The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic isn't bland, and while you wouldn't call its lines edgy, they're aggressive enough to make it look fresh--even in its third model year. It's bolder and much sportier than both other cars in the class and its predecessor, the Chevy Aveo.
The five-door hatchback is the more cohesive of the two body styles, with the angled window line ending in a truncated tail. The rear doors have their handles hidden in the black trim connecting the pillar and door, giving it a sort of coupe-like impression, and the short rear and longer front overhangs combine to make it feel sporty. The sedan has the same wheelbase, but gets conventional rear doors, a longer roof, and a surprisingly large trunk under the extended rear. But it's a bit less integrated as a whole, and like many subcompacts, Chevy has found that it's selling more hatchbacks than it might have predicted.
The front fascia and large dual grille are the same on both models, featuring round headlights under the clear covers that give a sporty "projector" look. Chevy gets credit for fitting every single Sonic, even the base LS model, with alloy wheels--no grim plastic covers over steel wheels here.
The dash and door design forms a smaller version of Chevy's traditional twin-cockpit look, with a motorcycle-inspired small instrument cluster standing proud of the dashboard itself, behind the steering wheel. The center of the dash curves down through a V-shaped center stack into a console area that wraps around the front-seat riders. The materials are surprisingly upscale for a subcompact, and the three-spoke steering wheel reinforces the Chevrolet identify.
The designers have used chrome trim rings around circular elements, but sparingly, and contrasting materials with different grains for the upper and lower parts of the dash. This is still an inexpensive-car interior--no Cadillac hand-sewn leather here--but it's surprisingly well done, and looks like it costs more than it does.