Still Fishy - 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Long-Term Road Test

2012 Chevrolet Sonic Long Term Road Test

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2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ: Still Fishy

May 02, 2012

Service for scent.jpg

I took our Sonic to a nearby Chevrolet dealership on Tuesday and summed up the problem for the young, bright-eyed service representative: "Our car stinks."

Not what he expected to hear at 7:05 a.m., I suspect. He leaned into the car and said -- right on cue -- "I don't smell anything."

"Trust me," I said. "It smells." I explained that it's a fishy odor, noted by several people, and that we'd read at least one online description of a strong adhesive smell emanating from another Sonic's seats.

He handed me off to Marco, a more seasoned service adviser. Marco listened, nodded and said that sometimes new cars do have a distinct smell, and that it should dissipate over time.

He said that he'd put the car through a PitStop, which is GM's term for a multi-point inspection: AC, battery, brakes, fluid levels, tire pressure and wiper blades. And then he'd send the car to the service departmennt's detailing shop for ministrations.

Less than two hours later, Marco called: "Your vehicle is ready. You can pick it up at any time." Clearly, I would not be getting new seats today.

Before I got into the car, I asked Marco what the detailers had done to address the problem. "They put some chemicals on the seats," he said.

Chemicals. Isn't that how we got here in the first place?

On the short drive home, it seemed that maybe, possibly, the smell wasn't as intense as it had been. It was hard to be sure. The human nose can lose its capacity to be horrified after repeated inhalations. Ask any cat owner.

But I figured that if the cure was a real one, I shouldn't smell anything the next time I took the Sonic out. Four hours later, I was back in the car to go to a lunch appointment. And the smell was waiting for me, unabated. More like fully baited.

Thinking that maybe I was too focused on any scent in the car, I asked my lunch partner to double-check. "There's a smell all right," she said. "New car, with a dash of fish."

We'll take the car back to the dealership for another try at making the smell go away -- probably at its next scheduled service. But before then, we're going to try some home remedies in an effort to make our driving less aromatic. Send us your suggestions.

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @8,000 miles

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