Chevrolet is thinking small with the introduction of three global minicar concepts here at the New York auto show. The Trax, Beat, and Groove concept cars are an indication of Chevy's intention to produce small, urban, fuel-efficient cars. All three of the concepts were designed in South Korea, and they pave the way for a production minicar from Chevy by the end of the decade.
Amid the hoopla of the three cars' debut, GM's vice chairman, Bob Lutz, called the concepts the "triplets." A troupe of dancers heralded the unveiling, and the audience was encouraged to throw colored balls--each corresponding to one of the cars--onto the stage to express a preference. Chevy is likewise encouraging people to vote for their favorite cars in an online poll.
The two-door Chevrolet Beat hatchback is GM's take on a micro-import tuner car. With a body design that resembles the WTCC concept car Chevy unveiled at last year's Paris auto show, the Beat is designed to appeal to drivers wanting to personalize their rides.
With its flared rear-wheel wells, five split-spoke alloy wheels, and bold rear-headlight arrangement, the Beat exudes a bold, aggressive design language. The Beat is propelled by a 1.2-liter turbocharged engine.
The Beat was the only one of the triplets that the press was allowed inside. In the cabin, the requisite concept-car trim comprises an instrument panel, a steering wheel, and a gear shifter trimmed in transparent plastic, as well as a placeholder navigation system.
Positioned as a "micro-SUV," the front-wheel-drive Trax features the most innovative drivetrain of the three, with a 1-liter gasoline engine assisted by a battery-pack-driven electric motor that drives the rear wheels, creating a hybrid four-wheel-drive system.
With a profile that suggests it took some inspiration from the Scion xB, the Groove is the boxiest of the three concepts. The four-door Groove features an upright front windscreen, flared fenders, and a short snout that, according to Chevy, were inspired by a "half-soldier, half-modern" military helmet.