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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
You May Not Like This Car If...
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 the Sonic
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.
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.
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.
2014 Chevrolet Sonic Details
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.
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.
Under the Hood
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.
1.4-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.
Pros: "Great price, alot zip for small engine, stylish!"
Cons: "No power windows cruise control or mirrors"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"It is great car. It rides smooth, has a lot power for a small engine, the style is nice. The only cons I don't like is that the ls base model does not come with power windows, cruise control, and power mirrors."
Pros: "Comfortable Econo car a lot of extras + Onstar"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"A very good Economy car lt's got a lot of feature on LT ! Own this Sonic for a year now very comfortable ride! Will be riding too Florida this Fall!!! This Car is made here in thee USA !!!!! I get very good gas mileage I average 32.9 MPG I can get on the highway 38MPG (and I can have a HEAVY FOOT sometimes)!OnStar is great( what you pay to keep it you save on Insurance) You can beat the Price I got over $4,000 Incentives The sticker price was over $19,000 . So I got a car for around $15000 BEFORE my Trade ! Try and get a Japan or Korean Car for that!!! Chevy has a good Car HERE!!!"
Pros: "Peppy, easy to park, comfort options, turbo 6-Sp"
Cons: "no passenger arm rest, tight interior, lower MPG"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I needed a commuter car to put 30K miles a year on for a few years into a rough neighborhood in NJ with little parking. This peppy turbo makes the 80 million drive fun and surprisingly comfortable. The leather seats and seat warmers at great in the winter, and the sunroof lets me enjoy the sun,like a convertible without the hassle of a soft top. Fills the bill as a good commuter car. Mileage is less than the 40MPG touted- more like 33 average. Looks like a Mini Cooper but much cheaper to purchase listing side-by-side options."