sonic, however, the car still remains quicker to that benchmark speed than key rivals like the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit or Hyundai Accent. Opting for the automatic also trims the car's EPA city/highway marks from 29/40 mpg to 27/37 mpg, but it still earns this new powertrain combo better mileage stats than any Sonic fitted with the baseline naturally aspirated 1.8-liter engine regardless of transmission choice.
In making the announcement, Bob Benedict, assistant chief engineer for the Ecotec 1.4L engine noted: "Traditionally, turbocharging was used to enhance the performance of engines, but today it is as much about fuel economy as a 0-60 time. The turbocharger provides high-pressure airflow for high torque to boost the vehicle and give the driver a fun driving experience with improved fuel efficiency."