Chevrolet Sonic

2017 Chevrolet Sonic

The 2017 Chevrolet Sonic gets more safety equipment and features, but mostly styling thats more expressive, with a new hood, headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, and rear fascia. Also new wheel designs and four new colors: Orange Burst Metallic, Brimstone, Cajun Red Tintcoat, and Arctic Blue Metallic.

New features for the 2017 Sonic include a power drivers seat, heated steering wheel, heated cloth seats, and infotainment system with seven-inch screen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, with 4G LTE connectivity and wife hotspot.

The Chevrolet Sonic is a refined and sporty subcompact that was introduced as a 2013 model to replace the plain and boring Aveo. The Sonic comes as five-door hatchback or four-door sedan.

The Sonic hatchback is the more cohesive design, with its angled window line, hidden rear door handles, and truncated tail making it look like a coupe. Its short rear and longer front overhang give it sporty proportions.

The Sonic sedan has the same wheelbase as the hatch, but with conventional rear doors, a longer roof, and big trunk. The problem is that sometimes it looks like three styles pasted together. Chevy sells a lot more Sonic hatchbacks than it does sedans.

The base engine is a raspy 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder. It lowers the base price, but otherwise forget it.

The available 1.4-liter turbo is still quite affordable, and much better; its smooth, refined, responsive, and gets better fuel mileage. Both engines make 138 horsepower, and each is available with a 6-speed automatic. If you want a gearbox, you get a 5-speed manual with the 1.8 and 6-speed with the 1.4 turbo.

The Sonic gets five stars from the NHTSA in crash tests, and the IIHS calls it a Top Safety Pick, with a top Good rating on both the moderate overlap and tougher small overlap frontal crash test. Thats the test thats foiled a lot of cars, including bigger ones. The Sonic comes standard with 10 airbags, blind-spot mirrors and rearview camera. New for 2017 are available Rear Park Assist and Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning.


2016 Chevrolet Sonic

Subcompacts can be ordinary, or they can be fun. Introduced for 2010, the Chevrolet Sonic hatchback and sedan might swing either way, depending on the engine chosen. With a turbocharged four-cylinder beneath the hood, the Sonic is fun to drive and its economical to own. Choose the larger base engine, and the pleasure tends to fade away.

After five years on the market with little change, not much is new for 2016. Beyond three new colors, the 2016 Sonic LTZ now comes standard with an automatic transmission, while the midlevel Sonic LT adds Chevrolet MyLink infotainment.

Both the base 1.8-liter four and the 1.4-liter turbo make 138 horsepower, but thats where the similarity ends. Optional for upper trim levels, the smaller, more efficient turbo delivers significantly quicker acceleration as well as greater fuel economy, plus a more agreeable, spirited driving experience. Manual gearboxes are available: five speeds with the base engine, six for the turbo. A 6-speed automatic is offered with either engine, and is standard on the LTZ.

Appealing to the eye and comfortable for the body, Sonic has earned good safety ratings. Last year, it was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gives it five stars, overall and on all tests except rollover (where it got four stars). Ten airbags are standard. So are blind-spot warning mirrors.

Even the least-costly Sonic LS has air, keyless entry, and OnStar 4G LTE connectivity. Noise suppression is effective, and the turbo-engine models, at least, are quiet all-around.

Hatchback and sedan body styles share wheelbase, front-end styling, and front doors; but aft of the center pillar, theyre far different. Particularly well-proportioned, the hatchback has a sportier demeanor with its snipped-short rear and longer front overhangs. Each body style avoids the boxy econocar look that has characterized many small cars.

Competition is stronger today than it was when the first Sonics appeared, now led by such mini-dimensioned cars as Hondas recently redesigned Fit and the upgraded Ford Fiesta. Even though fuel-efficiency isnt as much of an issue as it was a couple of years back, Sonic hatchbacks and sedans are still strong contenders.


2014 Chevrolet Sonic

Chevrolet Sonic is a subcompact offering refinement and sporty handling. Sonic comes in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback body styles, with a choice of four-cylinder engines. Sonic was launched as a 2012 model. The 2014 Sonic comes in LS, LT, LTZ, and RS models.

A new Dusk package is available for the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ sedan, with unique exterior features, a Jet Back/Mojave leather-appointed interior, 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and four-wheel disc brakes. A rearview camera now is standard on LTZ and RS models, and available for the LT. An available safety package includes Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning.

Sonic RS delivers sportier handling and performance than the other models. Sonic RS comes with a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, along with a sports suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels, leather seating surfaces, and special exterior and interior trim. Unique gear ratios for the 6-speed manual gearbox and a unique final drive ratio for the automatic transmission give the Sonic RS more responsive acceleration, but at the price of meager fuel economy.

Chevrolet Sonic models come standard with manual shift and a 1.8-liter engine, rated at 26/35 miles per gallon City/Highway. The 1.8-liter delivers 138 horsepower at 6300 rpm and 125 pound-feet of torque at 3800 rpm. Those numbers are worth noting in comparisons with the optional turbocharged engine. We found the 1.8-liter engine offers sprightly performance and a wide powerband.

The optional 1.4-liter turbocharged engine is both more powerful and more fuel-efficient. The 1.4-liter turbo delivers 138 horsepower at 4900 rpm and puts out 148 pound-feet of torque, starting way down at 1850 rpm (2500 rpm with manual shift). Fuel economy is 29/40 mpg City/Highway with the standard 6-speed manual gearbox. Note that the turbocharged engine develops its identical horsepower at lower revs than does the 1.8-liter engine. Drivers are likely to consider the Sonic zippier and more fun with the 1.4-liter turbo, while getting better gas mileage. So we think the turbo is worth the extra money.

The 1.8-liter engine is available with a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic; the 1.4-liter turbo mates with a 6-speed manual or the 6-speed automatic. A standard hill-hold feature is especially welcome for the manual gearbox on hilly terrain. When the driver is stopped and releases the brake pedal, the brakes electronically hold the car in place for two seconds, thanks to a sensor that detects body tilt.

Looking fresh and new, the Sonic has an urban vibe, particularly in five-door hatchback form. Sharp creases, exposed headlamps and motorcycle-inspired design cues set it apart from other compacts, while good fit and finish and available forged alloy wheels keep it from looking cheap.

Sonics contain 10 airbags, including seat-mounted thorax side-impact, head curtain and knee airbags. Other nice touches not often found standard on a sub-$15,000 car include a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and 60/40 split folding rear seats.

We found the Sonics handling to be good in general, not just for a low-priced subcompact. The body structure is quite stiff, which aids both handling and ride comfort. Corvette engineers helped tune the MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension for the U.S. market to strike a balance between fun and comfort. All but the RS model use front disc brakes and rear drums.

While most interior materials are hard plastic, thats expected at these prices. Fit and finish is better than most; but some materials, such as the headliner, appear low grade.

We think the Chevrolet Sonic has an edge over the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and Honda Fit when it comes to sportiness and refinement, though the Ford Fiesta and Mazda2 offer similar strengths at comparable prices.


2013 Chevrolet Sonic

Among the best of its class, the Chevrolet Sonic is a newly designed subcompact built in the U.S. on a new General Motors global platform that offers refinement and sporty handling. Sonic comes in four-door sedan and five-door hatchback versions and offers a choice of four-cylinder engines.

Launched as a 2012 model, Sonic comes in LS, LT, and LTZ models. For 2013, a sporty Sonic RS model joins the lineup while the rest of the 2013 Sonic lineup benefits from technology upgrades and additional features.

The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS offers sportier handling and performance. Sonic RS comes with the top-of-the-line 1.4-liter turbocharged engine along with a sports suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, 17-inch alloy wheels, leather seating surfaces and special exterior and interior trim. Unique gear ratios for the 6-speed manual and a unique final drive ratio for the automatic give the Sonic RS more responsive acceleration at the price of fuel economy. Sonic RS is only available as a hatch.

The Chevrolet Sonic comes standard with a 1.8-liter engine rated at 26/35 miles per gallon City/Highway. The 1.8-liter delivers 138 horsepower at 6300 rpm and 125 pound-feet of torque at 3800 rpm. Those numbers are worth noting in comparisons with the optional turbocharged engine. We found the 1.8-liter engine offers sprightly performance and a wide powerband. For 2013, Sonic offers a PZEV (partial zero emissions vehicle) version of the 1.8-liter engine.

The optional 1.4-liter turbocharged engine is both more powerful and more fuel-efficient, however. The 1.4-liter turbo delivers 138 horsepower at 4900 rpm and puts out 148 pound-feet of torque that starts at way down at 1850 rpm and extends through 4900 rpm. Fuel economy is 29/40 mpg City/Highway with the standard 6-speed manual gearbox. Note that the turbocharged engine develops its horsepower at lower revs than does the 1.8-liter engine. Drivers find the Sonic zippier and more fun to drive with the 1.4-liter turbo, and they spend less money on gas. So we think the turbo is worth the extra money.

The 1.8-liter engine is available with a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic; the 1.4-liter turbo is available with a 6-speed manual or the 6-speed automatic. Sonic comes standard with a hill-hold feature on both transmissions, especially welcome on the manual gearbox on hilly terrain. When the driver is stopped and releases the brake pedal, the brakes electronically hold the car in place for two seconds, thanks to a sensor that detects the tilt of the body.

Newly designed, the Sonic looks fresh and new. The Sonic has an urban vibe, particularly the five-door hatch. Sharp creases, exposed headlamps and motorcycle-inspired design cues set it apart from other compacts, while good fit and finish and available forged alloy wheels keep it from looking cheap.

Sonic comes standard with 10 airbags, including seat-mounted thorax side-impact, head curtain and knee airbags. Other nice touches not often found standard on a sub-$15,000 car include a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and 60/40 folding rear seats.

We found the Sonic's handling to be good in general, not just for a low-priced subcompact. The body structure is quite stiff, which aids both handling and ride comfort. Corvette engineers helped tune the MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension for the U.S. market to strike a balance between fun and comfort. All but the RS model use front disc brakes and rear drums, the latter the norm for the class because they are less expensive than rear discs.

The interior is comparable for the class. While most of the interior materials are hard plastic, that's expected at these prices. Fit and finish in the Sonic is better than most, but some materials such as the headliner appear low grade. Chevrolet includes a new MyLink infotainment system with the 2013 Sonic LTZ and RS. Chevrolet MyLink features a seven-inch color screen with Bluetooth streaming audio. Access to apps is available. A MyLink navigation app called BringGo promises navigation for just 50 bucks.

2013 Sonic models get many minor upgrades, including revised OnStar buttons, blind-spot mirrors, an available six-speaker premium audio system, and upgrades to many options.

We think the Chevrolet Sonic has an edge over the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, and Honda Fit when it comes to sportiness and refinement, though the Ford Fiesta and Mazda2 offer similar strengths at similar prices.

 

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