2017 Chevy Sonic Review: More boom than bust

– Cleveland, Ohio

American automakers are not incentivised to make good small cars. Subcompacts like this Chevrolet Sonic sell in small numbers and earn equally small profits. But build them automakers must, because gas won’t stay cheap forever. Chevy has just updated the Sonic with a fresher design and some new features, which go a long a way in keeping it competitive with the segment’s best – cars like the Honda Fit, Kia Rio, and Mini Cooper.

 

 

Pros

  • The Sonic’s turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine is smooth, efficient, and (relatively) powerful. With 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, it’s gutsier than the Sonic’s base, non-turbo 1.8-liter engine, and it also vibrates less and sounds quieter than most engines in small economy cars these days. Plus, at 32 miles per gallon combined, it makes the Sonic nearly as fuel efficient as Chevy’s smaller, less powerful Spark, with an extra 100 miles of range (390 total) on a full tank to boot.
  • You don’t feel like you’re driving an economy car with the Sonic, at least when it’s optioned like this. Even though it only costs just $20,250, this Sonic RS hatchback comes with premium features like pushbutton start and smart keys that let you unlock the doors with the key fob still in your purse or pocket (both part of a $650 Convenience Package). Also included are a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and seven-inch touchscreen standard, and the pièce de résistance, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The latter two features still aren’t av...