Jump to content
  • 001_ATSV_dyno.jpg

  • Testimonials

  • TRIFECTA Performance

    Introducing the world's first All Wheel Drive (AWD) Chevrolet Sonic

      In recent years, we've taken to pushing the boundaries on what's possible with factory part swaps on the Chevrolet Cruze and Chevrolet Sonic.  The ultimate dream of most Sonic owner-enthusiasts is to make their cars into the legitimate hot hatch that Chevrolet never built.  To us, a hot hatch is four things:  all wheel drive (AWD), lots of power, manual transmission, and exceptional handling.  This article is about how we're tackling the AWD challenge.

    3_0613_2_TF.jpg

    The Sonic cousin:  Buick Encore / Chevrolet Trax

    In a quest like this, the first thing to do is figure out which parts can be borrowed from other vehicles that have the feature you want.  It turns out the Chevrolet Sonic, Chevrolet Trax, and Buick Encore all share something in common:  the chassis.  Known as the GM “Gamma II” chassis, it started in the US in 2010 as the Chevrolet Spark.  In 2011 the Chevrolet Aveo was introduced.  In 2012, the Aveo was renamed as Sonic, and in 2013 the Buick Encore and Chevrolet Trax were introduced with optional AWD.  The Sonic, Encore and Trax use the 1.4L turbo MPFI engine (RPO: LUJ/LUV).

    Press_04_2.jpg

    Borrowing the AWD System

    For our project, we obtained a 2015 Chevrolet Sonic RS and an AWD Chevrolet Trax.  The Chevrolet Trax has a transverse mounted 1.4L turbo engine, mated to a 6 speed automatic transmission.  A transfer case attached to the transmission sends power to a rear differential via a propeller shaft.  An ECU (Rear Differential Clutch Control Module) controls the amout of torque transferred from the propeller shaft to the rear differential.

    _IAN5935_TF.jpg

    Not as easy as it Sounds

    Given these vehicles are all “Gamma II” chassis vehicles, we just need to unbolt the AWD system from the Trax and install it in the Sonic, right?  Not quite.  To name just a few challenges:  We had to cut the spare tire well out of the Sonic to make room for the rear differential.  We had to swap the rear suspension from the Trax in its entirety because the Sonic suspension doesn't have a provision for the propeller shaft.  The propeller shaft will need to be shortened.  

    DSC_2924_TF.jpg

    Maybe a Rally Spec car instead of a Hot Hatch

    One other issue we've run into so far, is that the Trax suspension sits higher than the Sonic suspension.  The overall ride height will be about 1.5” higher than the original suspension.  Maybe we should make this into a Rally spec car instead of a Hot Hatch!



    User Feedback

    Recommended Comments

    27 minutes ago, Chad wang said:

    Are you guys going to try it on a Cruze 

    Probably not.  The Sonic was a perfect candidate for this given it and the Trax are both on the Gamma II chassis.  While it wasn't a direct swap, it was no doubt exponentially easier than trying to do this with a Cruze.  For the Cruze, we'd need to source a donor vehicle that uses AWD on the Delta II chassis, but unfortunately none exist.

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites

    That is cool and all, but since the Sonic and Trax are virtually identical vehicles (drivetrain, interior and exterior dimensions), I don't see a reason for doing this. If it was a diesel swap (from a UK sourced Aveo 1.3 tdi engine, for example), I understand. But the only difference is the latter having an optional AWD and sits a couple inches higher. Which is exactly what you had to do to fit the rear diff. Have you ever finished this project?

    Share this comment


    Link to comment
    Share on other sites


    Join the conversation

    You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
    Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

    Guest
    Add a comment...

    ×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

      Only 75 emoji are allowed.

    ×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

    ×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

    ×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

    Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...