So, I did this sort of short take on a few specific models in the Chrysler forum, and I'm now doing that for a few Chevy's here. While not an official My Ideal Lineup thread, it does go in line with that.
So... here we go.
Sonic Z21 - Starting $14,995
Essentially a spicier version of the base sedan and hatch, the Sonic Z21 isn't about all out raw performance, but rather inexpensive, easily attainable sportiness that most every brand has begin to ignore.
Where does one start with a Z21? FWD, 6 speed manual or magnesium paddle-shifting 8 speed automatic, and high-revving 170 HP motivate this vehicle with a bit of punch. Both the sedan and hatch offer a somewhat aggressive (not ricer grade, mind you... but noticeable) spoiler. The vehicle should come with sportier, well bolstered seats and a slightly louder, deeper exhaust. Lowered slightly with a sport-tuned suspension, more powerful brakes with stainless steel braided lines for a firm brake pedal feel, and lighter-weight 17" alloys conclude the sportiness factor.
Light on options to keep the price low, the vehicle does come with some important basics to the younger crowd this car goes after... namely, a touchscreen (non-nav) head unit with USB and bluetooth, better speakers, and a small sub. LED lights under the dash and seat (customizable colors) are standard, but power seats, sunroof, nav, HID, and so forth are all optional add-ons.
Sonic RS - Starting at $26,995
Available as only a hot hatch, this machine comes standard with a 270 HP turbo 2.0, AWD, and 6 speed manual or 8 speed auto. Still not overly optioned, it does come with things such as Recaro sport seats, big brembos, wide 18" wheels, power seats, and HID. Quad center-mounted exhaust tips, more aggressive styling, and an aggressive suspension setup allow this car to launch, turn, and stop at rapid speeds. Meanwhile, it's size, weight, and price all undercut the AWD machines at Subaru, Ford, etc.
Cruze Z24 - Starting at $21,995
What do you get when you take the basic recipe for the Z21, and cook a Cruze in it? The Cruze Z24, a sportier, still-affordable compact sedan by Chevy that doesn't have hardly any direct competitors. Putting out 220 HP through either a 6 speed manual or 8 speed magnesium paddle-shifting automatic to the front wheels, this car is motivated to move quickly. But it doesn't stop there, with a lowered, sportier suspension, 18" lighter weight wheels wrapped in grippier rubber, more aggressive brakes (upgraded stock, nothing crazy like Brembo's), and a more notable exhaust help this car handle and stop better, too. Sportier, more bolstered seats, meanwhile, help keep you in place during hard cornering.
This car comes with the same basic equipment setup as the Sonic, while options are available that move the price up. The lightly optioned based model, however, allows for easier access by the younger generation into a sporty compact car.
Malibu Sport - Starting at $35,995
The Malibu Sport isn't an all out, raw performance midsizer. Rather, it's a still-powerful, well handling, well mannered family hauler for the man or woman who needs to buy the responsible vehicle, without sacrificing lots of performance. What makes this vehicle so special? A 320 HP DI 3.6L, AWD, an 8-speed magnesium paddle shifted automatic, larger and more powerful brakes, 19" light weight wheels in a multitude of color options, a slightly lower, sportier suspension that is comparable to a E46 3-series - a sporty, Teutonic balance. The vehicle also comes with a lusty exhaust note through quad center-mounted exhaust tips, with a shiny chrome finish or a flat black finish.
Base, this vehicle is decently equipped - but to keep its base price from skyrocketing, it doesn't come with everything. Navigation and smart cruise control, for examples, are optional.