The Sonic is one of Chevy’s most renowned and popular sub-compact cars. The vehicle is manufactured since 2002 and marketed in 120 countries and under six different brands namely, ZAZ, Suzuki, Pontiac, Holden, Daewoo, and Chevrolet. Its first generation model was generally known as the ‘Aveo’, however, in other South African, Mexican, Japan, Israel, Chile, Middle East, and North American markets the vehicle is known as the ‘Sonic’.
One of the best things about the vehicle is that it is available in two body styles: Sedan and Hatchback. Therefore, it offers the utmost practicality for a small family or for anyone looking for a reasonably priced vehicle that comes equipped with a wide array of safety and infotainment features. The first generation model was introduced in 2002 and continued in production till 2010. A year later, the Sonic’s second generation model made its debut at the Paris Motor Show.
Since then, the new design and wide array of features have boosted the car’s overall popularity. Therefore, it has become one of Chevrolet’s best-selling vehicles in a short period of time. Numerous sport special editions of the vehicle have also been introduced, thus increasing its popularity even more. The vehicle is most famous for its small, but powerful engine and its exceptional fuel efficiency on the roads of the city as well as the highway.
The Chevrolet Sonic also proves to be an incredibly exciting and fun vehicle to drive due to its compact size and of course, youthful and stylish looks. Not to mention this little beast offers plenty of interior room for its segment. This means the vehicle can easily accommodate four passengers while providing enough shoulder room and rear headroom. Therefore, the Sonic is one of those very rare cars that ultimately remains pleasant inside and out, while still maintaining strong safety, reliability, and performance.
Recently, Chevrolet has launched the 2015 model year of the Chevrolet Sonic. This vehicle too is available in two body styles: Sedan and Hatchback and comes in a variety of configurations, such as LS Automatic ($15,495), LT 1.4L Manual ($15,855), LT 1.8L Manual ($15,855), LT 1.4 L Automatic and Manual ($17,245), LTZ Manual ($18,235), LTZ Automatic ($19,680), RS Manual ($19,945), and RS Automatic ($21,345). However, the main focus of this review would be on the base sedan LS Manual model and its performance, interior, exterior, safety, and infotainment features.
|1.8-L, I4||5-Speed Manual||138 HP||125 Lb-Ft|
|0-60 MPH||Top Speed||Body Style||MPG|
|8.3s||88 MPH||Sub-compact||29 City/40 Hwy|
The 2015 Chevrolet Sonic utilizes the same transmissions and engines you will find in its bigger brother namely the Chevrolet Cruze. It drives incredibly well for the sub-compact car segment (thanks to the good steering wheel and new axle setup) and even comes equipped with a sports-tuned suspension in the RS model. Usually, it would be best to opt for the 1.4-Liter Turbocharged RS Model, but the base LS Manual also proves to surprisingly deliver exceptional performance.
The small and compact ECOTEC Four-Cylinder, 1.4-Liter engine can easily generate 125 pounds of torque and 135 horsepower (quite impressive for a subcompact vehicle) and delivers exceptional fuel efficiency giving 29 miles-per-gallon (MPG) in the City and 40 on the highway. Since the vehicle has a returned and lower suspension as well as lower gear ratios; it also provides excellent acceleration that it almost seems like you’re driving a small sports car!
Although most people would opt for the automatic version of the car, upon testing the performance of both transmissions, the manual actually proves to be a whole lot fun to drive. This is partly because the Sonic comes equipped with a smaller engine; hence it offers precise, direct shift action with pleasingly short throws. The gears are as smooth as anything and the clutch doesn’t make any weird clattering sounds, a problem found in the Honda Fit (a rival of the Sonic).
Therefore, for a decent and reasonable price of $14,245 only, the Sonic definitely proves to deliver excellent performance. Of course, if you want a little more power and torque, then you can opt for the larger and powerful turbocharged trims, but as you can see from the specifications mentioned above, the base model is perfect in all aspects!
In terms of exterior styling, Chevy has certainly done its due diligence and focused on creating a sharp profile and cockpit. The car is incredibly stylish and sporty in terms of appearance and flirts with the line between boldness and conservativeness. Even in its fifth model year, the vehicle has an edgier look than most cars in its segment and definitely blows the mind of all car-enthusiasts and of course its competitors for more than five years, the Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent.
On the front end of the vehicle, Chevy has added new stylish LED headlamps that provide great light during nighttime. A new bumper has also been added with sockets on both sides delivering a sporty look and right in the center Chevy has added two layers of grilles with the Chevrolet Logo in between. The back-end of the car has also undergone significant changes and new oval taillights and socket bumpers have been introduced.
Chevrolet has also extended the rear of the car, hence providing larger trunk space. A longer roof and better styled front and back doors have been added. Therefore, the vehicle definitely proves to be a complete beauty! In fact, it is the perfect vehicle to purchase for any first-time buyer who craves a sporty look, but demands good performance and reliability.
Inside, the Chevrolet Sonic looks no different than any luxurious car only that it has a more compact size. The vehicle proves to be incredibly spacious, which is a first for its segment and also proves to be exceptionally comfortable. Therefore, drivers can easily relax and drive even on long road trips. Best part is that the vehicle has a dual-cockpit interior and motorcycle-inspired instrument cluster with graphite silver accents that gets your blood pumping even before you turn the key.
The center of the dash curves down through a V-Shaped center stack and the materials are definitely upscale for a subcompact that has a price tag of only $14,245. The seats are covered with durable leather material and prove to be incredibly comfortable. Designers have also added contrast to the interior by using chrome trim rings around circular elements. Therefore, the vehicle looks like it costs more than it actually does.
The interior is also pleasantly quiet and road and wind noise have also been muted. Therefore, all drivers will be hearing is the shift sound while gearing and the roaring sound while pumping the gas!
In terms of features, the 2015 Chevrolet Sonic is no longer offered as a totally stripped base model. This means that even the base model comes equipped with a wide array of user-convenience and infotainment features. Every Sonic features alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, remote keyless entry, steering wheel audio controls, and air conditioning. The only feature that’s lacking is a USB port, otherwise for a price of $14,245 the vehicle doesn’t lack on any important features.
As for trim levels, the LT model comes equipped with a connectivity and cruise package, remote starting capability, power heated mirrors, satellite radio, and six-speaker audio system. The top-of-the-line LTZ adds larger 17-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, heated front seats, and the sporty RS models come equipped with a variety of other interior upgrades.
The Chevrolet MyLink system that includes a 7-inch touchscreen with voice recognition, hands-free connectivity, and audio streaming is standard for the LTZ models, but can be bought at an additional price for the base LS model and the LT and RS models. All in all, the Chevrolet Sonic is a complete package for the budget-conscious buyers looking for a wide array of infotainment and convenience features.
In terms of safety, Chevrolet has added more features than expected. First of all, the brand has replaced the conventional drum brakes with a new anti-lock brake assist system. Blind spot mirrors have also been added and all trim levels come equipped with 10 standard air bags! Of course, other safety options can be purchased for additional price.
These include rear-vision camera, forward-collision system, and lane-departure warning. In terms of safety ratings, the Sonic is rated with five stars (the highest score in its segment) by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have also given the vehicle top ‘good’ ratings for roof crash, side crash, front, and rear crash. Therefore, the Chevrolet Sonic proves to be the safest subcompact vehicle on the market.
With its exceptional performance, sporty styling, spacious and elegant interior, and wide array of infotainment and safety features, the Chevrolet Sonic has attracted the attention of many top manufacturers. Some of the top competitors of the vehicle include the 2015 Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa, Honda Fit, and Ford Fiesta.