ARLINGTON, Virginia — The 2015 Chevrolet Sonic sedan and hatchback earned the 2015 Top Safety Pick award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety following improvements to the car's structure and airbags.
The changes lifted the Sonic's rating for small overlap front crash protection from marginal to good, the Institute said on Thursday. The test is designed to replicate what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object like a tree or utility pole.
The rating applies to Sonics built after February 2015.
"Chevrolet made modifications to the front-end structure, door sill and door-hinge pillar," the Institute said in a statement. "In addition, the side curtain airbags were lengthened and reprogrammed to deploy earlier in small overlap crashes."
It added: "In the latest test, the driver space was maintained reasonably well, with maximum intrusion of 4 inches at the footrest and adjacent footwell. That's less than the 6 inches of intrusion in the lower interior that occurred in the earlier test."
Standard safety equipment on the Sonic includes 10 airbags, antilock brakes and electronic stability control.
Edmunds says: Car shoppers should note that the 2015 Sonic came out ahead of the 2015 Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio in this latest round of testing from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. None of those competitor cars earned a Top Safety Pick award rating.