Chevy's Sonic marked a huge step up in quality and performance from its Aveo predecessor, but until now customers wanting the automatic transmission have been denied the turbocharged engine, and turbo fans have only had a manual option.

That's set to change, as Chevrolet is now offering its 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged gasoline engine with either manual or automatic transmission.

The turbocharged Sonic offers a great mix of performance and economy, with a 0-60 mph time of only 7.8 seconds, but the potential for 40 MPG highway economy, and 29 in the city.

With the automatic transmission, Chevrolet is claiming 8 seconds for the benchmark sprint, with EPA-estimated economy of 37 MPG highway, 27 MPG city.

For many, the convenience of the six-speed auto transmission will offset the slightly lower figures, and it still compares well with rivals like the 2012 Ford Fiesta and 2012 Honda Fit.

Fifth and sixth gears are essentially overdrive gears, to the benefit of highway economy. Lower ratios ensure the Sonic still offers a sporty drive.

The turbocharged 2012 Chevrolet Sonic with the automatic transmission is available now.


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