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Chevrolet Sonic

cannon3cannon3 Posts: 296
edited January 21 in Chevrolet
Why is this not on the boards in either Sedans or Hatchback?

Well, there here! I saw the first one the other day at a soccer match. Time to add to discussion boards.
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Comments

  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    Yes, definitely! My local dealer got their first Sonic this week, so I stopped in to take a look. It was on the showfloor--white LT sedan with gray interior, list $17.3k, automatic with Cruise-plus package (includes Bluetooth and remote start). Pretty good looking, even in basic white. The front with the aggressive quad headlamps was sharp. Driving position was good with height-adjustable seat and telescopic steering column. Gauges were a little weird, with a big round tach on the left and what I assume is a digital readout for speed in a square binnacle to the left. A bit too much "Look at me, I'm trying to be different!" for my taste, but I'm sure some folks will like it. Center controls were similar to those on other recent GM vehicles, but did not have the smoothness of those on, say, the Cruze (especially the HVAC knobs). But interior looked fine for the price point, with nicely textured seats. Signs of cost cutting included the hard plastic armrests on the doors and lack of a center console (although there was a driver's right armrest).

    Rear seat had just enough room in the sit-behind test for reasonable comfort for short trips. I could have used a little more thigh support, but it wasn't bad. Good foot room, as I had the driver's seat set pretty high. No center armrest in back... that's getting pretty rare in this class now.

    Trunk seemed roomy enough and I was glad to see a spare tire under the floor--and I didn't see a charge for it, so it must be standard. Good move by Chevy.

    Powertrain was the 1.8L Ecotech plus 6AT. I was a bit surprised to see this combo was rated only 25/35 mpg. I thought with a car lighter than the Cruze the numbers might be higher. They don't compare well to the 30/40 of the Accent and new Rio, which also have 138 hp and a 6AT.

    I liked what I saw enough to give it a test drive once units are available for a drive, but just based on what I've seen so far I'd have to give the Accent the advantage for the better fuel economy, nicer looking dash (especially with the piano black trim), bigger alloys (16" vs 15"), a little better rear seat leg room, slightly better styling, and longer warranty. The Sonic has to its advantage OnStar, available remote start, excellent head room in back, and a spare tire. I'll be interested to check out the Sonic wagon when it's available.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,914
    A reporter seeks to interview California residents who are currently considering a new Chevy sedan (Cruze, Malibu, Sonic) or who recently bought one. Please email pr@edmunds.com by Friday, October 14, 2011 and indicate your city of residence, your daytime phone number, the Chevy sedan of interest and the car model you currently drive.

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  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,914
    A reporter is interested in talking with owners of a 2012 Chevy Sonic who are also parents. If you are interested in commenting on your experience, please reply to pr@edmunds.com no later than Friday, November 4, 2011 and include your city and state of residence, the model year of your vehicle and the age of your child/ren.

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  • You mention you are glad to see a spare tire under the floor in the trunk and then go on to say you have to give the Accent the advantage for the better fuel economy. The reason the Accent has better fuel economy is because the weight of the car is lower because....wait for it....there is NO spare tire. I haven't seen the Sonic in person yet but look forward to checking it out. You may never need a spare tire; however, in that one instance where the "inflation kit" is useless because the tire is not viable I will go for the spare in the trunk and the slightly lower gas mileage every time.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    I know where I can pick up a temporary spare tire for an Accent pretty easily. But not so easy to change the Sonic to get better FE.

    Do you really think the Accent's lack of a spare tire is a big reason for its FE advantage? Really? I don't.

    From what I've seen of the Sonic, and big brother Cruze, if I went Chevy I'd pay a few more bucks and get the Cruze. The Eco 6MT looks especially interesting to me.
  • I saw a Sonic Hatchback today...pretty cool.
    The only thing I didn't like is the fact that you have to bring the front seats way up front to lower the back seats and the back seats don't slide back...no rails.
    Once the seats down, good cargo space but the seats don't lower "flat" that turned me off a bit, there's a little slope. To me, that's a "no no".
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    James Healey had a generally positive review of the Sonic LTZ hatchback today. He didn't like the instrument cluster and thought the car should have been more tossable, but admitted he might have had different expectations for the car.

    I'm not a fan of the instrument cluster either, but then I don't ride a motorcycle--which is apparently what inspired the display.

    One thing that surprised me a bit was the price: $18.7k for the tested car, with a stick shift. You can get a nice compact with a stick for that money or not much more, including the Cruze, Elantra, Focus, and even the new Mazda3 with Skyactiv. Probably the LTZ has more options than those cars for that money though.
  • cannon3cannon3 Posts: 296
    Here in the Northwest the Sonics are just now starting to show up. I have only seen a few on the street but they are distinctive. I check local Chevrolet dealers inventories and they are still very low. Some dealers have none, the larger dealers may have up to 3. I am sure inventories will get better along with pricing as the months go on. Be patient if you plan to buy. Wait for inventories to rise dealers are more willing to bargain. Simple economics of supply and demand. I too am anxiously awaiting a test drive. I want to test drive what i plan to buy, an LTZ sedan in black with the 1.8 automatic.
  • garv214garv214 Posts: 162
    edited November 2011
    The Chevrolet dealerships in the SF Bay Area are starting to get the Sonics in as well. I test drove a LT 1.4 litre hatchback with a 6 speed manual. It was a hoot to drive. The instrument cluster is definitely different. I wonder how well it will age. At the end of the day, however, I ended up buying the Cruze because the rear seat was more accomodating (I have 3 kids, 2 of which are still in car seats for another 2-3 years), my step-daughter would have been miserable sandwiched in-between her brother and sister's car seats in the back...

    Back in my single days, I would have seriously considered it...

    I agree that the Sonic will eventually need to compete with the Fit, Mazda2, Ford Fiesta... once the inventory supplies grow (although a couple of the dealers are showing screamer ads with a modest $100-200 discount currently...).

    It's encouraging to see Ford and Chevrolet offering decent small cars again.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,600
    A reporter is interested in talking with parents who own a 2012 Volkswagen Passat, Mazda 3, Chevy Cruze Eco, Honda Civic Hybrid, Chevy Sonic, Honda CR-V, Toyota Camry and Toyota Prius V. If you are interested in commenting on your experience, please reply to pr@edmunds.com no later than Friday, November 30, 2011 and include your city and state of residence, the model year of your vehicle and the age of your child/ren.

    Moderator
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  • windgracewindgrace Posts: 83
    edited November 2011
    Hello, all!

    To make a long convoluted story short(ish), my sister's 06 Civic hasn't been a stellar example of Honda reliability. We've had to do several costly repairs, including brakes that are wearing out very fast, tires wearing out too fast (apparently there's something with control arms but the vehicle is out of warranty so the TSB is useless), replacing window motors...you name it. My mom is thinking about trading the vehicle in and buying a new car. New because then we have warranty and the cost of a decent used vehicle is ridiculously high, we might as well buy new and not have to worry about a history report. In that case my sister would get my 2010 Corolla and my mom would pitch in the rest to buy me a new vehicle.

    I come from a family that owns Japanese vehicles for their "reliability." We have had a Sienna and Civic that beg to differ (although our Legacy and my Corolla have been great). With some of the new competitive offerings from GM, Hyundai, Kia and Ford I'm thinking about maybe branching out with this car purchase.

    Just in general, how do people feel about their Chevrolet, Hyundai or Kia products as of late? Ford seems to have come a long way, but I remember growing up with a Taurus that was LITERALLY Fixed Or Repaired Daily so a Fiesta is gonna be a hard sell on me. Do people think the long-term reliability we've associated with Toyota is there in the new Sonic, Accent, or Rio? Or should I stick with a Yaris? I'm just trying to figure out which would be the best place to put my $ towards when it comes to resale value and overall true-cost-to-own. The Sonic and Accent are both really compelling. The Accent has gotten very good reviews for it's ride and mpg, and I really like the design of the Sonic and they both are pretty well priced.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    edited November 2011
    My opinion, based on owning 3 Hyundais over the past 11 years and watching the auto marketplace closely, is that you don't need to worry about subpar reliability from Hyundai. So buy the car you like the best. If that's the Accent, OK. Kia has trailed Hyundai in improving reliability but they too have improved greatly in the past 10 years, and Kia shares major components including powertrains with Hyundai. Plus both include the long warranties in case there are problems.

    As for Chevy, I haven't owned one for many years but have been impressed with their recent products including the Cruze and Equinox. Haven't driven the Sonic yet but looking it over at the dealership and reading reviews it appears to be a huge leap over the Aveo. I would have no qualms about buying a Chevy if I find one I like better than competitors. I have my eye on the Cruze to consider for my next car. For a small hatch, I prefer the Accent or, for more bucks, the Focus based on what I've seen to date. But I haven't seen the new Impreza hatch yet. Of course the Focus and Impreza are a class above the Sonic, Accent, Rio5, Yaris. In that class you should drive the Fit also--the base Fit is a very good value for the money IMO, and if you need lots of cargo space in a small package it's hard to beat. Resale value is very good, although fuel economy is not as good as some other small hatches.
  • intrimazzintrimazz Posts: 1
    edited January 2012
    My husband and I are in the market for a new car and have test driven the base Ford Fiesta Hatch and the base Honda FIT so far. We were spoiled by our 2005 Pontiac Vibe w Sun & Sound package so as a result, we have been underwhelmed by both thus far. Sat in the Yaris and didn't even bother going for a drive as I hated it instantly. We are hoping the highest trim on the Sonic will impress us. Will update when I get the call as no dealers in the NJ Bergen County area have one thus far. I was told one would be coming in by this weekend. :shades:
  • mick1mick1 Posts: 84
    Today is Feb 18. I'm going to buy/not buy a sonic based on your test drive and opinions. Could you please do it before the end of the month. Thanks!
  • micwebmicweb Posts: 1,617
    I received a "top off" on my GM Card account and the amount allowed on the Sonic made it very attractive to me.

    I first test drove a Sonic Hatchback automatic in November or so, and was very impressed by three factors:

    1. Feeling of solidity - didn't feel light or flimsy.
    2. Good acceleration without having to rev the engine too high or use too much throttle (a responsive automatic that was gearing for a good driving experience - it would shift at appropriate rpm and throw nice downshifts without having to floor the pedal - helped a lot).
    3. Very quiet - the bane of most small cars I have owned is their higher than average noise levels. I don't think I should have to drive a large car to drive at reasonably comfortable noise levels.

    I have been looking for a good, small, high mpg 4 door since last year. Top contenders on my list were the Kia Soul Base stick shift (after the upgrade to the incredibly better 1.6 direct injection engine this year, and move to a 6 speed manual transmission with decent clutch action and surprisingly precise shifter action); the Honda Fit (which FINALLY got body colored outside mirrors this year, a stealth "roof strength" upgrade that got it IIHS "Top Pick" selection for the first time, and _reportedly_ better sound proofing); the Ford Fiesta; and the Sonic.

    I severely "handicapped" the Sonic, despite its quality interior, excellent feature set, great engine (tops in its class in overall power - torque/hp), due to its newness and my rule of thumb of allowing at least one year for a new model to "settle in." The Fiesta got demerits for sluggish acceleration (unless you really revvd the engine up). The Honda is perenially pricey - not based on comparable MSRP's, but on the general lack of "sales" and "discounts." I've never owned a Kia but shopped them and Hyundai for years and been generally disappointed by the showrooms (but that has improved a lot over the past 3 years).

    In terms of pure drivability the Fit is tops. The clutch action is superb, the shifter action superb, the gearing is set relatively low in top gear so there is a lot of "apparent" acceleration on the freeway (the others require a downshift or two to match it, but are not lacking in raw ability after the downshift). It is the most agile, but also the "lightest" feeling car on the freeway - almost disturbingly light feeling. Also, in past years, one of the noisiest. Despite these negatives, I was gearing up to buy a Fit until the GM Card offer came in the mail.

    I went ahead and purchased a sedan in the very basic LS1 trim - this means manual mirrors and manual window cranks. Since the mirrors are "set and forget" items for me, and I don't roll down my windows (I open the door to pay at take-out, but I rarely go to take-out!), I was willing to compromise this one last time - a compromise that wasn't too hard to accept, since Chevy also includes a lot of "goodies" - On Star with turn-by-turn navigation; Sirius XM on my slightly upgraded stereo; a pretty full digital information center with MPG, miles to empty, compass, clock, timer; front floor mats; automatic headlamps; daytime running lights; and keyless entry, together with customization options on door locking, radio settings, beep on lock, etc.

    Getting knee airbags for me and my front seat passenger was huge, since it's no fun to contemplate knee injuries in a crash. Also, REAR side torso airbags, very rare in any class, assure my kids a much better level of safety (it also has the head side airbags or curtain airbags which protect the head).

    My first impressions so far? A grown up small car, very closely matching the dimensions and envelope of a Mark III and Mark IV Jetta (the Golf and Jetta have meanwhile marched up almost a full size). Very good for smaller (stature) families - I'm 5'8" and there is tons of room for the passenger behind me in the rear seat. The rear floor is fairly flat almost all the way across, unlike my slightly wider Rabbit ('09) which had a console in the middle.

    Only noted negative so far (setting aside the lack of power windows and mirrors)? The lack of a middle rear seat position headrest. It would have been nice to see GM copy-cat the '04 Golfs and Jettas even more faithfully, with 3-across headrests (there ARE 3 shoulder belts).

    Best positive? Regular gas in a very powerful engine!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,914
    Did you recently purchase a compact or subcompact at least in part because it had very good fuel efficiency as gas prices continue to climb? A reporter is interested in speaking with you. Please send a brief description of your experience and contact information to pr@edmunds.com by Wednesday, February 29, 2012.

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  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,030
    A reporter is looking to hear from a driver of a Ford Focus, Ford Fiesta, Chevy Cruze or Chevy Sonic who previously drove a compact from a Japanese automaker, such as the Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic. If you currently drive a Focus, Fiesta, Cruze or Sonic, and are willing to share your story with a reporter, please email PR@edmunds.com no later than the end of business Tuesday, March 6, 2012 with your daytime contact information.

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • laserbluelaserblue Posts: 313
    I'm looking forward to buying a 2012 Sonic LT (not the turbo type) and I have a couple of questions regarding this car.
    Could someone explain to me the differences between hp and torque?
    Which of those are more important?
    This is the use I will do with the car...
    I work at home and will use it to do errands around town but once a year my wife and I always take a long road trip minimum mileage one way 1,400 miles, either (north-south) crossing the Appalachians Mountains or (east-west) crossing the Rockies (more challenging) the car being loaded with luggage and 1 cooler (but will never pull a trailer).
    Will this car be a good choice for us with it's hp and torque.
    Do it have enough hp or torque for my usage?
  • dodgeman07dodgeman07 Posts: 574
    I highly recommend getting the 1.4L Turbo engine. Torque is "twisting power" and is felt more off the line when you get a car rolling. Horsepower is energy output (to me) at a specific level. The key is often where in the power-band (RPMs) that an engine makes usable torque and horsepower.

    The 1.4L Turbo engine produces much more usable torque at low RPMs and is a better engine than the 1.8L. Mountain driving with a load will push the 1.8L engine to it's limits. Go with a Sonic LT w/turbo.
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    Did they make it available with the automatic yet?
  • dodgeman07dodgeman07 Posts: 574
    Yes, the 1.4L Turbo is available with an automatic except on base LS models where the 1.8L is the only engine choice.
  • laserbluelaserblue Posts: 313
    I also thought that the turbo was available only with the "standard" transmission only.
    Great! Turbo with an automatic transmission.
    Might be be the one, then I could get more torque to load it and go on my trips and face those mountains.
  • Did anyone know that the person sitting in the front passenger seat has to be more then 103lbs or the air bag will not activate? I did not, I found out when my 94lb wife sat there and it did not go on. I inquired with Chevy and there answer was that is the way we designed it. I own a Traverse and the air bag goes on when she sits in that car. I am not sure if I would have purchased the car knowing that.
  • dodgeman07dodgeman07 Posts: 574
    edited March 2012
    You have bad information and should contact Chevrolet Customer Service. Many 10 to 12 year old children, and some teenagers, would have no airbag protection if that was true.

    I had a Malibu a few years ago that would activate it's passenger airbag around 60 lbs. I know this because a heavy box would cause the "Fasten Seat Chime" to activate with the airbag "on" light at that weight.

    Some vehicles are set up differently and can be adjusted by the dealership. Until you get it resolved, try having your wife fasten her seat prior to starting the vehicle. That may activate the passenger airbag in the interim.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,600
    The Inside Line editors are looking for Sonic owners who have odor problems to describe them for us: What's the odor? What did they do about it? Did they complain to GM? What happened then?

    More in the Long Term Road Test blogs.

    Thanks!

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • laserbluelaserblue Posts: 313
    Reminds me of one of my Dad's car in the 70's
    My Dad had bought a brand new Cadillac Fleetwood and after a couple of weeks a foul smell was coming out of somewhere but could find the source of it. Went to the dealer many times and the dealer always sprayed deodorant in the car. Great...but the smell came back.
    My friend had a german sheppard and I told my Dad "Let the dog do his stuff like we see in the movies". The dog was always going back to the front passenger's door. My Dad went to the dealer and told them to take the door panel off and check...sure enough, there was a paper bag with what seemed to be a sandwich and an orange.
    It was a big ball of mold stuck on the door panel.
    The problem was settled and found by a "dog" that we nicknamed "G.M." afterwards.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,769
    I got a Sonic rental on a two-day trip last week and got to put about 100 miles on it. It was a sedan, didn't catch the trim level but it seemed pretty well equipped including alloys.

    The driving position was comfortable, with a firm seat. Controls and displays were good for an economy car, with smooth and simple rotary HVAC controls and a meaty wheel that looked like the one used in the Cruze. I actually liked the digital display for speed etc., which I thought was gimmicky the first time I saw it. Interior materials seemed good for the price, although I would have liked padded armrests. Not much padding at all inside, including the dash.

    The car seemed solid and hefty, and the ride was fairly quiet most of the time--got a little loud over expansion strips on the highway. The ride was pretty smooth for a subcompact, but the suspension had trouble masking out things like tar patches. The engine felt smooth and quiet, to the point I did something I hadn't done for quite awhile--I restarted the car... while it was running I mean. :blush: The 6AT shifted smoothly, but seemed to mute the power from the engine, which should have been enough to move the car out smartly... it was just OK. The steering had a vague feeling and I kept having to correct it in order to keep the car from wandering.

    I checked out the back seat and was able to squeeze in behind the driver's seat without much trouble. (I am 5'9-1/2".) It would be OK for an hour or two but that's it. Par for the course for this class--better than some (like Fiesta), not as good as others (like Versa). Hard plastic armrests back there also, and no center armrest.

    I didn't use the trunk much but it seemed pretty roomy for a small car, with its high trunk lid.

    All in all, a huge improvement over the Aveo (RIP) and not a bad rental car if I can't get my usual free upgrade. But I wouldn't buy one. Steering is too vague, and rear seat room not as much as I need. I'd rather spend a few more bucks and get a compact car, or spend the same or less bucks and get a nicer car, slightly used.
  • maxx4memaxx4me Posts: 1,340
    edited May 2012
    >>>The Inside Line editors are looking for Sonic owners who have odor problems>>>

    he, he, he..... I thought you wanted Sonic owners to admit to personal hygiene issues. So it is the car that smells, not the drivers? :P
  • nice thread. very interesting. thanks for sharing this information.
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  • There are multiple reasons for better or worse MPG.
    A donut spare tire weighs perhaps 30 lbs. That's not sufficient to make an MPG difference.

    Junkyard studies indicate that about 97% of cars there have never had the spare down. That's why the trend to donuts and then to cans of fix-a-flat.

    A spare is a total waste. Until you're on the side of the road and need it.
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