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Chevrolet Sonic Gives Drivers a "Brake"

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Used 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LS Hatchback
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author photo by Cliff Turner August 2011

Prospective car shoppers may have another reason besides pricing to look at Chevy's new Sonic sub-compact. While many car manufacturers install the latest technology on luxury vehicles first, Chevy is debuting one new feature on one of its most affordable rides. The 2012 Sonic, which starts at less than $14,000, will be shipped with Chevrolet's new hill-hold technology on all models featuring a six speed manual transmission.

Many drivers prefer a vehicle with a manual transmission for a variety of reasons. Given the ever-increasing fuel prices in the US, increased fuel economy is one of the largest incentives. Add to that a cheaper sticker price, faster acceleration, and a driving experience that is more "fun," a manual seems like a smart choice for many. However, many drivers don't like the potential for a rollback-related accident that can occur when operating a manual-equipped vehicle on a hill.

New and experienced drivers alike will welcome Chevy's new braking feature, which alleviates rollback concerns when the car is stopped on an incline. Anyone who has ever driven a manual transmission has experienced anxiety when his or her car rolls back on a hill. With Chevy's new hill-hold braking system, this feeling will be a thing of the past. The braking system acts like a third foot for the driver, allowing for smooth operation between the clutch and accelerator.

When the driver is stopped on a hill, a pitch sensor inside the Sonic communicates with the stability control system. The brake will remain engaged for up to two seconds after the brake pedal is released. This lets the driver start moving forward without the typical roll back that is associated with manual transmissions.

"It will retain the braking force that the driver applied with the chassis control system and hold the vehicle in place" said John Buttermore, lead development engineer for the Sonic. "That's long enough for the driver to safely apply the accelerator and let out the clutch for a smooth start, always heading in the right direction."

The Chevrolet Sonic will be offered in both sedan and hatchback trims, and is slated release this Fall.

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Used 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LS Hatchback
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Chevrolet Sonic Gives Drivers a "Brake" - Autotrader