SUM UP (3 Stars)

By Automobile Magazine

What's New for Sonic in 2015

The Chevrolet Sonic is largely unchanged for the 2015 model year, but the subcompact does gain a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot, the turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 is now standard equipment on the LTZ, and Blue Velvet is a newly available exterior color...
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Vehicle Overview

The Chevrolet Sonic is a subcompact sedan and hatchback that fits above the subcompact Spark and below the compact Cruze in the automaker’s lineup.

Summary

The base engine is a 1.8-liter I-4 that makes 138 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque, and can be paired with a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 26/35 mpg city/highway with the manual, and 25/35 mpg with the automatic. Stepping up to the turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 is a no brainer as it makes an identical 138 hp and a healthier 148 lb-ft of torque. The turbocharged 1.4-liter engine can be paired with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic. The best part of choosing the more fun turbo model is the fuel economy of 29/40 mpg with a manual, and 27/37 mpg with the automatic. The performance-oriented RS model gets revised gear ratios on its six-speed manual, which gets taller gears and a taller final drive.

The Chevrolet Sonic features a seven-inch infotainment screen, and the special-edition Dusk sedan returns for 2015, including a ground effects package, 18-inch aluminum wheels, and matte grill inserts.

The 2015 Chevrolet Sonic received a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars), and in IIHS testing received four ratings of good and one of marginal in the newer, and more difficult, small overlap front test (the highest possible rating is good).

What We Think

In our drives of the turbocharged Sonic we noticed several things: the suspension has been well tuned, erasing most of the torque steer that typically plagues turbocharged front-drive cars; turn in is quick, and the Sonic moves around eagerly; our criticisms are with the overboosted steering (much too light), and the high curb weight. The Sonic is one of the heavier cars in the segment, but it doesn’t wear it badly.

Stepping up to the Sonic RS fixes the steering feel, but the car does have to work a bit to haul the not-insignificant girth. We don’t see any reason to get the base 1.8-liter I-4, as the turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 is just so much better in every way that matters: more fuel efficient, more torque, and more responsive. Get the turbo, and consider the RS. While the package leaves the turbocharged mill alone, it does modify the gearing in the six-speed manual, allowing drivers to hustle the RS around, making the most of the little 1.4-liter.

You’ll Like

  • 1.4-liter I-4 has more torque, and better fuel economy
  • Six-speed manual
  • Styling of the RS and Dusk sedan

You Won’t Like

  • Slightly more expensive Ford Fiesta ST makes more power
  • Overboosted steering
  • Heavy

Key Competitors

  • Ford Fiesta
  • Honda Fit
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Mazda2

Rating

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