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 |  Jan 11 2011, 12:25 AM

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Having already released full details and photos of the Sonic Hatchback and Sedan earlier in the day, when it came time for the big reveal at the Detroit Auto Show, Chevrolet rolled out a third model as well – the Z-Spec. While only a concept, it does give a glimpse at a possible in-house tuning arm for the bowtie brand’s small car line.

While GM does offer plenty of go-fast parts for its sports cars, the Z-Spec line would be more designed towards aesthetic modifications for small cars. While no one at Chevy will confirm as much, Margaret Brooks, director of marketing for small cars at Chevy told AutoGuide that “we would love to offer more personalization.” If successful, such a program could be extremely lucrative, she added.

This is no doubt the reason to keep up interest in the Z-Spec, rolling out this new model in front of a large audience of journalists after having debuted several other Z-spec models at the SEMA Show last year.

As for the Sonic itself, this new sub-compact looks to compete in an increasingly crowded segment alongside cars like the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris, not to mention the Ford Fiesta.

Aiming to attract younger buyers with sporty styling, the Sonic also has power on tap with a standard 135-hp 1.8L 4-cylinder, as well as an optional 138-hp 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder – both of which are borrowed from the Chevy Cruze.

No fuel economy numbers have been released but expect close to 40-mpg highway from the 1.4T engine, which in a special Cruze Eco model actually manages 42-mpg. Helping get what will no doubt be excellent fuel economy is a 6-speed automatic transmission, with the option of a 6-speed stick shift on 1.4T models.

The interior is a massive leap forward from the Aveo, taking inspiration from the Cruze and using higher-grade materials. And like the Aveo RS concept from last year’s Detroit show, it retains the motorcycle-inspired instrumentation with a large, circular analog tachometer and a digital speedometer.

Designed for functionality the Sonic hatchback gets 19 cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seats, which expands to 37 cu-ft with the seats folded flat. Chevy claims that’s better than the Fiesta, although in terms of roominess, the Fiesta is hardly a benchmark in the segment. The Sonic sedan does, however, get 15 cubic feet of space, which is roughly the same size as you might expect in a mid-size sedan.

As for features, all models will come equipped with stability control and 10 airbags, while optional goodies include remote start and heated front seats.

GALLERY: Chevy Sonic Z-Spec

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GALLERY: Chevy Sonic Hatchback and Sedan Debut

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GALLERY: Chevy Sonic Hatchback

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