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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 156 Ratings for the 2012 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.4/10
    Quality
    8.2/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.5/10
  • Comfort
    8.3/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

Great car for a new driver

By on Tuesday, April 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000

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
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

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

"So, personally I don't have much experience driving many cars, but I absolutely love how this one drives. I've had my license for under a year now, but before that, it was my father's. He enjoyed how the car drove, and now I am too. It's a small car, so it's easy to park... but not too small so that it inhibits you from speeding down a highway. I've gone 90 in this car without any problems at all, it is able to hold up well. The gas mileage isn't too bad either. I drive around a lot every day in a split between highway and cities, and I can go about a week and a half without having to fill it up. It's a fun car (I have it in the dragon green color, we got a discount at the dealership for the color) and I couldn't imagine having a better first car. The only problem I ever had with the car was my rear right tire was leaking when we got it, had to fill it up at least once a week until we went back to the dealership to get it fixed. Other than that, it's been a perfect car."

first & only chevy i will ever buy

By on Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 69,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "fill ups"

Cons: "no cruise control, no power, not enough room for 4"

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

"i bought 5/2014, since ownership i've had 15 engine codes none of which anyone can determine whats causing it, spent $200 on a intake pipe & cleared codes otherwise its the same P0014 code or P0027. worst car ever owned. no power, no cruise control(which makes long trips longer), built for 1-2ppl at most, no one ever sits in the back because there is no room to put their feet. rear seats are always folded down. great on fill ups, only getting 20mpg in town, maybe 30mpg on highway thought i would get better than that, 1.8L in geo storm did better & that had room for 2ppl in rear seats & it was a hatchback too. no touchscreen, no rearview cam which would make this car better as had to install blindspot mirrors. like i said before good for fill ups, horrible winter car. fwd should only be built for anyone that lives below the winter belt, above that should be 4x4 & awd. also frosts over inside also. also gm buyback car. bought with 40k, now only have 69k, if this were my grand prix i'd still be driving that & i bought that with 55k & now i would of had over 300k on it."

6 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Surprisingly Nice

By on Saturday, February 13, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Fun to drive, higher in quality than I expected."

Cons: "Hard to get in and out if you are above 6' tall."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Bought this used for my wife as she had problems driving my big Equinox. Bought it used in Nov, 2015 - a certified vehicle from a GM dealer. Had less than 15k miles. Only problem I had with it is getting into it - have to lower the seat all the way and have it in the full back position. But surprisingly a lot of pep for the little 4 cylinder, good but not great gas mileage. 6-speed trans is nice. Rides quiet and fun to drive. The only reason I rated it as an 8 in "Reliability" is because when was test driving it the check engine light came on. Dealer had it fixed and no problems since. Nice little car."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

I love my car!!

By on Thursday, December 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,900

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great gas mileage"

Cons: "Car drifts in bad weather"

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

"I love this car, the only thing I don't like about it is that it is so light....when I am driving in a storm or windy weather, I literally can feel my car drift, pretty scary sometimes bc I work night shifts lol but other than that I absolutely love it. I have had it since July of 2014. Great gas mileage"

16 people out of 16 found this review helpful

picky people read below :) 2014 sonic 1.8L

By on Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Read full review"

Cons: "Read full review"

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

"I am very picky about thje vehicles I drive. but i love this car, things that I have noticed so far 1. the rear view mirror makes noise, so it sounds like your dash is rattling, but its just the mirror, a quick jiggle and it goes away 2. At times if the air condition fan is on 2 or 3 speed setting, it makes a high pitched squeaking noise, like the fan bearings are going out. 3. When the car is not warmed up and you put it in reverse the car tends to bump back and forth in a rythem till you ether back up really fast or drive forward. 4. The cooling fan for the engine also makes a squeaking noise at times Other then that, its a great little car, and is quick, has good gas millage, and rides really really well."

17 people out of 34 found this review helpful

Budget Car for the Masses

By on Friday, September 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 33,544

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Price,Fun to drive, Spacous,Quiet cabin."

Cons: "A Bit more Power, Power windows on base model"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

What My Car Looks like Now.

"When I First heard about this Car I saw it in a Chevy Commercial and I was Amazed by it..not because of the Advertisement, but how it looked inside..and the body design was different. This being my First Car used CPO I was VERY Happy with it, It's Very Spacious..but the hatchback will give you a BIT more space in the trunk, but it handles VERY Well in and out of corners. I've owned the car for just over a 1 and 2 months I've lowered it which gives it even MORE greater handling, the engine could use a BIT more umfff, BUT..all in all it's a nice little car..VERY Quiet cabin also."

17 people out of 31 found this review helpful

What My Car Looks like Now.

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