Heading to dealers this fall, the all-new 2012 Chevrolet Sonic will start at $14,495 in its most affordable LS Sedan form and command $15,395 for the five-door LS hatchback. Those figure put the Sonic four-door some $500 beyond its most likely prime rival, the 2012 Ford Fiesta S, but peg the LS hatch $475 below a base 2011 Honda Fit. To sweeten the deal in either case, Chevrolet claims the new Sonic will arrive with the longest roster of standard features among any player in the ultra-competitive subcompact arena.

To justify that contention, the Sonic LS complements its 1.8-liter/125-horsepower Ecotec four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission with things like air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, power door locks -- including power rear child-safety locks -- keyless remote entry and six months of OnStar with Turn-by-Turn navigation as well as a Hill Holder feature and class-exclusive 15-inch alloy wheels. It also boasts the most comprehensive array of safety equipment, headed by StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing, antilock brakes, a collapsible pedal set and no fewer than 10 airbags. 

Stepping up a trim level, the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LT sedan ($15,695) and LT hatchback ($16,496) add power windows/mirrors and a six-speaker premium audio upgrade with a CD player and six month subscription to XM Satellite Radio. The top-line Sonic LTZ set -- $17,295 for the four-door and $17995 for the hatch -- add heated leatherette front seats, cruise control, fog lamps, 17-inch alloy wheels and a Connectivity Package that includes a USB port, Bluetooth and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls.

Powertrain options for the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic include a six-speed automatic transmission with the 1.8-liter engine ($1,070) in any trim level and a 138-horsepower/1.4-liter turbocharged four with a six-speed manual for the LT/LTZ-grade cars. In addition to offering best-in-class acceleration Chevy is projecting that the T-charged Sonic will deliver 40 mpg on the highway.

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