Used 2012 Chevy Sonic Sedan
Edmunds' Expert Review
- Excellent power and fuel economy from optional turbocharged engine
- attractive, livable cabin
- crisp handling
- low price
- top safety scores.
- The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic is an all-new subcompact, available in both sedan and four-door-hatchback configurations.
With a winning blend of power, comfort and fuel efficiency, the all-new 2012 Chevrolet Sonic is one of the segment's top picks.
For a long time, domestic cars were laggards in the small-car segment, but these days, the picture is much different; homegrown models are at the forefront both in sales and overall quality. The latest example of worthy local talent is the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, a subcompact that replaces the Aveo in Chevy's lineup.
The name change was certainly in order, since relative to the Aveo, the Sonic represents a quantum leap forward. Offered as both a sedan and a four-door hatchback, this Chevy features an attractive cabin that's one of the most livable in the subcompact segment. Compared to its rivals, the Sonic provides generous in-cabin storage; every square inch of space is cleverly utilized, as is evidenced by that nifty, unusually placed pair of bins located high on the center stack. There's ample head- and shoulder room for front passengers, and the spacious second row keeps 6-footers comfortable -- as long as there isn't another 6-footer in the front seat.
Things get even more appealing when you peek under the hood. A 1.8-liter inline-4 produces a healthy 138 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque, while the even more desirable turbocharged 1.4-liter matches this horsepower and increases torque to a remarkably robust 148 lb-ft. The Sonic handles with engaging responsiveness and fuel economy is competitive, with the turbocharged engine getting an estimated 40 mpg on the highway. Perhaps most importantly for those who are downsizing from something larger, the Sonic feels as if it's much bigger and more substantial from behind the wheel.
The subcompact class isn't exactly hard up for talent, and you'd be wise to take a close look at some of the Sonic's rivals. The redesigned Hyundai Accent boasts refinement and superb mileage, while the Ford Fiesta brings a composed ride and sporty handling. There's also the capable Honda Fit, which earns a recommendation on the strength of its highly versatile interior. Still, the Sonic's blend of power, comfort, safety and fuel efficiency is compelling enough to make this Chevy a top contender in a very tough segment.
2012 Chevrolet Sonic models
The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic is a subcompact that's available as a sedan and a four-door hatchback. Both body styles come in three trims: LS, LT and LTZ.
The LS includes 15-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, a four-way (manual) adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 60/40-split rear seat, a trip computer, OnStar and a four-speaker AM/FM stereo with an auxiliary audio jack. A six-speaker sound system with a CD/MP3 player and satellite radio is available as an option.
LT models add the LS trim's optional six-speaker setup, along with heated side mirrors, full power accessories and upgraded cloth upholstery. Additionally, this trim is eligible for a Connectivity Plus Cruise package that includes cruise control, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, an iPod/USB audio interface and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. LT models equipped with an automatic transmission get a remote vehicle starter system with this package. The LT trim is also eligible for a Wheels and Foglamp package that includes 16-inch wheels and foglamps.
With the top-of-the-line LTZ trim, you get the LT's standard features and the amenities in the Connectivity Plus Cruise package, along with 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, heated front seats, leatherette premium vinyl upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. A sunroof is available as an option.
Performance & mpg
The standard engine on the 2012 Sonic is a 1.8-liter inline-4 that makes 138 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque. LT and LTZ models are available with a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-4 that generates 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard with the 1.8 liter, while the Turbo gets a six-speed manual. A six-speed automatic is optional on both.
In Edmunds testing, a manual-equipped Sonic LTZ sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 8.8 seconds, a quick time for this class.
EPA fuel economy estimates stand at 26 mpg city/35 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined for the 1.8-liter engine with the manual transmission, and 25/35/28 with the automatic. Despite its extra power, the Turbo is actually estimated to be more efficient, with 29/40/33 for the manual and 27/37/31 for the automatic.
All 2012 Chevrolet Sonic models come standard with stability control, antilock brakes (front disc, rear drum), side curtain airbags, front knee airbags and side-impact airbags for all outboard passengers (front and rear).
In government crash testing, the Sonic received a perfect five stars for overall protection, overall frontal protection and overall side protection. This is the strongest performance currently in the class. The Sonic was rated a "Top Safety Pick" by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, receiving a top score of "Good" in frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Sonic LTZ stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, an average distance for this class of car.
With the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, you get engaging handling that doesn't come at the expense of a comfortable ride. Ride quality is firm enough to paint a realistic picture of the road, while at the same time being accommodating enough to buffer undue harshness. The cabin is relatively quiet both on surface streets and on the freeway, while the steering is one of its high points -- light in parking lots but well-weighted and natural-feeling at speed. In total, the Sonic drives like a bigger, more composed car than you would expect.
Both of the Sonic's engines offer good performance for this segment. The turbocharged 1.4 is especially torquey and peppy, offering 0-60-mph acceleration that's nearly a second quicker than many of its rivals. The fact that it returns better fuel economy than the regular engine means you should definitely consider doling out the extra cash for this impressive little engine.
The Sonic's industrial-theme cabin is handsome to look at, with a thoroughly modern feel. Materials quality is respectable, though there are some cheap-looking plastics in evidence. Controls are logically clustered and clearly labeled, making it easy to find one's way around the center stack. Factory-installed navigation isn't offered, but given the wide range of inexpensive portable and handheld nav systems on the market, we don't see this omission being a problem for most shoppers.
The front row offers good shoulder and headroom, and rear passengers benefit from legroom that's among the best in the segment. Luggage capacity on the Sonic hatch is midpack, at 19 cubic feet; maximum cargo capacity is 30.9 cubic feet, well behind that of rivals like the Fit and the Accent. The sedan's trunk accommodates 14 cubic feet of luggage, making it among the roomiest in this segment.
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover12.6%
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More About This Model
With its devilish smirk and in-your-face Burnt Orange paint job, this 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ looks like a car intent on stirring things up. It's fitting, since General Motors hopes the all-new Sonic (which replaces the forgettable Aveo in Chevy's lineup) will rock 'em and sock 'em in a way that revises the pecking order within the subcompact segment.
Chevy has done this kind of thing before; its compact Cruze came out of nowhere to become a worldwide sales darling. What's clear is that the Sonic is armed for battle. Our test car's turbocharged 1.4-liter inline-4 kicks up class-leading horsepower and torque, and it does so while managing an EPA-estimated 40 mpg on the highway. Handling is relatively keen and responsive, and the car's comfortable cabin — with a stylish industrial motif and ample storage opportunities — is both easy to look at and easy to live with.
The ruling class in the subcompact segment most certainly includes the refined Hyundai Accent, the versatile Honda Fit and the tech-laden Ford Fiesta. Add the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic to that list; it hits the mark for shoppers who value strong fuel economy, brisk acceleration and an accommodating cabin.
Used 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan Overview
The Used 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan is offered in the following styles: LT 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A), LT 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), LTZ 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A), LTZ 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), and LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A). Pre-owned Chevrolet Sonic Sedan models are available with a 1.8 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 138 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed automatic, 5-speed manual. The Used 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan?
Price comparisons for Used 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan trim styles:
Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.
Which used 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Sedans are available in my area?
Used 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan Listings and Inventory
Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan.
Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Sedan for sale near you.
Can't find a used 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Sonic Sedan you want in your area? Consider a broader search.
Find a used Chevrolet Sonic for sale - 5 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $12,623.
Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 6 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $22,756.
Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Sonic for sale - 8 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $10,521.
Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 7 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $13,537.
Should I lease or buy a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.