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2013 Chevrolet Sonic

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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
8.6
Out of 10

Based on 149 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

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

Very pleased with this peppy Chevy Sonic Turbo

By on Thursday, August 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Very good price, reliable, stylish, Turbo is great"

Cons: "Really doesn't have any for the price."

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

"I've had the Sonic LT Turbo Hatchback for over 1 year and it's a little dream. Excellent on gas, which for us was very important. If you get the Sonic, go for the Turbo it really makes a difference for overtaking, to get out from traffic at light stops and overall fun. The white color which we have does show the dirt easily, but is good for Florida, however next time I'd go for the silver color. I hardly ever use the moon roof but it's a nice extra when the weather is a little cooler. Love the windows on this car, you really get a feeling of space and light as they are so large. Hatchback is so useful and plenty of room for when we go to a DIY store or need to cart home things from the flea market or auction house, you can split the seats also which is great and still allow the extra passenger. Parking is also a breeze due to its compact size. Blue tooth is great, love all the dials being within reach and extras on the steering wheel also make it very easy to drive. Quite comfortable for this price car and seat material is easy to clean and durable. All round a great, inexpensive, yet sturdy and reliable little car with the extra shot of turbo that leaves other cars standing. Very pleased."

Can't believe I'am driving this Chevy

By on Tuesday, August 11, 2015

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

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: "Great looking ride."

Cons: "Mesh seats"

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

"Since the first time I drove this car off the lot in my area people had hardly seen a Chevy Sonic LT they were used to Chevy Impalas and I get asked a lot what kind of car is it.It's stylish has a lot of cool features in pricer vehicles but yet my Chevy has these features for less.I save a lot on gas and it's comfortable to drive so much that I forget I'am going to fast and have to slow down.I love the safety of all these air bags and bluetooth.I love my Chevy I like when people ask about the motorcycle inspired lights it gives it a mysterious look.I look like a hundred bucks!!!.Only thing is the mesh seating that is the only complaint but with all the other features who cares about the seating.My 6'4 son fits really good in front there is plenty of room.Plenty of trunk space.I also love the credit card holder and space to put my phone.My cup holders are a little far out but the fact that I have 3 cup holders makes it o.k. I love my Chevy Sonic LT!!!!"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

I love My Sonic

By on Tuesday, August 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 46,660

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
8/10

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

"I love my Sonic. I really love the fact when I get on the highway I can drive in manual.I had Chevrolet Cavalier,Chevrolet Malibu out of all my Chevys My Sonic is the best for me. One thing They need to put a arm rest for Passengers,because I don't like sharing mines."

Surprisinngly reliable and comfortable

By on Tuesday, August 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,505

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "comes with lots of cool stuff (apps)"

Cons: "could be bigger/roomier."

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

"I just purchased my sonic on Wednesday. I have had it for a week and everyday, I find something else to celebrate about this vehicle. I test drove this car and was surprised with the information center, that's what first caught my attention, then it came with remote start and a back up camera standard. Second plus, leather interior and a full wide screen radio, on star, wifi, I mean the list goes on and on, and then I just found out that I have two years of scheduled maintenance on top of all that. I was sold. My only gripe is that I am a tall guy and it could have more leg room and be a bit more roomier. I do like the raised seat and telescope steering wheel, oh and I even got heated seats. WOW!! The ride is very smooth in city and on the highway, you already know that it is no gas guzzler, even with the turbo engine. I am very pleased with this vehicle."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Great car for the price!

By on Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 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
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price, alot zip for small engine, stylish!"

Cons: "No power windows cruise control or mirrors"

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

"It is great car. It rides smooth, has a lot power for a small engine, the style is nice. The only cons I don't like is that the ls base model does not come with power windows, cruise control, and power mirrors."

10 people out of 19 found this review helpful

Good on gas ( average 32.9mpg) comfortable ride

By on Thursday, July 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Comfortable Econo car a lot of extras + Onstar"

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

"A very good Economy car lt's got a lot of feature on LT ! Own this Sonic for a year now very comfortable ride! Will be riding too Florida this Fall!!! This Car is made here in thee USA !!!!! I get very good gas mileage I average 32.9 MPG I can get on the highway 38MPG (and I can have a HEAVY FOOT sometimes)!OnStar is great( what you pay to keep it you save on Insurance) You can beat the Price I got over $4,000 Incentives The sticker price was over $19,000 . So I got a car for around $15000 BEFORE my Trade ! Try and get a Japan or Korean Car for that!!! Chevy has a good Car HERE!!!"

15 people out of 29 found this review helpful

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