Overview & Reviews
For a long time, buying a subcompact car from a domestic automaker was either completely impossible or an unfortunate circumstance. Now, however, homegrown models are at the segment's forefront both in terms of sales and overall quality. The Chevrolet Sonic is one such example of local talent, a very well-rounded subcompact that stands as one of the top choices in its segment.
The Chevy Sonic represents a quantum leap forward from the Aveo it replaced. High points include sharp styling, nimble handling, a composed ride, generous interior space, ample feature content and quick acceleration. The optional turbocharged four-cylinder, in particular, is a standout in this class. Perhaps most importantly, the Sonic feels like a more premium, substantial car from behind the wheel than its modest price and dimensions would suggest. Buyers would be wise to check it out.
Current Chevrolet Sonic
The Chevrolet Sonic is available as a sedan or a four-door hatchback. Even the base LS trim level comes with air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone connectivity, OnStar and an auxiliary audio jack. Moving up through the LT and LTZ trims adds more comfort and convenience features such as leatherette premium vinyl upholstery, heated seats, an iPod interface and Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system that includes a touchscreen, Bluetooth audio and additional smartphone-compatible services. There's also the sporty RS trim (hatchback only) that features four-wheel disc brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, 17-inch wheels and leather/faux-suede upholstery.
Every Sonic except for the RS comes standard with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that makes 138 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. Standard on the RS and optional for the LT and LTZ trims is a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. It also produces 138 hp, but more importantly, 148 lb-ft of torque. So equipped, the Sonic feels significantly quicker than other subcompact cars. Manual transmissions are standard (five-speed with the 1.8-liter, six-speed with the turbo), and a six-speed automatic is optional for both. Fuel economy is actually better with the turbo engine.
In reviews, we've been very impressed with the Chevrolet Sonic. It offers engaging handling that doesn't come at the expense of a comfortable ride, and the controls operate with a consistency of effort that you rarely see in cars in this price range. As long as you're OK shifting your own gears, the punchy and efficient turbocharged engine is definitely worth the extra dough. In total, the Sonic drives like a bigger, more composed car than you would expect.
Inside, materials quality is merely acceptable. The motorcycle-style gauge cluster is gimmicky, but the analog tachometer and digital speedometer are large and legible -- hard to argue with form plus function. In terms of space, the Chevy Sonic provides ample head- and shoulder room for front passengers -- even for those taller than 6 feet, which is rare for subcompacts. The second row is also quite spacious provided one of those 6-footers isn't driving. Cargo capacity with the hatchback is average for the class, but the sedan's trunk space is quite generous.
Used Chevrolet Sonic Models
The Chevrolet Sonic was an all-new model for 2012. Although the current Sonic offers a few more available perks, such as the sporty RS trim level and the MyLink infotainment system, these Sonics are otherwise similar to today's car.
User Reviews:Showing 1 through 10 of 93.00
2012 Sonic LT - 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
By D. Meeks - January 5 - 10:09 am
Bought it. Love it!
Should have kept looking - 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
By Diane - December 30 - 9:41 am
There was a recall on this car for the transmission 2 years after I purchased it. It was repaired. The next year, I was driving to work and noticed when I put my foot on the gas, it didn't sound right. About a mile later, the car began making an extremely loud noise then stopped running. Luckily, I had just gotten off the highway (rush hour traffic). The car was towed and the repair shop diagnosed it as the transmission. Again, it was repaired. I'm still not pleased with how the car sounds and no longer trust it to go on a long trip. Also, I was told gas mileage was close to 30 miles to a gallon. It's not even close to that, even on highway driving. I've had problems with the tires regularly needing air, even shortly after purchasing the car. Just too many problems for a new car.
not worth it! - 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
By Emily - December 12 - 10:28 am
The gas and brake pedals are super sensitive. This car also sucks on gas. Im putting $10 in every other day and im only renting the car while mine is being fixed. I would definitely not recommend this carm
LOVE MY SONIC - 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
By Judy hammond - November 13 - 11:00 am
I'm retired, and this is almost the best fun I've ever had, driving. I had a '78 Mustang Cobra in my younger years, so that's hard to beat. But I LOVE my 2012 Sonic! The only thing I wish is that it has cruise control, and all the ports for cell phone and other things the newer cars have. My fault. I didn't realize they came with that stuff, and I forgot to check out the cruise control feature, because I was having so much fun when I test drove it. It's a hatchback and I toted an 8' x 2' x 1" board home with me for an entertainment system I built. Just about as good as a little truck, which is what I was looking for. Love all the little storage features it includes. Can't say enough good about my Sonic, which I've had for about three months. Whoever designed it had women in mind! I've already taken it on three long trips. Ohio to NC twice, and Ohio to Syracuse NY once. I went 70 mph with no problems, and it's a whole lot of fun to drive. In a few years, if I'm still on this planet, I'll be looking to get a newer Sonic with cruise!
toomanyleaks - 2013 Chevrolet Sonic
By Chris - November 3 - 10:07 am
I brought this car new with 3843 miles on it. I left the dealership only to discover that there was no heat. Returned to dealership and found coolant low. It then took 8 times in shop and from Nov 14 2014 till Jan 12 2015 to find a factory defect. And now it leaking again with the dealership having no idea where. Make sure you have the Sonic checked before buying.
LT Hatchback (1.8L auto): All-around Solid - 2014 Chevrolet Sonic
By Mr. Geb - October 18 - 6:58 pm
Value is always going to be determined by the price you can get any given car at, but this is a solid vehicle I'm happy to have ended up in. I bought used one year old with low mileage. Professional reviews overstate the Sonic's "cons." Most notably, the inferior fuel economy among subcompact cars... but it's also heavier than other subcompacts and its economy is right in line with that. Great choice if you're someone like me who only needs a small commuter vehicle with occasional light cargo but can't stand the idea of driving a 2400-lb midget, such as the Nissan Versa or Chevy's own Spark, where a stiff gust of wind feels like it can blow you clean off the road. The Sonic feels like a compact car on the road, but still parks like a subcompact and has a fuel economy right in between. The cargo space is a bit horizontally-challenged but enough to hold a few bags of groceries, while there's a surplus of vertical space for tall/stacking objects and you can flatten the back seats if you need more room. Acceleration is fine at lower speeds, at higher speeds it's a bit sluggish but enough most people shouldn't care unless they're drag racing. (As if anybody races a stock vehicle.) Interior is adequate for an economy vehicle without feeling too cheap: Comfortable cloth seating, lots of hard plastics but it's thick and sturdy, headliner has the typical economy "egg carton" feel but is surfaced with a soft dimpled cloth. There's but a few other minor gripes I have which are mostly just not in line with my preference, or non-issues that take some getting used to, as would be the case when starting to drive any new vehicle. The only legitimate complaints for me are the low-beam headlights feel angled a bit too low, might be an issue if you're navigating unknown territory, and the rear view is fairly poor which is just a product of the small vehicle size and hatchback. I could go for power-folding mirrors too as a feature, over manual folding ones. No major complaints. The stock tires are supposedly horrible in snow too, so budgeting to replace them might be a good idea up north. (I wasn't about to personally put them to the test.) It accelerates smoothly, handling is responsive, seating is comfortable and surprisingly spacious for a subcompact, general interior construction feels solid. The instrument cluster is compact and all digital, save the analog tachyometer (RPM meter), but gives you all necessary information and then some. Safety ratings are top-notch. Great car from what I can tell. All that's left is to see what long-term issues pop up in the next three, five, ten years. I can't see the future.
I still love my 2014 Sonic after 10 months - 2014 Chevrolet Sonic
By Aric Varney - October 16 - 10:35 pm
OK I purchased my Sonic Dec 27,2014 new purchase price out the door with tax tags everything included $12,988 yes I was blowed away at this price I found the car online didn't even even have go in to dealer until I had sign the papers I didn't even test drive the car at this price, I signed and drived and still happy with my Purchase 10 months and 17,600 miles later, oh yeah GM throwed in $3,010 ending year clearance rebate get it at that price, I'm very impressed thank you Chevy.
who needs a battery or hybrid car - 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
By Steve Moore - October 2 - 8:52 am
I have a 6 speed manual, with turbo, rated 40 mpg highway, I am getting 40 on average, frequently I travel to lake, 220 miles one way, I have had the car for 3 years now 93,000 miles, on that trip I average 44mpg. Its just fantastic on gas, run regular nothing else. It handles great, and is comfortable, the only part that could be a little larger is the floor board area, I have a size 13 foot, and the brake and gas pedals are so close, sometimes I end up hitting both at the same time. Not much room in the back but I never ride back there. A couple of issues have happened, 38,000 miles in a wheel bearing went bad. Called GM, they agreed is low milage for that to happen, they paid for it, just yesterday 93,000 miles, check engine light, vacuum leak, cracked manifold, covered under the 100,000, other than those, perfect car, will buy another one.
Don't waist your hard earned money on this pile - 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
By christina - September 17 - 7:27 pm
the same tire is loosing air as before I got the tires rotated. I scheduled my appointment a week in advance for the recall of the stereo, oil change and rotation. I know they didn't rotate the tires. I have a monthly update for my brand new car from on star services and the same tire is loosing air as before the rotation and oil change. I have proof. and the crackle in my driver side speakers is still happening. I told them when I was there. no one said anything about it, it was just on the reciept(checked speakers and everything is fine) .. it's not fine, it crackles.. BRAND NEW CAR CRACKLES!! ever since I purchased the BRAND NEW CAR I have had nothing but trouble!! it handles HORRIBLY! ! WORST CAR I'VE EVER OWNED OUT OF 6!!! I told Matt when I had 5,000 miles on it 2 months later and the most they could exchange it for was 13,000 out of the 18,000 I spent =, ( I HATE my sonic. biggest rip off ! feel like I was stolen from! chevy should discontinue this pieve of trash!!! taking turns on the express way is scary in this pile of junk!! in my brand new car!!!!!! that I'm 15,000 in debt for! can't believe now crackle the radio is when I haven't even turned it up past half way!! OOO AND I PUT THOUGH A CAR WASH AND SOME OF THE PAINT CAME OFFFFFF MY BRAND NEWWWWW CARRRRRR!!!!!!!! BUMPS AND TURNS R PAINFUL!!! DO NOT EVER BUY A SONIC!! EVERYONE WHO HAS ONE HATES IT!!!
2014 sonic- a/c and heat - 2014 Chevrolet Sonic
By Linette Thesing - September 12 - 7:55 am
I love my car for the most part. II purchased it June 2014. Right away I noticed that it felt like there was a vent open whenever I used the a/c. When I brought vehicle to dealership to put on license plates I mentioned it to them. They checked things over but couldn't find anything. I brought it back in a couple of more times that summer for same issue. They never could find anything wrong. The computer showed everything working correctly. Then it started to get cold (I live in mn). That's when I noticed the windows foggy up on the inside. Again,couldn't find anything wrong. The snow came and so did the ice on the windows...as I was driving with defroster on. I took pictures and sent to dealership. They finally were able to tell me that GM designed the car this way. They adjusted the vents and that did help a little. I keep a blanket in my car because one side of me (left side by window) freezes and the other side gets too hot. I don't even bother using the a/c as it just pulls hot air in.