The 2019 Chevrolet Sonic Review, Specs and Performance
Assembled simply 41 miles because the crow flies from Automotive and Driver headquarters, the Chevrolet Sonic is the one gasoline-drinking subcompact automobile in-built the USA. When the Ford Fiesta is discontinued after the 2019 mannequin yr, the Sonic and and its diminutive stablemates—the imported Spark and the Bolt EV—would be the solely American-brand small hatchbacks available on the market for 2020. As a result of the Sonic is being outsold by the Trax crossover variant constructed on the identical platform (in Korea and Mexico), there may be hypothesis that it’ll quickly comply with the destiny of the Cruze, Impala, and Volt. We nonetheless have it for now, although, and the Sonic combines a gamut of options with subdued driving dynamics for an inexpensive small-car selection, U.S. made or not.
The 2019 Sonic comes commonplace with the beforehand optionally available turbocharged 1.Four-liter inline-four; the previous base, a naturally aspirated 1.Eight-liter, is now not out there (and it will not be missed). Paired with the optionally available six-speed computerized transmission, this little turbo mill motivates the Sonic round city with out drama. A six-speed guide comes commonplace and, as we present in earlier interactions with the Sonic, enlivens the driving expertise. The automated on this take a look at car proved fast to upshift and reluctant to downshift, which is sweet for gas economic system however dangerous for spirits. Small buttons on one aspect of the shifter present guide gear choice when obligatory, however it’s not a characteristic you will use only for kicks.
Peak torque is obtainable at 1850 rpm, and turbo lag is just about nonexistent. This clean energy supply is right for informal around-town driving, however it leaves the fanatic wanting extra at larger engine speeds. The chassis matches the engine; it is calm and competent in on a regular basis use, however push it laborious right into a nook and it rolls greater than rivals such because the Toyota Yaris sedan.
With 138 horsepower on faucet at 4900 rpm, there’s not a lot reward in pushing the throttle to the ground. Accelerating from zero to 60 mph takes Eight.5 seconds, which is not fast until you examine it to different automatic-transmission subcompact hatchbacks, most of that are slower. The engine is not sad at excessive revs, however the transmission’s programming retains it underneath 3500 rpm, whether or not that be within the metropolis or on the interstate. As soon as it reaches freeway speeds, the Sonic cruises together with minimal noise from the engine, wind, or tires. In reality, we recorded an impressively low 67 decibels at 70 mph, which isn’t solely significantly quieter than its rivals however matches a 2019 Mercedes-Benz E450 sedan.
Our RS-trim take a look at automobile (the decrease of two trims for the Sonic hatch, and the center trim for the Sonic sedan) highlights the generously geared up Sonic. It got here with almost each out there characteristic, together with Bluetooth telephone and audio streaming, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, heated entrance seats, distant begin, proximity key, energy driver’s seat, lane-departure warning, forward-collision alert, and a sunroof. There was little wanting for extra facilities throughout commuting or a weekend street journey.
There are some inside design fumbles, nonetheless. The dearth of a middle console could be missed till the front-seat passenger’s arm will get drained—solely the motive force will get a flip-down armrest. This omission additionally contributes to a scarcity of inside storage. Two gloveboxes are the one coated bins, and one is so small that it is solely good for paperwork and some napkins. The inside is in any other case good-looking and easy. Black and silver plastics are molded into flowing strains that wrap across the cockpit and assist preserve the cabin from feeling like a penalty field. The one important inside change for the reason that Sonic’s 2012 inception was a extra typical gauge cluster that arrived in 2017, a extra mature-looking departure from the sport-bike-style setup in earlier fashions. The rear seat is economy-car tight; there’s sufficient room for brief journeys, however bigger passengers will need to keep away from prolonged voyages. Honda’s subcompact competitor, the Match, offers extra passenger quantity in each rows.
The hatchback physique type provides valuable versatility to the Sonic’s 19 cubic ft of cargo area. A fast folding of the rear seats expands cargo quantity to 48 cubic ft, and we match 15 airline-carry-on-sized bins again there. The RS upgrades over an LT embrace sharp 16-inch aluminum wheels, LED daytime operating lights, and an RS badge within the grille. Premier fashions characteristic 17-inch wheels.
The Sonic impressed us once we first obtained behind the wheel in 2011—particularly in contrast with Chevy’s earlier efforts within the section (see Aveo, Dash, and Metro). However fast-forward seven years, and the bundle is much less compelling in opposition to more energizing competitors. Our take a look at automobile rang in at $22,685; the closest competitor we have examined is a Ford Fiesta at $20,620, and the final Yaris we reviewed (and liked) stickered at solely $16,815. Even in the event you handed on the sunroof, the Kinetic Blue Metallic paint, and the Driver Confidence and Comfort packages that got here optionally available on our computerized hatchback, you’d nonetheless be taking a look at a $20,295 sticker value. The Sonic sedan dips to $16,295 with a guide transmission, however that is nonetheless greater than the Yaris, Kia Rio, and Hyundai Accent, of which the latter two supply 10-year/100,000-mile warranties. None of those options is far, if any, faster than a Sonic, and none is quieter, however they’re all more energizing designs, and most are lighter and extra entertaining to drive.
In a category the place $1000 can characterize greater than 5 % of a automobile’s complete value, it is tough to suggest paying extra for the Sonic, particularly when it does not excel in anyone subcompact criterion. To the proper purchaser, this hometown hero’s largest promoting level could be the bow-tie emblem displayed proudly out entrance, however that will not present long-term immunity to market forces for Chevrolet.