General Motors is very proud that every Chevrolet Sonic will come with alloy wheels and 10 air bags. That little tidbit puts the Sonic into perspective: This car is trying hard to exceed expectations.
Consider that the car that the Sonic replaces, the Chevrolet Aveo, was one of the lowest-rated cars in Consumer Reports’ tests. In other words, one can be forgiven for having rather low expectations. But times have changed. Just as the hot-selling and fully competitive Cruze is working to erase bad memories of Cobalts past, the Sonic should help GM move wholly past the Aveo.
We borrowed two early-production Sonics from GM, driving them in our daily commutes to get some first impressions. One car represented what will likely be the most common Sonic configuration: a mid-level LT sedan with the 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic. The other Sonic was a top-level LTZ hatchback with the most fuel-efficient powertrain combination—a 1.4-liter turbocharged four cylinder and six-speed manual, rated 29 mpg city/40 highway.
Sonics are starting to appear in dealerships now, so we’ll soon be buying our own to fully test at our Auto Test Center.
For more first impressions, watch out our First Look video.