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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 140 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

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."

Great commuter/very sporty

By on Sunday, May 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fun to drive, great price, family friendly, sporty"

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

"I traded in my 02 Chevy Malibu for a 2014 Chevy Sonic LS. I bought it standard, not even knowing how to drive it. I learned the day I bought it how to and I have to say I think this car was perfect to learn on. The clutch is super forgiving, it doesn't have an overly dramatic "stall out", and it shifts with ease. It even has an indicator below the MPH of when to "ideally" shift. From first glance, I noticed this car was super sporty, which was one of the main reasons I invested in it. I did plasti-dip over the chrome on the exterior, and it gave the car a whole new look and feel. It handles well, does well in inclement weather, brakes good, and accelerates decent for the engine specs. I am about to put a cold air intake in it, so hopefully this will give it the added "boost" I'm missing. I love the stereo, I do miss having a CD player though. The aux ports make up for this. The interior is really nice and clean, and doesn't look or feel cheap at all. Overall, aesthetically speaking, this car is perfect for someone like me: 21, first time financing, and I commute 60miles a day, 5 days a week. I get a solid 41.2 MPG (or so says the car) majority of the time and have calculated manually 39.6. I can't complain!"

18 people out of 31 found this review helpful

Was great...for a year...

By on Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 52,200

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
3/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Cute interior, Sporty Look"

Cons: "Not reliable, speakers don't sound great."

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

"I've had this car since it was new, it was great for the first year. I purchased it in January of 2014 (they let it go at a great price since it was a 2013 new still on the lot, which was the deciding factor). It is fun to drive and no recalls (thankfully). I will say that the manufacturer's tires are terrible, but once I replaced those all the rough riding and bad handling went away. The interior is really interesting and great and it holds up very well. The trunk is also very large which is nice. But about 2 months ago my check engine light came on. Thermostat issues and the warranty didn't cover it. That was a $380 repair bill. Now the remote start has stopped, again warranty won't repair it and that is a $500 repair and the same issue with the thermostat is back again. Now instead of another repair I am considering trading it in."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Nothing special

By on Friday, May 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
5/10

Pros: "Solid mechanically"

Cons: "doesnt have the options to compete"

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

"If you want a car that will start and get you from A to B, this is no problem. However, this car hardly competes with the Ford fiesta or Honda fit. It is mechanically sound, but should not be priced near the competing cars. It just doesn’t have the stock options. The Sonic would be a great car if you could beat them down on price, but as it stands, The Ford and Honda models have much more value for the price."

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

great car for the price

By on Sunday, April 19, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000

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
8/10

Pros: "ride,fast, lots of tech"

Cons: "gas ml, does not get around in snow at all !!!!!"

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

"great car runs well the 1.8 engine is fast enough I can keep up with most cars even passing them 60-80 mph very quickly ride is great for the small car. gas ml is about 27 combined ."

1 person out of 5 found this review helpful

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."

7 people out of 11 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

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