The Sonic is Chevy's all-new entry in the subcompact segment for 2012. It replaces the decent but unremarkable Aveo and, without a doubt, improves on that car in every way. Like the Aveo, the Sonic is offered as both a sedan and a hatchback, but it rides on a new platform loosely related to the German Opel Corsa. High-strength steel makes up 60 percent of its structure, but the Sonic still checks in with a heavy-for-its-segment curb weight of about 2800 pounds. The heft also owes to a relatively large footprint (about 1.5 inches bigger than a Ford Fiesta in both wheelbase and track), a reinforced structure, and a class-leading ten standard air bags. No one will be picking on this fat kid, though, as it shares its engines with the larger Cruze. The 138-hp, 1.8-liter base engine and the optional 1.4-liter turbo, rated at 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque, handily outgun most of the Sonic's subcompact competitors. As in the Cruze, the electric power steering's lightness belies its accuracy, and the six-speed manual is smooth but could be more precise. The cabin, meanwhile, falls short of the Fiesta's in quality of materials but impresses with a tilt-and-telescope wheel, good panel fits, and an adult-friendly back row. The Sonic comes with a long list of options not previously available on Chevy's small cars, such as Bluetooth, remote start, heated seats, and seventeen-inch wheels. The production Sonic is just reaching dealers, and early indications are that it is a formidable -- and fun to drive -- small car that should compete well with the "big" hitters in this red-hot segment.
Trim Levels: LS, LT, LTZ
Body styles: Sedan, hatchback, 5-passenger
Engines: 1.4L turbocharged I-4, 138 hp, 148 lb-ft 1.8L I-4, 138 hp, 125 lb-ft
Transmissions: 5- or 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic
Passenger volume: 91.0 cu ft (est.)
Cargo space: (sedan) 14.0 cu ft; (hatchback, rear seats up/down) 19.0/30.7 cu ft
The Sonic is an all-new entry in the subcompact class for Chevrolet. It replaces the Aveo.
Dual stage front, side, and side curtain air bags, ABS, traction and stability control, and a tire-pressure monitoring system are standard. OnStar is standard and includes Automatic Crash Response free for six months.
EPA Fuel Economy
All: 25-28 mpg city/35-39 (est) mpg highway
- Most powerful engines in its segment
Adult-friendly back seats
Available premium options
You Won't Like
- Chubbier than rivals
Imprecise six-speed manual
A legitimate subcompact that's built in America.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Ford Fiesta