2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ Turbo: No Compromises
November 07, 2012
I was a big fan of the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ Turbo at the beginning of our long-term test. At that time, I lived close to our office and rarely had to commute in traffic.
Then, my affection for it cooled during an August road trip to Northern California, as I coped with its heat-sensitive turbocharged 1.4-liter engine (really, though, anyone would be sensitive when it's triple digits in CA's Central Valley), EPA-friendly tall gearing and flat seats.
Now, it's autumn, and considerably cooler outside, and I have a longer commute to work, and I'm getting enthusiastic about our turbo Sonic once more. Let's talk about the seating position.
In every other B-segment based car I've driven and liked (except for the premium-priced Mini Cooper), there's always something funky about the driving position that I've just had to accept. In the Honda Fit, it's a minivan-like driving position coupled with not a lot of seat-track travel. In the Mazda 2, it's a non-telescoping steering wheel and even less seat-track travel. In the Fiat 500 (which is built on a sub-B chassis), it's a barstool-like seating position. (I haven't driven a Ford Fiesta lately, nor have I had enough seat time in the Hyundai Accent/Kia Rio to have an opinion on those cars.)
In the Sonic, I don't have to make any concessions. There's a huge range of steering-wheel telescope adjustment, a huge range of seat-track travel (you can pretty much sit in the backseat if you want) and a huge range of seat-height adjustment. In our Chevy, I'm as comfortable as I would be in a larger compact or midsize car. And when you're commuting, this is a big deal.
After my road trip experience, though, I'm still not sure I'd want the Sonic to be my only car. But if I owned one, I could always rent something else when I wanted to take a long road trip. Alternatively, if the Sonic is part of a two-car household, it could be the daily driver with the other car designated for long-haul journeys.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 15,245 miles