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 blamebliss on Wednesday, February 19, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive, great mpg, interior features"
Cons: "wheel well gap,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car purely on a test drive, with no intentions to buy a new car. I absolutely fell in love! The 1.4l turbo is the way to go however, and Im glad I got it. The power isn't massive, but its very peppy, handles incredibly well and the understeer doesn't control you in the tight turns. Would be an awesome track car as well. Great on gas too! I run premium always, and have seen 45mpg highway, and usually am around 33 to 36 around town when driving like a law abiding citizen. Great car, a blast to drive."
By Natasha on Tuesday, February 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Turns on a dime, fund to drive"
Cons: "Only one outlet plug, back seat small for adults"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"With our family shrinking in size, my husband & I decided to down size. Although it has been an adjustment when we have our adult children with us (from van to car), this is a wonderful car. Gas is fantastic, especially on long trips with an average of 40+ on the highway. City driving averages 35 mph. It desperately needs more outlet plugs as one just doesn't do it when you need to charge 2 or more phones & a possible GPS."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Mike on Sunday, February 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,450overall rating 2 of 10rating details
Pros: "Wrong car for us."
Cons: "Harder for elderly people to get in and out.."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 3
"Not our kind of car. Traded a 2008 Toyota Sienna CE. Bad choice. Not really that economical, and hard for us to transition to such a small car. Not worth the money..."
By Skip on Thursday, January 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,500overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, Gas, Stiling, Safety, fun to drive."
Cons: "Small trunk, what do you except?"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have 2013 Sonic Turbo 1.4L 5 door Ltz. I have 17 cars and trucks. All are SRT Supercharged/ Turbo Dodge's and am used to power. This car is great as far as power and gas mileage. The safety rating is the best for this size of car. I bought this car for in town and has lived up to its name. I have had many complements, in regards to stile and performance. From 0 - 60mph its faster then the Camaro & Mustangs v-6's and gets about 38MPG. I would buy this car all over again. Totally love it for the bang for the buck!!!!"
4 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By L2 on Tuesday, January 07, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "small and easy to park"
Cons: "Bluetooth unreliable, cheap leather, fogs up easy."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I absolutely hate this car! It was a very bad decision on my part. First, it fogs up very quickly and builds up dust all over. I was told by the dealership…after purchasing…that because it is so small and has very tight seals, the dust and fog are a likely characteristic of this car. The blue tooth is very unreliable. I am constantly having to switch between iPhone and bluetooth…very annoying and unsafe. Snow? Forget it! I got stuck twice today; on a hill and then parked on a side street. Cheap leather….ugh! Seats feel more like plastic than like leather. Still cannot download pictures onto dash screen. No biggie…but is one of their claims. One good thing…easy to park since it is so small. I am already upside down and have been making hefty payments since purchasing. This car does not hold its value. I am so very disappointed in this car!"
4 people out of 12 found this review helpful
By Bori on Monday, December 30, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,711overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I was looking to buy a 2nd car for better gas milage and when my family comes to visit me they have there own car to get around town. Since I bought my Sonic LT sedan I have been impressed. The gas milage is great I get in the city around 30 miles. the handling of the car is amazing. The inside is big and comfortable. the price I paid for the car I got all the bell and whistle you want to get on a new car not sacrificing my wallet. The fixture I love on this car is the on star app from my phone. Could start my car from anywhere. When driving at night time combining the head lights with the fog lights the lights distance is wider and longer is better then my other car. I use this car more then my other car. My sister drove it over the holidays and she loves it."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful