2012 Chevy Sonic: I Like This Car
February 14, 2012
I agree with Magrath that the Sonic's dashboard design looks like a sad elephant. I'd also add that its materials quality and selection could be better. If I could transplant the Kia Rio's cabin into the Sonic I'd be a happy guy. However, none of the above dulls my enthusiasm for this car when I drive it.
Its turbocharged engine is wonderful, providing ample punch off the line and making it eager to dart through traffic. The steering is sharp and I appreciate that the controls work with a similar amount of effort. GM apparently put in a lot of effort to make them work with such a consistency and it makes a big difference. It just feels right.
Last night, however, I realized why I like the Sonic so much. It reminds me a lot of the GTI, a car I like for similar reasons. Yes, the turbo engine has a lot to do with it, but I found my driving style and level of enjoyment to be reminiscent of one of my favorite cars on the road. Heck it even has a VW-esque long-throw shifter, though, it's less damped in its motions and the one-two shift can be notchy at times.
And like the GTI, this Sonic is also going to be a divider amongst our staff. Already battle lines are being drawn amongst the "Love its" and "Hate its." Count me in the former camp. In the subcompact class, this is the car I'd buy.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 2,829 miles