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2013 Chevrolet Sonic

Overview
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2013 Chevrolet Sonic Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

Built in the USA, the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic is the second-smallest car to wear the bow-tie badge (the new Spark is officially the smallest), but its abilities are far from diminutive. Competing against Ford's Fiesta and Honda's Fit, among others, the Sonic delivers fuel economy that's equal to or better than its rivals and driving dynamics that range from comfortable and nimble (LT trim) to downright sporty (new RS). Offered as a 5-door hatchback or 4-door sedan, the Sonic is no ordinary small car. It offers loads of features unexpected at this price range, such as streaming Bluetooth audio and the MyLink infotainment system that allows for control of cell phone-enabled apps.

You'll Like This Car If...

In sedan or 5-door hatchback configuration, the 2013 Chevy Sonic is the quietest and most composed subcompact car you can buy. Combined with more conventional styling than some of its key competitors, the Sonic is destined to become a mass-market favorite.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2013 Chevy Sonic isn't the smallest car in the category, but it's not as accommodating or flexible as the 2013 Honda Fit. Nor is the interior as polished as that of the 2013 Hyundai Accent.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 7.8
  • 7.7
  • 7.4
  • 7.4
  • 7.1
  • 9.9
How It Ranks

#8

out of 8

Fuel Economy

#3

out of 8

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.6 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2013 Chevrolet Sonic Low/wide front photo What's New for 2013

The big news for the 2013 Chevy Sonic is the addition of the sporty RS that includes a stiffer suspension, leather seats and unique 17-inch wheels. There's a simplified version of the MyLink infotainment system and all Sonics gain integral blind-spot side mirrors. The LT trim adds cruise control, a USB port, second auxiliary input, steering-wheel audio controls and Bluetooth streaming audio.

Driving the Sonic
2013 Chevrolet Sonic Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions Around town and on the highway, the 2013 Chevy Sonic sets a new standard for subcompact driving refinement. As a whole, the offerings in this category have become less skittish...

and less buzzy in recent years, but Chevrolet's Sonic for 2013 drives like a bigger, pricier car than any of its competitors. It's not perfect, though. The up-level turbocharged engine available on LT, RS and LTZ models offers excellent fuel economy but suffers from somewhat quirky power delivery. Fortunately, the base-level 1.8-liter engine costs less, is available with either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, and delivers - in some ways - a better driving experience. One of the front-wheel-drive Sonic's best tricks is how it manages to deliver both segment-leading highway manners with impressive road-holding abilities. And, if you decide to charge a canyon road, you might be impressed by the grip and stability it delivers.
Favorite Features

MYLINK INFOTAINMENT
With MyLink, customers can use their smartphones to enable music from popular apps such as Pandora and Stitcher. Later in the model year a navigation app will be added to the mix.

BLUETOOTH AUDIO
If your phone and digital music player are one, and you take more short trips than long drives, you'll appreciate the ability to play your music without having to constantly plug and unplug your phone.

2013 Chevrolet Sonic Details
2013 Chevrolet Sonic Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

Inside the 2013 Chevy Sonic is a mix of conservative design with a touch of motorcycle inspiration in the form of a compact gauge cluster with a digital speedometer. Like many of the newer subcompact cars, a key highlight of the Sonic interior is simply the dearth of weak spots common to the category's cabins only a few years ago. Worth noting are that the cup holders are good but awkwardly-placed too rearward between the front seats, the backseat is one of the category's roomiest, and the 2-glovebox layout is especially nice for those who use a dedicated digital music player (the USB port is located in the smaller top box).

Exterior
2013 Chevrolet Sonic photo

The motorcycle-inspired headlights notwithstanding, the Chevrolet's 2013 Sonic is among the more traditionally-styled subcompact cars in the segment. While it won't generate as much excitement as the crisper styling of the Ford Fiesta or Hyundai Accent, the flip side is that it won't push as many people away. One fun detail to check out: On the 5-door hatchback model, Chevy's designers "hid" the rear door handle in the black area of the C-pillar, in an effort to give the car a little bit of a 2-door look at first glance. Also, we love that, with the exception of the base LS trim, all models include alloy wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

In sedan or 5-door hatchback form, a 2013 Chevy Sonic LS includes a 1.8-liter engine, 5-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, Bluetooth, steering wheel audio controls, 4-speaker AM/FM/aux sound system and OnStar with a 6-month subscription that includes convenient turn-by-turn navigation. You might notice power windows and mirrors are missing from the list of standard equipment, but that's not unusual for base-level subcompacts. A full range of standard safety equipment includes 10 airbags.

Optional Equipment

A fully-loaded 2013 Chevy Sonic includes the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine matched with a 6-speed manual transmission or 6-speed automatic, leatherette seats, heated front seats, moonroof, cruise control and 17-inch wheels. Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment is available on LS and LT and standard on LTZ and RS. A premium 6-speaker audio system is offered on LS and standard on all others, while the LTZ with the automatic transmission comes with standard remote start. The RS trim adds leather seating, four-wheel disc brakes, performance suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels and a sport steering wheel.

Under the Hood
2013 Chevrolet Sonic Engine photo

The bad news is that the more powerful, more fuel-efficient turbocharged engine isn't available on every trim. The good news is that the base 1.8-liter engine is a viable option with more linear power delivery. In fact, the pricier turbocharged engine's key strength isn't the added torque but the 5-mpg advantage in highway fuel economy. We haven't yet tested the 5-speed manual, but we were impressed by both the 6-speed automatic and 6-speed manual transmissions.

1.8-liter inline-4 (LS, LT, LTZ)
138 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
125 lb-ft of torque @ 3,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/35 mpg (5-speed manual), 25/35 mpg (6-speed automatic)

1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4 (Optional on LT and LTZ, standard on RS)
138 horsepower @ 4,900 rpm
148 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm (manual)/1,850 rpm (automatic)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 29/40 mpg (6-speed manual), 27/37 mpg (6-speed automatic)

Pricing Notes

A 2013 Chevy Sonic LS sedan starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $15,000 including destination. The lowest-priced Sonic 5-door is in the step-up LT trim level, with its additional features, at just over $17,000. Loaded, a 2013 Sonic can top $20,000. Overall, the Sonic is priced in line with its key competitors on a feature-to-feature basis. Before heading down to your Chevy dealer, be sure to check our Fair Purchase Price, which reflects what others are currently paying. As for resale value, we expect the 2013 Chevy Sonic to perform better than its Aveo predecessor, but not as well as some of its more proven subcompact competitors.

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Get Your Fair Purchase Price See actual transaction prices, explore total cost to own, projected resale value and more.

2013 Chevrolet Sonic Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 87 Ratings for the 2012 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.6/10
    Quality
    8.3/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.4/10
  • Comfort
    8.3/10
    Styling
    8.6/10

Inexpensive, surprisingly refined, and thrifty!

By on Wednesday, April 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Amazing refinement, great mileage, many toys."

Cons: "No diesel version avail. in US."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"2012 Chevy Sonic LT Hatckback, Bluetooth package, 5 speed manual, 1.8l non-turbo. I purchased this car new in Dec '11. After almost 30k miles, I still love it. Seats are comfy, interior is extremely quiet for an economy car, mileage has consistently exceeded the specs, and the only 2 little issues I've had were covered under warranty -- no questions asked. The steering and brakes are very responsive, and the stability control w/ good snow tires got me through snow and ice that I probably shouldn't have been in without issue. There's plenty of space, Phone syncs nicely with the bluetooth, dual glove boxes (one for phone or other with usb port and aux port), trunk is bigger than it looks, and back doors are easy to get kids/dogs/cargo into. My one complaint is the dual mass flywheel, it's SO heavy. Yes, it helps noobs learn to drive stick, and yes, it makes the car smooth and vibration free, but it diminishes the amount of hoonage possible... :) It has so many features for a car that I paid less than $16k for... You really NEED to at least test drive one if you're shopping for an economy car."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Inexpensive, surprisingly refined, and thrifty!

By on Wednesday, April 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Amazing refinement, great mileage, many toys."

Cons: "No diesel version avail. in US."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"2012 Chevy Sonic LT Hatckback, Bluetooth package, 5 speed manual, 1.8l non-turbo. I purchased this car new in Dec '11. After almost 30k miles, I still love it. Seats are comfy, interior is extremely quiet for an economy car, mileage has consistently exceeded the specs, and the only 2 little issues I've had were covered under warranty -- no questions asked. The steering and brakes are very responsive, and the stability control w/ good snow tires got me through snow and ice that I probably shouldn't have been in without issue. There's plenty of space, Phone syncs nicely with the bluetooth, dual glove boxes (one for phone or other with usb port and aux port), trunk is bigger than it looks, and back doors are easy to get kids/dogs/cargo into. My one complaint is the dual mass flywheel, it's SO heavy. Yes, it helps noobs learn to drive stick, and yes, it makes the car smooth and vibration free, but it diminishes the amount of hoonage possible... :) It has so many features for a car that I paid less than $16k for... You really NEED to at least test drive one if you're shopping for an economy car."

love the gas mileage, and all the options

By on Monday, April 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Great gas mileage Fun to drive Good power"

Cons: "Low roof line, poor leg room in rear, rear windo"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"In general this is a great car but does have a few things that really bug me. The rear window is impossible to keep clean because of the body design. All road moisture and dust is deposited on the rear of the body an window. The roof line in front is low making it hard to enter for taller or larger people. Great gas mileage."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Great car for teenager.

By on Friday, March 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Good gas mileage comfortable peppy"

Cons: "Bad resale value interior build quality is cheap"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I feel there is an issue with my transmission that has not been dealt with by the dealership despite numerous attempts at a diagnoses. Otherwise the car is comfortable to drive, has some pep thanks to the turbo and its cute. Aside form the horrible resale value its a pretty decent car. Brakes are spectacular if you don't mind them a little touchy. The build quality could use some better craftsmanship on the interior. Overall not bad."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

I am totally in love with this car.

By on Thursday, March 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,310

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive handles well and the cool tech"

Cons: "When your phone is lock can't access the apps"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love the Piano black goes all the way up in the new 2014 gives it a more premium look and the back up camara that comes with the car. I love this 13 turbo Rs it is Cyber Gray iput Carbon Fiber Bow ties it looks so good compare to the lower level Sonics. It drives so good I am trying to get a 14. that is why i am on the website"

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Poor gas mileage, poor performance

By on Wednesday, March 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,100

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Remote star"

Cons: "Poor gas mileage and performance."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"Mileage below 20 mpg combined, the suspension of fair quality with only 8000 miles and has problems, poor acceleration power."

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