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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
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 145 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
    8.2/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

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."

1 person out of 3 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!!!"

14 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Peppy sporty and fun to drive!

By on Saturday, July 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,382

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Peppy, easy to park, comfort options, turbo 6-Sp"

Cons: "no passenger arm rest, tight interior, lower MPG"

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

2012 Sonic w special paint package

"I needed a commuter car to put 30K miles a year on for a few years into a rough neighborhood in NJ with little parking. This peppy turbo makes the 80 million drive fun and surprisingly comfortable. The leather seats and seat warmers at great in the winter, and the sunroof lets me enjoy the sun,like a convertible without the hassle of a soft top. Fills the bill as a good commuter car. Mileage is less than the 40MPG touted- more like 33 average. Looks like a Mini Cooper but much cheaper to purchase listing side-by-side options."

9 people out of 25 found this review helpful

2012 Sonic w special paint package

Best value and most fun in a small car, EVER,

By on Tuesday, July 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,600

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
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Fun, fun, fun! Great mileage and price point."

Cons: "No center console, 3 cup holders instead."

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

"For what I paid, I can not believe the great combination of fun and utility, coupled with great fuel economy in this car. We plan on getting another Sonic when we are in the market. Not extreme luxury, but very comfortable, even for my 6'5" husband., who can not slide the driver's seat, all the way back to drive in comfort, so NBA ready! People looking for a good value AND a good time, check this one out. The 6 speed manual is a joy to drive!"

11 people out of 26 found this review helpful

Disappointed in Chevy for the Quality of Sonic

By on Saturday, July 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Cute, love the hatchback, like the red color"

Cons: "Cheaply made, inferior quality in so many areas"

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

"I bought the car because I thought it was cute, my price range, I like Chevy products and good mileage. I have owned 3 Malibu's in the past. I was extremely disappointed in the Quality of the Sonic. Little things kept falling off, the windows are so thin that the heat and/or cold comes in very quickly so no insulation. Also the radio quit working when temps got to be over 105 degrees on a number of occasions. The motor light kept coming on and after a number of tries, found out it was a hose that was split in two different areas. The engine is loud and really is not made well at all. Completely disappointed that Chevy would come out with a car that is not up to their standard. I can't wait to get a new car because this one is history!"

15 people out of 28 found this review helpful

fun car to drive

By on Saturday, June 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,300

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive & plenty of pep"

Cons: "cup holder placement, stationary/small visor"

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

"what a cute little car...I fell in love with it on the internet while shopping around...drives great hugs the road and has a short center of gravity that makes driving fun again...quite peppy impressed even my hubby...goes anywhere we've taken it just fine...it is a small car but it doesn't feel like it driving or getting in and out of it. MPG has been great...better than sticker on RS version. One drawback is the cup-holders as they're kinda awkward to get to and I'm not crazy about how small the sun visor is and the fact it is not adjustable on the side...if these two small things were addressed would make the care even more impressive."

8 people out of 16 found this review helpful

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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

Buying this car?