General Motors rolled out the new 2012 Chevrolet Sonic models earlier this week at the Detroit Auto Show. The sedan and hatchback models are powered by either a 1.8 liter four-cylinder or the Ecotec 1.4L turbo rated at 138 horsepower. But it was the suspensions we found interesting. Chevy says Corvette engineers provided their expertise in the ride and handling of the sub-compact.
Foregoing the conventional wisdom that Corvette engineers are limited to only playing with transverse leaf springs, the 2012 Chevy Sonic features a MacPherson strut front suspension with coil springs and stabilizer bar and a semi-independent, torsion beam axle-mount compound link-type rear suspension – featuring a robust, tubular V-shape beam – with gas-charged shocks.
That, says Chevy, gives the Sonic a more direct, confident and athletic feel, while balancing the vehicle for the broad range of driving conditions in North America.
The Sonic represents GM’s major move into the sub-compact market. Utilizing the Corvette engineering staff to provide the ride and handling, GM not only gets top-notch engineering on their new car, but the unique selling point that is offered whenever the Corvette name is associated with something: Corvette tuned suspension = performance, quality and visions of halos.
Could this exercise by the Corvette Engineering staff lead to a design change in the suspensions on the C7 Corvette? Based on the body of work that engineers for Corvette have done lately, I believe it’s more than a possibility. Which car’s suspension isn’t like all the others:
1. Corvette C6
2. Corvette C6.R GT Race Car
3. 2011 SEMA Corvette Z06x Concept
4. 2012 Chevy Sonic
The Corvette C6, designed and engineered in the early 2000’s, borrows its transverse leaf spring from the C5 Corvette. The other Corvettes (and the Sonic) are much more recent in their engineering and all share a coil-over type suspension. Just saying …