2012 Chevrolet Sonic
It’s been decades since GM has taken the subcompact car market seriously enough to try and build a quality product in America. But, with the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, GM says they will no longer sit back and allow inexpensive imports to dominate this increasingly important segment.
The styling of the new Sonic will certainly help appeal, as its youthful mix of modern lines and sharp body creases should attract the young and young at heart alike. Inside, the Sonic is impressively roomy, and again very youthful with it’s motorcycle-pod-like gauges, plus material quality is equal to or better than rivals. Buyers not only get to chose between sedan and hatchback, but will also have a choice of engines; a 1.8-liter normally aspirated inline-4 and a 1.4-liter turbo-4; both from the larger Cruze.
We can report that the Sonic is more fun to drive than expected as the turbo 4 has good response and pull. Steering is light and quick, and the beam rear suspension well tuned, but soft springs still allow for a good amount of roll.
Fuel economy will be critical to the Sonic’s success. And, while not yet official, its best highway fuel economy rating will be 40 miles per gallon or better.
Also critical is pricing. The Michigan made Sonic sedan starts at about $14,500 and the hatchback begins near $15,400. While higher than the outgoing Aveo, the Sonic is a much better car; and one that’s worthy of doing battle in the global sub-compact car market.
Engine: 1.8-liter or 1.4-liter turbo-4
EPA: 40 mph highway
Price: Sedan starts at $14,500, hatchback begins near $15,400