The former Aveo was always quite good with respect to comfort—a trait that likely helped it earn a popular spot in rental-car fleets. But the new 2012 Chevrolet Sonic covers more than just the basics—with better detail, more cubbies, and a sense of flair.
Front and rear seating is virtually the same, whether you choose the sedan or hatchback. Front perches are comfortable enough for a few hours on the highway, and the driving position felt just right for a wide range of drivers—with the protruding gauge cluster (which appears a bit odd and overstyled at first) perfectly placed and very easy to read.
In back, this 6'-6” editor was able to fit in the back seat without hunching—a feat that can't be claimed in some cars much larger—although legroom and knee room was very limited. Unless you have shorter front-seat occupants and can really scoot those seats up, you're only dealing with a child-size space.
The one major letdown with the package is that the load floor is surprisingly high—much higher than the Honda Fit, which is still the packaging/space champ. However, a rather large underfloor tray opens up some more space at the far back of the car—enough, comfortably, to keep a couple of laptops or a small valise out of sight. One other thing worth noting is that sedans actually have more cargo space (thanks to their extra length); their trunk is 19 cubic feet, versus 14 for hatchbacks, and the seatbacks fold down (flat if you load them and don't have the front seats up too far) in either version. Cubbies are a strong point, with a couple of large bins toward the middle of the dash, along with in the door—although the backseat area lacks storage spaces.
One item that bothered us repeatedly is that (as in the Ford Fiesta) the central locking controls are in the center console, in a position that's hard to reach if you've already gotten out of the driver's seat. It can also be a long glance down to the climate control dials, with no display up high to indicate settings.
Ride and refinement are top-notch compared to other budget-priced small cars. We noticed none of the little trim-and-panel vibrations that seem par in this class. Road noise in particular seemed very well damped, although in one LTZ model with the larger wheels we did hear irregularities a bit more at low speed.