2013 Chevrolet Sonic Review
Reviewers think the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic is a smart choice for shoppers who want a small car with smooth performance, sharp handling and a spacious cabin. Those who want more optional features should check out competitors, they add.
The Sonic comes standard with a four-cylinder engine. Test drivers like this engine for its EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 25/35 mpg city/highway, which are the best of the model line. However, they prefer the optional turbocharged four-cylinder engine because it feels quicker. Regardless of which engine they tested, most reviewers are satisfied with the standard manual and optional automatic transmissions, which they say shift gears quickly and smoothly. Reviewers say that one of the 2013 Sonic’s best characteristics is its sharp handling, though a few think its steering is too light.
Reviewers are surprised that a subcompact like the Chevrolet Sonic can have as much cargo and passenger space as it does. They say the front row offers spacious, comfortable seats, but it’s the second row that sets the Sonic apart. Test drivers say the rear row is roomy enough for adults, which is rare praise for a subcompact. Though spacious, the Sonic’s cabin is made with inexpensive materials and doesn’t offer as many features as its rivals. A USB port and satellite radio, for example, are not standard, and a navigation system isn’t available at all. Though the Sonic has fewer standard tech amenities compared with some rivals, reviewers are very pleased that its interior controls are not confusing. In addition, the Sonic has 10 standard airbags, as well as very good safety scores that earn it an above-average safety rating for the class.
- "It's fun to drive and offers a surprising depth and breadth of features. Lackluster as-tested fuel economy is the only significant black mark on an otherwise excellent small car. Sonic merits serious consideration in a class that's becoming ever more competitive." -- Consumer Guide
- "The Sonic's looks, features, performance and price make it a winner in spite of the interior's unappealing materials." -- The Detroit Free Press (2012)
- "Sonic is a good car: useful, easy to drive, a good value. It's just not the high-class, scintillating little scooter we were expecting. For many buyers, though, it could hit the sweet spot." -- USA Today (2012)
- "The … Chevrolet Sonic LTZ turbo is a competent driver with good fuel economy, but its cabin tech falls behind the compact-car competition." -- CNET (2012)
Other Cars to Consider
Like the Sonic, the Ford Fiesta is a subcompact that’s available as a sedan and a hatchback. Although the Fiesta is only available with one engine, reviewers like its crisp handling and refined engine, which combine to create a small car that’s pretty fun to drive for its price point.
The Kia Rio sedan and hatchback’s cargo room is competitive with the Sonic’s. Reviewers are very impressed with the Rio’s fuel economy ratings. The Rio also has more standard tech features than the Sonic, including a USB port and satellite radio.
Details: 2013 Chevrolet Sonic
The five-seat 2013 Chevrolet Sonic is available in sedan and hatchback body styles, which come in LS, LT and LTZ trims. The hatchback is also available as an RS model, which is new for the 2013 model year. The base Sonic comes with a 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine, but the top-of-the-line RS model has a 1.4-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The Sonic was new for the 2012 model year, so this review uses research from 2012 and 2013.