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2013 Chevrolet Sonic

Overview
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2013 Chevrolet Sonic Review

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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.

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

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.

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 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

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)

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2013 Chevrolet Sonic Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 132 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.2/10
  • Reliability
    8.8/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.3/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

very basic car

By on Friday, April 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,800

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
2/10
Comfort
2/10

Pros: "sharp looking"

Cons: "Hard to reach cupholders, no cd player"

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

"Just a very basic car for lots of money. The 6 speed transmission can't decide what gear to be in when trying to go up hills.At times the steering hesitates. It doesn't get any where near the suggested gas mileage. The value dropped $5,000 when I drove it off the lot."

Careful!

By on Monday, April 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Beautiful, cool features, audio options+!"

Cons: "doesn't handle well, frequent servicing"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"This particular model from Chevy is very classy. If you want a beautiful car with great features and great interior-this is it. However, with only 2 years and 35000 miles, I had to take it to the shop to get parts replaced TWICE. The car was practically brand new but wasn't made with reliable parts. Consider getting this car if you have a trustworthy mechanic who will check your caps etc... The car does not handle very easily. It's been checked and checked- there's nothing wrong with the driving mechanics, it's just super heavy as far as small cars go and going fast is a wobbly ordeal."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

Can't wait to get rid of it

By on Monday, March 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 61,000

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Low price, comfortable seating, spacious trunk"

Cons: "Too many to describe here"

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

"Although the car is comfortable in terms of seating, it constantly feels as though it's in the wrong gear and the engine is laboring. It hesitates, the ride is choppy and there have been constant mechanical issues - everything from Check Engine lights that come on for no reason to CV joint failure and engine failure. The interior is attractive enough, but things are spaced badly and the OnStar button on the rear view mirror makes it a challenge to adjust the mirror without hitting the button."

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

One Year Review - SO NICe!!!

By on Sunday, March 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfort, Power, US Made, FUN, MPG's. VALUE!!!"

Cons: "No Center Console, Dash Glare, Factory Tires"

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

"I took my time deciding on a vehicle to replace my 93 Cherokee. Things I focused on were American-Made, Price, Comfort, Power, and Storage space. First car I tried over the 8 month search was the Sonic. I tried many others after in the same $$$ ballpark and they just didn't compare to the Sonic. I went back to the Sonic, and it still felt almost perfect. I went for the hatchback because I wanted rear storage access, like I had with my Jeep. Only things it didn't have that I wanted was a center console and AWD. I picked up a 2013 LT 1.4T AT with 56 miles on it for 16K. UNDER my target price. Last one on lot and I feel I stole it. I now find I like it without the console that I "thought" I wanted. No AWD, but someday I may move up to the related TRAX. Comfort AND power. With the 1.4L Turbo, I drive it like a kid, so I don't get the MPG's I could, but they are still 3 times better than my Ole Jeep. Standard was wicked fun to test, but I'm older and went with the Auto to save the workout on my hips and shoulders. There are days though I wish I had the Manual :) I have had a few issues though; 1.Brake problem. The issue I had is not common and happens to almost any type car. It was resolved. 2. A water leak on passenger side, but it was addressed in a Bulletin and fixed. 3. Water pump hasn't died (YET), but it's a known issue and Chevy sent a letter to us that points out they will cover it up to 100K miles. 4. Glare off my gray Dash. But a black dash mat fixed that and looks awesome too. Polarized Glasses worked too. 5. Stock Tires. They may be OK for most, but they are horrible in the snow. I worried it was the car, but with GOOD ALL-Seasons, the car handles a LOT better. I did HATE the car for a while. But the reason wasn't the car itself, it was the incompetent dealership I went to for service first round. They didn't fix some of the things I listed above first try, and actually caused more issues. VERY frustrating. Once I brought the car to a GREAT Dealer, with Competent Techs, it was fixed professionally first try. I LOVE the car again!!! It's been great since the few issues I did have got addressed. There's a nice Sonic Owners forum on the web where I learned a lot more about the car and read shared stories. I am really surprised The Sonic is not more popular than than it is, but I'm glad in a way. The price would probably have been higher if this gem was more popular. If you're looking, at least take it for a drive. I think anyone will find it comfortable and Wicked Fun!!!!"

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Love this vehicle!

By on Thursday, March 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,765

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: "Gas mileage and comfortable seats."

Cons: "Don't really have any at this point."

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

"I absolutely love my Chevy Sonic. The gas mileage is awesome. I'm averaging about 40 mpg on the hwy. It's actually roomy inside and the seats are incredibly comfortable. I am constantly getting compliments on how pretty the car is. For it to be a small vehicle, it has a real sporty look. Good value for the money!"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Excellent mileage, dependable, cute, luv it

By on Monday, February 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27,500

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Great value"

Cons: "Noted blind spot in rear corners when backing"

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

Red hot like the color "Inferno Orange"

"Have to get used to closeness on slots of gears with shifter as changing gears can be awkward making me think I am in one gear and learn I am in different gear. Seats are flexible and adjust easily. Excellent gas mileage gauge range from 37.5 to 40.5. Fun to drive, handles great, excellent temperature control for heat and cooling. Bluetooth could be better on confirming phone numbers to dial. Receive many compliments on 'cuteness'."

11 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Red hot like the color "Inferno Orange"

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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