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GM Design Team Shows Off Chevy Sonic Design Sketch

The General Motors design team has shared a never-before-seen sketch of the Chevy Sonic hatchback that was completed back in 2014.

This design sketch was penned by GM Lead Exterior designer Brian Malczewski shortly after the second-generation Chevy Sonic (also marketed as the Holden Barina in Australia and New Zealand) was introduced in 2012. It’s possible that this sketch was completed as GM was developing the facelifted version of the Chevy Sonic, which was introduced for the 2016 model year, though GM Design didn’t provide any other background on the sketch’s history. It seems as though this sketch didn’t have that much of an influence on the facelifted Chevy Sonic, although it seems to influenced other Chevy small cars like the Onix based on the blacked-out grille and side intakes.

We actually would have liked for the facelifted Chevy Sonic to adopt more of the design cues seen in this sketch, such as the white contrasting roof, sporty rear wing, deep front splitter and LED headlights, but GM had a less dramatic transformation in mind for the mid-cycle Sonic. With GM now shying away from compact cars like the Sonic, it’s unlikely that there will be a third-generation model, so Malczewski’s sketch appears destined to remain just that – a sketch. That’s not to say we want the Sonic to go away, though. We think small, affordable and fun-to-drive hatches like the Sonic serve an important purpose in today’s vehicle market, even if the profit margins are low compared to crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks.

While the Sonic appears to be doomed, GM will have at least one small fun-to-drive vehicle to offer customers in the coming years in the way of the updated Chevy Bolt EV. The Bolt EV is a bit taller and bigger than the Sonic, but it makes up for it with an enjoyable electric powertrain producing 200 horsepower and a meaty 266 pound-feet of torque.

Let us know what you think of this Chevy Sonic sketch by voting or commenting below, GM fans.

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Sam McEachern: Sam loves to write and has a passion for auto racing, karting and performance driving of all types.

View Comments (21)

  • That looks great! Pair that design with a Stiffer, Lower Suspension, and the LTG, and later the LSY, and you would have had a Golf R competitor.

    • ”While the Sonic appears to be doomed"

      The last Chevy Sonic was produced on October 19th, 2020. It was doomed a long time ago. Doesn't surprise me that the Sonic has been overlooked and forgotten, even on GM Authority.

      That being said, I love my 2018 Sonic. Great car and stupid cheap to maintain.

      • Yup, bought mine new in 2013 has 155k on it now. So far the only maintenance that was difficult was the front wheel bearings and lower ball joints. They are pressed in and riveted on so it was A LOT of labor. The parts were cheap tho. Wish lowercase gm still made a competitive vehicle in this segment.

      • Yea. Even if you bought the base Trim 2019 or 2020, $3k of Parts and Labor could’ve given you a Golf R competitor as well. Oil Changes are cheap, and every part is cheap as well.

        • I love my Sonic, but 3k in parts and labor isn't giving you a Golf R competitor. That DCT paired with awd is really just a tough combo for any transverse motor platform to beat. The GTI and new Mazda3 turbo also are much better vehicles. Even among US hatchbacks, the Ford Focus ST, RS, and Fiesta ST out performed the Sonic pretty heavily. That ZZP Sonic that runs 11s has way more than $3k in it and also doesn't have an interior.

          Where the Sonic truly performs is as an unmodified, affordable, proudly made in Michigan daily driver, that can be fun to drive just based on the class of vehicle it is. It's truly unfortunate that the US companies have lost sight of the B/C segment.

  • Current refresh is ugly, original looked good. This sketch is the winner though. Beautiful look like the upcoming Tesla sub-$20k 2 door hatch. Headlight-nose-strip lamp looks like a Cheetah.

  • Would have made a great Opel Corsa. Wonder if this was the GM design considering it's a coupe

  • Would have love to see GM made a product to compete with the Mini Cooper, and they could have turned the Sonic into a Golf GTI with a beefier engine.

    • Instead they just abandoned that whole segment. You can get a three cylinder Trailblazer tho, cause they have such great reviews. Or you could get the spontaneously combustible Bolt.

      • Did you confuse the Bolt for the really spontaneously combustible and killing Teslas?

  • I wish this was actually the Sonic. With a 2.0l turbo in it, I would've absolutely chose this over my GTI back in 2015

  • Anderson, don't bring sad memories. The Sonic Transformers is the best Sonic of all. I spent two months making calls and writing e-mails to tens of people to find out where that Sonic was.
    At least I wanted to see it and touch it.
    Reliabale sources told me that it had a 1.6L Opel Corsa OPC engine + tuned up (so around 250 HP) and they put an AWD drivetrain from the Chevy Trax (which by the way, Chevrolet could have given un Sonic fans, an AWD Sonic).

  • Cheap transportation, traded in wife's 2013 Sonic RS for a 2017 Cruze Premier at end of year fire sale. At 5yrs/59k miles the problems were continuing. Cruze needed pistons at 24k. I took tranquilizers.

  • This car as well as all of its competitors being subcompacts are a lot of fun to drive and you'll see most of them in the Caribbean islands as gas is extremely expensive. Whip it as they say and fling it around those corners

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