Feature

The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic

What the critics say about the $14,635 Sonic hatchback

Automobile
General Motors finally has an econobox to be proud of in Chevy’s all-new Sonic— the only subcompact now built in the U.S. Available as a roomy hatchback or a “surprisingly un-dorky-looking sedan,” it offers the same two choices of engine as the larger Cruze, including an optional turbo version that’s “well worth it.” Minor flaws like its “overboosted” electric-assisted steering don’t detract much from this “solid little platform.”

Motor Trend
Buyers do get a lot in the Sonic, with standard safety features like “rollover sensing,” electronic stability control, and a total of 10 airbags. The base 1.8-liter engine is “competent and willing,” but the more refined 1.4-liter turbo has greater midrange power. While “the Sonic isn’t perfect,” it “has all the goods” to be a top contender among subcompacts.

Car and Driver
With the turbo, you’ll need the six-speed manual transmission to find passing power on the highway, but that’s fine: “That gearing helps the Sonic achieve 40 mpg highway in the EPA’s testing.” In fact, Chevy’s newest small car gets so much right that it has “clambered not only out of the pit dug by its predecessors, but right up toward the top of the small-car heap.”

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