2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ - Nevada Road Trip
October 17, 2012
Believe it or not, I hadn't driven the Chevy Sonic LTZ until I pulled out of the garage for a 1,400-mile road trip to the High Sierra, over to northern Nevada and finally back home through Las Vegas. That's a lot of road to cover in a little car and I wondered how it would perform. I was pleasantly surprised. It struck me as a little car with a big car cruising feel to it.
For the open road, a big, heavy car usually feels right. It lumbers along pleasantly, masking the bumps by giving little road feel and damping out excess vibration and noise. I was afraid the Sonic would be loud and jittery. But it wasn't. In fact, it was geared so tall that even at high speeds it was quiet. But I did find it lacking in a few areas.
As I drove the lonely highways of central Nevada, I kept comparing the Sonic to my 2007 Honda Fit Sport. I loved that car. But I really like the way the Sonic's 1.4-liter 138 hp turbocharged four-cylinder performs. Climbing from Lone Pine, Calif., to the Mount Whitney Portal, from 3,700 feet to 8,400 feet, there was little drop off in power, despite the oxygen-starved air.
One place where the Sonic comes up short is storage. The rear cargo area was barely big enough for two small duffle bags. Forget about golf clubs. My Fit not only handled multiple golf bags but the seats folded like Origami and I could stow bikes, climbing gear, tall potted plants and luggage for four.
More gripes: the driver's side window switch is still sticky, the climate control buttons feel cheap and the clutch pedal is now squeaking. I zeroed out the on-board gas mileage computer so when I get back home I'll let you know how it delivered in that department.
So far, despite some caveats, I am impressed with this feisty little Sonic.
Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 13,429 miles