2012 Chevrolet Sonic Review
The Chevrolet Sonic is an all-new small car that replaces the Chevrolet Aveo, and compared to the outdated and poor-performing Aveo, test drivers are very pleased with the Sonic.
How has Chevrolet taken the Sonic to the next level? Like rivals, the Sonic is available as a hatchback and sedan. It gets the same four-cylinder engines as the Chevrolet Cruze: a 1.4-liter turbocharged and 1.8-liter normally aspirated engine. These engines aren’t the most powerful in the class, but reviewers are very pleased with the Sonic’s performance, saying it corners just as well as the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit, if not better. Chevrolet also upped the interior features on the Sonic, giving it a standard radio, auxiliary input jack, air conditioning and a lot more safety features than the outgoing Aveo. Amenities like leatherette seats, a sunroof, USB port and heated front seats are optional. Outside, test drivers say the exterior of the Sonic is more aggressive and sportier than its predecessor.
So far, the industry thinks the Sonic has a lot going for it, but some automotive journalists are pessimistic about the Sonic’s future, and say that it may lose its shine quickly. With affordable small cars like the Hyundai Elantra and Chevrolet Cruze on the market with interiors that are borderline upscale, they fear the Chevrolet Sonic could be left in the dust.
Other Cars to Consider
The Ford Fiesta is a top Sonic competitor. Starting at about $13,000, the Fiesta costs a few hundred less than the Sonic, and is also available as a sedan and hatchback. Reviewers like the Fiesta just as much as the Sonic, and whether or not you buy one is a matter of personal taste and how much cargo space you need. If you want more space and a sporty, aggressive attitude, start with the Sonic, but if you a small car with a more relaxed attitude and don’t mind losing a few cubic feet of cargo space, go for the Fiesta.
If you’re into hatchbacks, the Honda Fit offers spacious seating and one of the most unique storage options on the market. In all, the Fit offers 20.6 cubic feet of storage room with the rear seats in use. It also has a Magic Seat, which allows you to configure the front passenger seat and back seats to accommodate passengers and your stuff. The Sonic cannot compete with this innovative storage feature, so if you need to haul a bike or frequently shop at IKEA, get the Fit.
For more luxury features at an affordable price, consider the Hyundai Elantra. The Elantra starts at about $16,500, and you can equip it with heated leather seats, a rearview camera, navigation and push-button start for about $23,300. The Elantra also has some of the highest fuel economy ratings in the class at 29/40 mpg city/highway, and unlike the Chevrolet Cruze and Ford Fiesta, you don’t need to buy a special package to get these numbers.
Details: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
The 2012 Sonic is an all-new model from Chevrolet that replaces the Chevrolet Aveo and has the same engines as the well-liked Chevrolet Cruze. The Sonic also gets a number of optional interior features like heated front seats, remote start and a sunroof. The Sonic’s standard features are basic, but typical for the class. It gets air conditioning, AM/FM radio and an auxiliary input jack.
The Sonic sedan starts at $13,735, while the hatchback costs $900 more.
- "From an engineering and performance standpoint, the newest Chevy delivers more than enough to let us almost forget that the Aveo ever happened. And for buyers who consider a car's birthplace an important factor, the 2012 Sonic is the only car in the segment built in the United States." -- AutoWeek
- "Chevy is loading up the Sonic with a litany of features and safety equipment." -- Car and Driver
- "To keep it simple, the Sonic is a well-designed, good-looking, fun-to-drive small car, The General’s anti-Fiesta and Fit-fighter." -- Road and Track
- "Chassis stiffness was one of the GM engineers' main goals, and they met it. For such a small, inexpensive car, the Sonic feels substantial." -- Popular Mechanics
- "A slinkier shape and a sexier name for the new baby Chevy." -- Edmunds