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STYLING | 8 out of 10
looks nice and modern, employing the standard two-port Chevy grille
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
The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic doesn't look particularly edgy, but it presents with a somewhat bolder, sportier twist to traditional small-car styling and design.
For the hatchback, the wedgy profile and 'hidden' rear door handles (up above, at the back of the windowline) are the keys to giving the Sonic a little something different. Meanwhile, the sedans, which add a few more inches of overall length (the wheelbase is the same) get an elongated roofline (and traditional door handles) that gives the Sonic an entirely different sense of proportion, even if the front end is essentially the same. If you're at all torn between styles, you'll want to park them each side by side to see the differences.
Across either body style, sheetmetal is nicely contoured, and fine detailing throughout give it an entirely different, more upscale (and even somewhat sporty) look and feel. And in front, the Sonic gets an 'amped up' look, with a large dual grille, moved downward over the bumper, big round headlights set in a black background, and black background trim throughout. And shockingly, all Sonic models, even the base LS, come with alloy wheels.
Inside, you'll find a more cockpit-like design than in other small cars, and outside of up-close materials and detailing, it's impressively upscale. A cockpit-like instrument panel wraps around to the doors and curves downward into a center console area, enveloping the front-seat occupants. The three-spoke steering-wheel design shows continuity with other new Chevy models, as does the V-shaped center stack, which very efficiently and attractively consolidates audio and climate controls.
Overall, the look of the interior is right up there with more expensive GM vehicles, although the materials aren't quite the same, understandably. That said, they're better than many other models on the market, and we appreciate the sparing use of chrome trim rings, as well as the contrasting, grained instrument-panel in upper trims.
The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic looks sporty, and at first take there's nothing bare-bones about it.