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2012 Chevrolet Sonic Photo
8.0
/ 10
On Green
BASE INVOICE
$13,518
BASE MSRP
$13,865
On Green
The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic earns a spot in the 40-mpg club—though you have to pay a little extra to get there.
8.0 out of 10
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Expert Quotes:

26 mpg city, 35 highway (manual 1.8); 25/35 (auto 1.8); 29/40 (manual 1.4T)
U.S. EPA

the Sonic weighs in at some 2800 pounds, a good 300-pounds more than most entries in the segment
Automobile Magazine




One of the traditional reasons to downsize is to get better fuel economy. But if you get the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic with the base 1.8-liter engine, its gas mileage ratings, surprisingly, aren't that much better than those of a base, mid-size 2012 Toyota Camry. The 1.4T engine, which is a $700 option in LT and LTZ models, gets better ratings of 29 mpg city, 40 highway, although its ratings with the automatic—not available until later in the year—haven't yet been released.

Even though that places the premium for the 1.4T Sonic to be about $1,400 more than the base Sonic LS, it's a choice that's likely to pay off in the long run, especially if you're planning to keep the car over the long term or if you were already planning to get a better-equipped LT or LTZ. The 1.4T, unlike many turbocharged engines, has been tuned and engineered to run on regular unleaded fuel as well.

On a route that included a mix of city stop-and-go followed by more aggressive driving on winding two-lane roads, we observed that the 1.4T also proves considerably more fuel-efficient in real-world driving. We first managed about 28 mpg in an automatic 1.8-liter Sonic. But in a manual 1.4T in about the same conditions we saw 31 mpg, then 33 mpg in another car, mostly on the highway.

Conclusion

The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic earns a spot in the 40-mpg club—though you have to pay a little extra to get there.

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