2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ: Report From Valet Parking
September 21, 2012
It was that moment in valet parking that you dread.
The press conference has ended and there I am talking with no less than the chairman of the board, the CEO and the director of engineering plus the pr director and we're all waiting for our rides, and of course I'm completely cringing at the idea of the Sonic rounding the corner.
It's a great car, but it looks like it was designed by a small group of unruly adolescents from Korea, so I was expecting to be totally cooled out.
Lucky for me, the execs got their cars and disappeared before the Sonic showed up. But then the valet guy said as he handed over the keys, "Cool car. Love the way it shifts."
This is the third time I've heard this about the Sonic from a valet parking guy. (Hey, it's L.A., and valet parking is like our regional sport.)
Partly this is interesting because it suggests that the Sonic is being seen by guys under age 30, which is good for the car and good for Chevrolet. And partly this is interesting because what's being noticed is the shift linkage for the manual transmission, which should supposedly be the most irrelevant part of the car given the low installation rate of manual transmissions in automobiles these days.
But all of these valet guys have been telling me that they liked the smooth, mechanical action of the manual transmission's shift linkage. Maybe there's some kind of thing percolating beneath the surface here, a kind of reaction against cars that drive like electronic pods. Or maybe life is so tedious as a valet parking guy that just being able to select your own gears for a few yards can turn around your entire night.
Well, maybe. I'll have to take the Sonic to valet parking a couple more times to make sure.
Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 11,710