2012 Chevrolet Sonic
Starting MSRP $13,865–$18,625
With its new Sonic, Chevrolet now has a more compelling contender in the subcompact segment. The Sonic replaces the Aveo and will compete with the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit and Nissan Versa. Like the Fiesta and Versa, the Sonic is available in sedan and hatchback body styles.
The Sonic is a big change from the Aveo, with all-new exterior and interior styling as well as fresh engine and transmission options. Engine choices are the same ones you'll find in the larger Chevrolet Cruze, including a turbocharged offering.
The Sonic's aggressive looks are a departure from the normal bubbly, cute look of many subcompacts. Chevrolet says it took design inspiration for the headlights from the motorcycle world. The Sonic's hunkered-down and raked stance adds to its aggressive looks. There isn't much of a gap between the tire and fender, a characteristic possibly the result of Corvette engineers who tuned the ride and handling.
Some of the more interesting features include hidden rear door handles on hatchback models and a matte-black-painted front grille for all Sonics.
Like the outside, the inside takes inspiration from motorcycles, Chevrolet says. The instrument cluster is one of the more identifiable products of that approach, attaching a floating digital LCD readout to an analog speedometer.
Judging by the initial specifications available from Chevrolet, the interior dimensions don't seem very different from the Aveo. Trunk space for the sedan has increased, though, growing from 12.4 cubic feet to 14 cubic feet. The hatchback sees added cargo room behind the rear seat, but total cargo volume is down with the seats folded, shrinking from 37.2 cubic feet to 30.7 cubic feet.
An available remote start is a feature not commonly seen in this segment. Other options include heated front seats and a sunroof.
Under the Hood
Like the Chevrolet Cruze, the Sonic comes with a base 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and an available turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder. The turbocharged engine makes 138 horsepower. Available transmissions for the 1.8-liter include a five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. The 1.4-liter is available with a six-speed manual transmission.
Standard safety equipment includes 10 standard air bags, antilock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, and OnStar with Automatic Crash Response. As required by federal law, the Sonic includes standard electronic stability system and antilock brakes, features that were optional on the Aveo.
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