By Jennifer Newman on January 5, 2012
With its aggressive looks, the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic certainly grabs attention in a way the forgettable Aveo, which the Sonic replaces, never did. While this all-new subcompact may not scream family car — it probably doesn't even whisper it — it could be a family's second car that occasionally has child-safety seats installed in it. The Sonic is available in sedan and hatchback body styles; we tested the sedan.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide 30 rear-facing infant-safety seat, a Britax Roundabout convertible child-safety seat and Graco high-back TurboBooster seat.
The front seats are adjusted to a comfortable position for a 6-foot driver and a 5-foot-8 passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant seat and convertible seats are installed behind the passenger seat. We also install the infant seat in the second row's middle seat with the booster and convertible in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible.
Here's how the 2012 Sonic did in Cars.com's Car Seat Check:
Latch system: There are two sets of lower Latch anchors in the Sonic's outboard seats. They were difficult to use with traditional Latch connectors, which are on our rear-facing infant-safety seat, because the anchors sit deeply between the back and bottom cushions. We had an easier time using the Latch anchors with the rigid Latch connectors on our convertible car seat. Three tether anchors are on the rear shelf behind the backseat's head restraints. They sit under hinged plastic covers and are easy to use.
Booster seat: Our high-back booster seat fit in the Sonic, but we had problems with it running over the seat belt buckles, which are recessed in the bottom seat cushion. This is frustrating for older kids (and their parents) who want to buckle up independently.
Convertible seat: The forward-facing convertible fit well in the backseat. We had to move the front passenger seat forward a bit to accommodate the rear-facing convertible, but the front passenger still had enough legroom even with the seat moved forward.
Infant-safety seat: To fit this car seat, we had to move the front passenger seat forward and then adjust the front passenger seatback into an upright position, which our tester found uncomfortable.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
Editor's note: For three car seats — infant-safety seat, convertible and booster seats — to fit in a car, our criterion is that a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Newman is a certified car-seat technician. A mom of two, she owns a 2013 Subaru Outback crammed with sports gear. Email Jennifer