Safety was clearly not a top priority for the Aveo models that the Sonic replaced last year, but what a difference a year made. The Sonic performs much more strongly, though a new IIHS test points out the need for further work.GM designed and engineered the Sonic on an all-new global platform, intended from the start to provide class-leading occupant protection in multiple markets. Nearly 60 percent of the body structure is made of high-strength steel, and a new engine cradle system helps disperse crash forces in a way that especially helps in frontal impacts.
From inside, the structure of the Sonic feels vaultlike next to some other small-car designs, and its safety ratings have been top-notch so far, with IIHS Top Safety pick status this past year plus five-star federal ratings and ten standard airbags. And in the IIHS roof strength test, which is related to the likelihood of injury in a rollover, the Sonic managed to withstand more than five times its weight—yielding a top 'good' rating. However, in the new IIHS small-overlap test, the Sonic gets a "marginal" score, which drops its overall score here and keeps it from making the Top Safety Pick+ list.
Anti-lock brakes with Brake Assist are included across the model line—though it has rear drums rather than discs on all versions. All models get blind-spot mirrors this year, too.