Highlight: The instrument cluster, the headlights and the taillights of the all-new Sonic drew inspiration and styling cues from today’s motorcycles. Moreover, this is the only subcompact being made in
Test vehicle’s MSRP: $18,580 (Base price starts at $14,495)
Major Standard Features: 10 airbags; 15-inch wheels; a 5-speed manual transmission; a hill-assist hold feature; automatic headlights; traction control; a driver’s seat armrest; remote keyless entry; a tilt/telescopic manual steering wheel; non illuminating vanity mirrors; sport cloth trim seats; and provides turn-by-turn navigation free for 6-month via GM’s subscription-based OnStar System
Standard Audio System: a 4-speaker AM/FM audio system
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles
Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes, depending on the model.
Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder/138-hp
Standard Fuel Mileage: 25-city/35-hwy
What’s New: The Sonic is all-new to Chevy brand, replacing the Aveo.
Pros: Unlike the Aveo, the vehicle the Sonic replaced, Chevy’s newest subcompact is roomy, provides loads of standard amenities and style, especially in the top of the line LTZ hatchback trim with the optional 17-inch wheels. The Sonic is also available as a sedan too.
Also we were extremely impressed with the ride-and-handling abilities of the all-new Sonic. We had an opportunity to climb the steep hills of
Furthermore, due to the size of the sporty subcompact, the roomy interior would have easily classified this vehicle as a compact, as opposed to subcompact a few years ago. In fact, the rear seats in the Sonic seemed to provide more rear legroom and comfort than the seven-passenger Chevy Traverse crossover when seated in the third-row. How ironic?
Moreover, the instrument panel of the Sonic mirrors that of both a motorcycle and the upscale Chevy Cruze. GM definitely spent time and money in this vehicle in hopes of delivering their first world-class subcompact.
Furthermore, depending upon one’s price point, the Sonic can be equipped such features as fog lights, leatherette seats (fake leather), a sunroof, heated front seats, an upgraded six-speaker premium sounding with a CD player and XM satellite radio, power windows and 16 (or 17) inch wheels.
Cons: The pricing of the Sonic and all of its competitors can be somewhat unnerving. With pricing for a loaded-up Sonic nearing the $20,000 mark, some consumers may find that it makes more sense to back down to a two- to- three-year old midsize vehicle like a Chevy Malibu or Honda Accord.
And while the Sonic was loaded with a number of features, GM did manage to cut some costs in this vehicle by not offering an armrest for the front passenger seat or illuminated vanity mirrors. Also we surprised that this vehicle doesn’t achieve 40 miles per gallon on the highway.
The Verdict: The Sonic is leap years beyond the vehicle it replaced, the Aveo. We were pleasantly surprised with the overall fit-and-finish of the Sonic, along with the ride and handling capabilities. This is definitely a standout vehicle, offering everything from loads of safety features to many feature rich options to a world-class audio system, especially when one’s vehicle is outfitted with the upgraded audio system. This is probably one of the best audio systems we experienced in a GM vehicle. The audio system just doesn’t seem as if was an afterthought, as we’ve experienced in a number of GM makes.
Beyond what we mentioned, our only real major concern is the pricing of the all of the vehicles in this subcompact category. Pricing bumps up against many pre-owned midsize vehicle. The success of this vehicle is will people be willing to dole out money for a brand-new subcompact or will they step-up to a larger used vehicle? Only time will tell.
Competition: Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, Kia