2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ: The Acid Test
November 5, 2012
I hadn't driven the Sonic since we had the seats replaced. I wasn't the only one who noticed the smell, the same smell that caused us to replace the seats. So when I opened the driver's door for the night's drive home, I got a whiff. The fishy smell was still present, but much more pleasantly attenuated. You caught the whiff, then it passed, then you adjusted once you were inside the car for a few minutes and didn't notice.
So I took the wife for a ride, since she helped catalyze this chain of events. She didn't remember the car and I didn't remind her. Finally I asked: does it still stink? She was surprised that it was the same car, and immediately recalled her initial reaction. The old-seats Sonic, she said, would've sickened a pregnant woman with her finely-tuned senses. But she largely agreed with the sentiments of another spouse: the new Sonic simply smells like a new car, with a slight funk.
Also makes me realize how sensitive we, on staff, can be when moving in and out of different cars all the time. You notice a funky car, largely because the last one you were in didn't smell. The new seats haven't totally eliminated the odor; I can only figure some of its just coming from the dash and door panel plastics. But it dissipates quickly once you're in the car for a few minutes. If you owned this car, I doubt you'd notice it after a week. Not ideal, and we went to some lengths to correct it, but generally I'd say problem solved.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor