By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.7
The 2014 Sonic subcompact is the next-to-the-smallest car to carry Chevrolet's familiar bow-tie badge (the Spark is the smallest), but it offers capabilities and characteristics that far transcend its tidy size. Coming in sedan and hatchback forms, the Sonic's fuel economy is equal to or better than those of such rivals as the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit, its ride and handling go from comfortable and responsive to certifiably sporty and enthusiastic, and it comes with lots of features that are pleasant surprises in this price bracket, including streaming Bluetooth audio and the MyLink infotainment system that allows for control of cell-phone-enabled apps. Add in that it looks good and is priced very affordably, and it's a winner.
Reasons to like the 2014 Sonic: It's the quietest and most well-behaved subcompact car on the market. It's truly fun to drive. The fuel economy is exemplary. It's full of nice features. The pricing is very affordable. It's one of the very best subcompacts in the segment. Check it out.
Reasons to pick a different car: The Honda Fit offers more interior room and versatility, the Hyundai Accent is nicely done, the Ford Fiesta has its own considerable charms. The subcompact segment is not without choices.
Changes for the Sonic for 2014 are relatively few. A rear-vision camera is standard on the LTZ and RS and available on the LT. There's an available advanced safety package that includes Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning, and the LT Promotional Package includes MyLink radio, a power sunroof and front fog lights.
Driving Impressions It is difficult to take the Chevy Sonic for a drive and not come back mightily impressed with the comfortable ride, the nimble response, the snappy handling and the overall...... level of composure and refinement. All subcompact cars are better than ever, but the Sonic stands out from the crowd and drives like something bigger and more expensive than the competition. Its available 1.4-liter turbocharged engine brings exceptional fuel economy and sprightly performance, but is somewhat quirky in its power delivery. The base 1.8-liter engine costs less, is available with either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission, and is in some ways a more pleasant driving experience. But, with either engine, the front-drive Sonic combines class-leading road manners with remarkable handling capabilities. If there's a canyon road in your daily commute you won't mind so much the ride to work and back. You might even look forward to it.
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.
OVERALL ROAD MANNERS
In any trim level, the Sonic delivers a combination of driving dynamics that is more than just a welcome surprise in a subcompact. In the LTZ trim, it's comfy and nimble, and in the RS it's downright sporty.
There's a lot of fresh thinking inside the Sonic and we like it, starting with the motorcycle-inspired gauge cluster that's unlike anything else on a car's dashboard. Another strong point is that there are no weak points, no spots that look like they just didn't quite care enough to finish it. A few things worth mentioning are that the cupholders are good but placed too far to the rear between the front seats. The rear seat is one of the roomiest in the subcompact segment. And we really liked the dual glovebox arrangement, which is particularly thoughtful for those who use a dedicated music player, with the USB port located in the smaller, upper glove box.Exterior
The subcompact class is full of exciting designs these days, with such standouts as the Ford Fiesta and Hyundai Accent. The Sonic is rather more reserved, but it also won't be one of those love-it-or-hate-it deals either. And it does have its interesting details, including hiding the rear door handles in the black areas of the C-pillars to make the car look more like a 2-door, at least at the first, quick glance. Another thing in the Sonic's favor: With the exception of the base LS trim level, all models have aluminum-alloy wheels.
As either a sedan or 5-door hatchback, standard equipment on the 2014 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. Power windows and mirrors are missing from that list of standard equipment, but that's not unusual for base-level subcompacts. A full range of standard safety equipment includes 10 airbags.
A fully-loaded 2014 Chevy Sonic includes leatherette seats, heated front seats, a moonroof, cruise control, and 17-inch wheels. Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment is available on LS and LT models, 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, 4-wheel disc brakes, a performance suspension, 17-inch alloy wheels, and a sport steering wheel. The available advanced safety package includes Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning, and the LT Promotional Package includes MyLink radio, a power sunroof and front fog lights.
There are two engine choices for the Sonic, each more than merely acceptable. The base 1.8-liter 4-cylinder cranks out good power and is entirely reasonable and pleasant. The pricier alternative is a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that's sportier and makes more torque, and thus goes quicker, but has as its main advantage a 5-mpg gain in highway fuel economy. The 1.8-liter is available with a 5-speed manual transmission, the turbo 1.4-liter with a 6-speed manual, and both can be matched with a 6-speed automatic. In our experience, we found no reason not to like any of the transmission choices.
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)
A 2014 Chevy Sonic LS sedan starts at a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of just under $15,000. The lowest-priced Sonic 5-door is in the step-up LT trim level, with its additional features, at just over $17,000. Loaded, a 2014 Sonic can top $20,000. Overall, the Sonic is priced in line with its key competitors on a feature-to-feature basis. Before heading down to your Chevy dealer, be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price, which reflects what others in your area are currently paying for the Sonic. As for resale value, we expect the 2014 Chevy Sonic to perform better than its Aveo predecessor, but not as well as some of its more proven subcompact competitors from Ford, Honda and other manufacturers.
By Dr. K on Sunday, October 26, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great Price, Good MPG, and nice pickup"
Cons: "One arm rest, Seats could be better."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I drive at least an hr every day on my daily drive and love the pickup and fuel economy. Its fun and is a great little car."
19 people out of 32 found this review helpful
By stutz1932 on Tuesday, October 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 83,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Sporty, economical, easy to park and drive."
Cons: "driver armrest is weird. shift to 3rd is strange."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I picked the Hatchback and it has proven to be quite a fun little car to drive. I would suggest the 1.4 stickshift turbo, because I picked the automatic 1.8 and I think the car would be a lot more fun as a turbo stickshift. With that said, I have found the interior seating to be ok for the price. The comforts and media options for 2012 were better than any other car in its class, mainly because they come standard. The car handles pretty well and has an easy way about it when driving in any condition. The car drives comfortably in the rain, the snow and in LA/DC traffic. The trunk space could be increased because it's difficult to fit stuff with people in the back. If you are by yourself, the back with the seats down provides a ton of space. There is a slight blind spot to the right where the pillar is at, but check a couple of times and you're fine. The gas mileage is decent for the 1.8. I get an average of 35mpg if I can maintain freeway speed under 68 (max). Anything over that and the mpg drops. If you are driving through town, instead of the freeway, then expect to get closer to 30mpg. Other than that, the car is sporty, fun and economical."
3 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By dbGlenview on Monday, October 20, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Mileage, style, power, driveability"
Cons: "Tiny gauge cluster; lacks engine temperature."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Have not owned a Chevy since a 1960 model. Sonic is our most trouble-free car ever. Oil life (according to its sensor) could go 10,000 miles, but must be changed at least annually, to keep warranty valid. I wanted Union Built USA vehicle; note: this has about 50% Korean-made Parts. Top Crash Safety rated; 10 airbags. Great Hatchback styling appears to be a 2-door wagon; 4 adults fit just fine. Has reasonable cargo space; privacy cover clips are flimsy (broke), but the cover works better if clips are actually removed! Amazing turbo power when needed, yet 1.4L engine gets over 50mpg highway. With 6 speed transmission, it occasionally hunts for a gear (when going from coast to accelerate). Gets best mileage over speed 42, as 6th gear is reached (overdrive?). Mileage falls with wind resistance, over speed 55mph. Takes corners like a race-car; is fine in 5- inch snow. LT model has virtually every accessory, including cruise, power windows, remote start, great speaker system. Thick pillars and the headrests obstruct most rearward vision, but dual-lens side-view mirrors help immensely. Just like our 2000 Ford Focus, a little warmed air comes through the heater/air conditioner system whenever the fan-only is turned on, and dial set to coolest."
2 people out of 7 found this review helpful