2012 Chevrolet Sonic Review

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8.0
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Styling
8.0
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Performance
8.0
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Comfort & Quality
7.0
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10
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7.0
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Fuel Economy
8.0
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2017
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2012
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The Car Connection Expert Review

The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic is neither subsonic nor supersonic—but it's a good, sound choice and a world better than the Aveo it replaces.

With the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, General Motors is at last fully in the small-car game. That might sound silly to those who can recall a laundry list of former Chevrolet small cars—Chevette, Vega, Spectrum, Cavalier, Cobalt, Aveo, Metro, Sprint, to mention a few—but most of those vehicles truly felt like halfhearted efforts that took second stage to the automakers trucks and larger cars.

That's not the case with the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, a completely new, global small car that thankfully has nothing to do with the rental-car-mainstay, the Aveo, that it replaces—thus the new model name.

At a time when the subcompact class seems to be segmenting into two camps—with the Nissan Versa, Honda Fit, and Hyundai Accent on the larger side, and the Ford Fiesta, Toyota Yaris, and even the Fiat 500 at the lower end of the scale—the Sonic lands mostly in that smaller group, at least by the EPA's definition. Yet in looking at curb weight (about 2,600 pounds), the Sonic ranks as one of the heavier vehicles in this class.

Factor in an all-new structure that feels transformational compared to the Aveo's, and vaultlike next to many other small-car designs, combined with a top-notch safety list (already an IIHS Top Safety pick, five-star federal ratings, and ten standard airbags), and we have no hesitation in calling the Sonic the safest subcompact pick among 2012 models.

There are two engines available in the Sonic, and both of them are poached from the Chevrolet Cruze lineup: a normally aspirated 1.8-liter four, or a turbocharged 1.4-liter four. Both can be had with either a manual gearbox or an all-new six-speed automatic. The 1.4T is definitely our favored choice between the two, as it's more flexible as well as more fuel-efficient. Nicely weighted steering rounds out the driving package, and while the Sonic is actually surprisingly good fun to drive, the steering is if anything a little too isolated and damped. That speaks for the rest of the package—which is great, from a passenger and comfort perspective. The Sonic is supremely roomy, comfortable, refined, tight, and quiet for a small car, and it's really hard to find any serious flaws with the entire package—and in our opinion, it looks better than most in this class in sedan form, even though we love hatches.

The Sonic delights with surprise standard features like alloy wheels on all models, plus remote keyless entry and air conditioning, and comes pretty well-equipped for around $15k. But then, in this arms race of features and value, there are some disappointments. For instance, you'll need to reach to LT or LTZ models to be able to option to the 1.4T engine, and some tech essentials like USB (with full iPod control) and Bluetooth are optional and only offered on the top-of-the-line LTZ model. That said, a loaded 2012 Sonic LTZ should still total below the $20k mark—a seriously good deal in today's market.

The Car Connection Consumer Review

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October 9, 2016
2012 Chevrolet Sonic 4-Door Sedan LS 1LS

Very disappointed.

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The car was recalled for a part in the transmission. I took it in and asked that they also check the brakes while the car was in the shop. The repair was made on the transmission, and I was informed the brakes... + More »
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March 8, 2016
2012 Chevrolet Sonic 2012 Chevrolet Sonic

While the car is still reliable, as it has aged, the gas mileage has gotten much worse.

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The car has a piece of plastic on the bottom of the front fender (which looks almost like an old fashioned "cow catcher" on a train) which is always catching on parking curbs. It also makes the front of the... + More »
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August 9, 2015
2012 Chevrolet Sonic 4-Door Sedan LT 1LT

Fun to drive gas miser.

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Overall fun car to drive, great gas mileage. Interior is decent and roomy, gets old looking at bike gauges pretty quick. Reliability not that great. Plenty of storage. Enormous trunk. Handling is good, ride... + More »
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