2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ: Back Road Drive
March 21, 2012
Some of my coworkers were out testing a rather desirable exotic sports car yesterday. Since I wasn't able to participate, I figured I needed a condolence prize. Alas, driving our Sonic on some back roads would have to do. Driving a subcompact around corners is not normally something that would sound all that fun, but the Sonic was up for the task.
The Sonic LTZ isn't a hot hatch, but "warm hatch" probably isn't too far off the mark. The steering has pretty good feel to it, and there's respectable grip from the Hankook 205/50R17 tires. It reminded me a little of our old GTI long-termer, actually. The suspension is compliant in that long-travel sort of way, but you can press on in the Sonic up to a certain point and still enjoy yourself.
The turbocharged 1.4-liter engine and manual transmission are a big draw, as well. Together, they make the Sonic feel pretty lively as I powered out of corners. It does make me wonder how a regular Sonic with the normally aspirated engine, automatic transmission and non-LTZ wheels/tires would be -- you know, the Sonic a lot of people will probably buy. In all likelihood: not nearly as enjoyable to drive on a road like this. Even so, I had a fun time with our Sonic LTZ today.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 4,925 miles