2015 Chevrolet Code
- ROY RITCHIE AND
- THE MANUFACTURER
The Code 130R, revealed in concept form at this year’s Detroit show, previews a small Chevy four-seat coupe based on the Cadillac ATS’s rear-drive platform. Aimed at the generation whose first reaction upon seeing a screen is to swipe at it, the Code presents an oddly nostalgic vision of personal transportation. Its flared fenders, upright windshield, small greenhouse, and overall size may remind some of the BMW 1-series, but we look at it and see a 1967 Camaro with tidier proportions.
The shadow it casts is just a bit larger than that of the Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S twins, but its mission is similar: introduce hard-gaming couch-cruisers and assorted blanket-sniffers to the joys of the four-wheel drift. Like the aforementioned Japanese twins, the Code seems underpowered, only more so. The concept’s 1.4-liter turbo four offers only 150 horsepower (12 more ponies than in the Cruze and Sonic) and 148 pound-feet of torque, but it also has eAssist mild hybridization. Based on GM’s other applications of this system, we figure the electric boost is good for another 15 horses. It’ll need more if it’s to overpower its fat 20-inch tires. Or it’ll need smaller tires. We are hearing that the engine lineup could comprise the following three mills: a base 2.0-liter direct-injected four, the concept’s turbocharged 1.4-liter to serve in the Eco model, and the hi-po 2.0-liter turbo found in the ATS delivering roughly 270 horses. Power will flow through either a standard six-speed automatic or an optional six-speed manual transmission.
This is but one of two youth-oriented concepts Chevy showed in Detroit—the Code 130R and its podium-mate, the front-drive, Cruze-based Tru 140S were thrown into mock battle to see which one would make it to production (vote at Facebook and Twitter). But the likelihood of the Code reaching the assembly line is strong. In the car’s favor is that a production version of its body wouldn’t stray too far from the voted-upon concept’s, whereas the Tru 140S, atomic doorstop that it is, has a windshield the feds would frown upon. Also, only Chevy can build the Code, whereas the Tru could be a Mitsubishi or a Hyundai. Against the Code is cost: Its engines aren’t cheap, and neither is its Alpha platform. But GM needs to find economies of scale for its small rear-drive component set, and at a bandied-about price range of $20,000 to $26,000, the Code could provide serious volume—and not just in America. It would certainly undercut the 1-series, while staking out new (old) territory for the bow tie.
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