Underperforming? - 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Long-Term Road Test

2012 Chevrolet Sonic Long Term Road Test

2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ: Underperforming?

March 01, 2012

Sonic underperforms, maybe-3-1-12.JPG

There are plenty of subjective reasons to like the Sonic. Here, I initially thought, was an objective one: Gasoline today in the Los Angeles/Long Beach area of California was $4.368 per gallon, up 18.2 cents for the week, according to AAA.

After three weeks of double-digit increases and the "the biggest one-month price jump in history," gas prices in the region of Edmunds worldwide HQ are within 30 cents of their all-time records, which were set in 2008, AAA says.

That would be one more reason to buy such a car (along with its attractive price and spirited driving). The car's onboard fuel-economy gauge was registering 34.8 mpg this morning -- though I do know better than to rely on it. In most cars, the gauges lie like desperate politicians.

Still, though, I was disappointed to see that our Sonic is underperforming when it comes to fuel economy. Its EPA rating is 33 mpg combined city/highway driving, and a class-leading 40 mpg highway with this engine and manual transmission, according to Chevrolet. (We paid an additional $700 for that 1.4 liter turbocharged engine on the premise that we'd get better fuel economy.)

Well, after 17 fill-ups, we're getting 27.7 mpg. We've mostly been fueling up with 87 octane, with the occasional 91-octane splurge. The Sonic has the fifth-highest fuel efficiency in our fleet for February.

But doesn't it seem like it should be doing better in the fuel-economy department?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @3,637 miles

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