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2015 Chevrolet Sonic Photo
7.6
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by John Voelcker
Senior Editor, The Car Connection
2015 pricing not available.
2014 BASE MSRP: $14,170
Quick Take
The 2015 Chevrolet Sonic is comfortable, stylish, safe, and drives well, and almost completely blots out our memory of a much worse Chevy Aveo from the past. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

looks nice and modern, employing the standard two-port Chevy grille

CNET »

manages to look something less than dumpy—a huge achievement in this segment

Car and Driver »

large analog tachometer and digital speedo in a display that looks like it came off a sportbike

Popular Mechanics »
7.6 out of 10
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2015 Chevrolet Sonic 4-Door Sedan Manual LS
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2015 Chevrolet Sonic 4-Door Sedan Manual LT
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2015 Chevrolet Sonic 4-Door Sedan Manual LTZ
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2015 Chevrolet Sonic 4-Door Sedan Manual RS
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The Basics:

The days of the Aveo are all but a distant memory for us now–in its fourth year of production, the Chevrolet Sonic has established itself as the first usable, desirable subcompact sedan in the GM portfolio in years. And, it's not even the smallest subcompact in the Chevrolet stable. That seat is now occupied by the Chevrolet Spark.

However, the slightly larger size is what sets the Sonic apart amongst its competitors like the Hyundai Accent, Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit. With exception to the Fit, the Sonic is also one of the most enjoyable cars to drive in its segment, and its availability in both sedan and hatchback make it all the more versatile, too.

The base engine is a conventional 1.8-liter four, but we greatly prefer the optional turbocharged 1.4-liter four--it's also the better of the same pair of engines offered in the Cruze compact. The turbo four gives stronger acceleration, it's more fun to drive, and it gets better gas-mileage ratings too. Only the 1.8 is offered in the base LS trim level, to keep costs down, but in our view, it's worth it to step up to the LT to get the better engine. Either engine can be ordered with a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed automatic transmission.

On the road, the Sonic is enjoyable to drive considering its modest price, and the electric power steering in particular is nicely weighted. It feels strong and sturdy, not tinny, and refinement is better than many competitors, with engine and road noise well suppressed. Plus, the Sonic gets good safety ratings: five stars from the NHTSA, and Good on four out of five IIHS tests (although a 'marginal' small overlap rating keeps it from Top Safety Pick status). All models have 10 standard airbags, and blind-spot mirrors, and Chevy's added an optional crash-avoidance system last year as well.

Both body styles share the same wheelbase, front styling, and front doors, but differ considerably behind the center pillar. The rear doors of the hatchback have their handles hidden in a black trim panel--purportedly to give it more of a coupe look--while those of the sedan are conventional. Inside the cabin, the twin-cockpit design echoes other Chevrolet models but sports edgier design--including a "motorcycle inspired" instrument cluster. Still, the controls and passenger accommodations offer a high quality of materials and finishes.

Two adults can fit comfortably in the front, and the rear seats are spacious for a subcompact--though four adults will still have to negotiate a bit to give rear-seat riders enough leg room. The rear seatbacks flip forward, turning the hatchback into a moving van and making the sedan, with its big trunk, almost into a sort of mini-pickup truck. While neither is quite as versatile in its interior configurations as the near-magical Honda Fit, neither model has any serious packaging flaws.

And compliments to Chevy for making alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity, and steering-wheel audio controls standard on every trim level--even the base LS--along with air conditioning and remote keyless entry. Remote start comes standard on automatic LT models, and a Connectivity & Cruise package adds a USB port and cruise control to the LT as well.

There's also a sporty-looking Sonic RS model, offered only as a hatchback. It doesn't actually offer any more power, but its appearance has been upgraded with changes to the front fascia, unique wheels, a retuned exhaust, and a variety of interior trim items (sport seats, special steering wheel, aluminum pedals).

With its focus on young buyers, infotainment is a strong point for the Sonic. The available Chevrolet MyLink system, new last year, includes a 7-inch color touchscreen display, hands-free connectivity, streaming audio (along with Pandora and Stitcher apps) and voice recognition. MyLink can be added to any Sonic, and is standard on the top LTZ model as well as the RS.

As of last year, Chevy offers the Bringgo navigation app for the Sonic as well as the Spark minicar, where it launched last year. For a one-time $50 fee, drivers can run Bringgo on their smartphones, which plug into the dash and display both maps and routing on the MyLink display. It's an inexpensive way to add navigation at a much lower cost, and we think the "smartphone, dumb screen" model will spread rapidly among tech-savvy consumers.

For 2015, OnStar now comes with 4G LTE connectivity and the ability to create an in-car WiFi hotspot. LTZ models now come standard with the 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder.

Likes:

  • Comfortable, well-sized seats
  • Power and efficiency from turbo four
  • Refined, smooth ride
  • Nicely weighted steering
  • Aggressive, non-econobox design

Dislikes:

  • Brakes could be firmer
  • Coarse, gutless base engine
  • Why isn't USB standard?
Next: Interior / Exterior »

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