2014 Chevrolet Sonic Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Powerful optional turbocharged engine
  • generous amount of features
  • excellent crash test scores
  • comfortable and spacious cabin
  • fun to drive.
  • Subpar fuel economy of base engine
  • cut-rate cabin materials
  • hatchback's mediocre cargo capacity
  • turbo engine's sluggish throttle response.
Other years
List Price Range
$4,750 - $9,399

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is one of our top picks for a subcompact sedan or hatchback thanks to its blend of power, comfort and feature availability.

Vehicle overview

When it comes to the subcompact 2014 Chevrolet Sonic, a bit of memory loss will serve you well. This American-built small sedan and hatchback are every bit as appealing as anything from the import brands that have dominated this segment for years. In fact, the Sonic is good enough to make you forget all of the small Chevy models (like the seriously subpar Aveo) that came before it.

Offered as a four-door sedan or four-door hatchback, the Chevy Sonic feels more refined and substantial than many other subcompact offerings. An optional 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine delivers strong acceleration and very good fuel economy. The well-tuned suspension provides steady handling without a noticeable sacrifice in ride comfort -- call it a junior-size Volkswagen Golf and you won't be far off. And with its firmer suspension and slick six-speed manual gearbox, the sportier Sonic RS model can be downright fun to drive.

Inside, the interior offers comfortable accommodations, with a backseat that's more adult-friendly than you might expect in a car this size. The Sonic can be equipped with a wide array of options, too, including an up-to-date touchscreen electronics interface and, for 2014, new lane departure and collision warning systems that bolster the car's already impressive safety credentials.

Of course, the 2014 Chevy Sonic isn't the only appealing subcompact on the market. We also like the Ford Fiesta for its refined road manners and the Hyundai Accent (and related Kia Rio) for its strong value. The Honda Fit hatchback remains a strong candidate if you regularly haul bulky items due to its unmatched interior flexibility. Even in this group, though, the 2014 Chevy Sonic stands out for its impressive combination of performance, safety and value.

2014 Chevrolet Sonic models

The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is offered in sedan and four-door hatchback body styles, both of which can seat five passengers. The sedan and hatchback can be had in LS, LT, LTZ and RS trim levels.

Standard equipment on the LS includes 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, integrated blind-spot mirrors, keyless entry, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split rear seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone connectivity, OnStar emergency communications and a four-speaker stereo with an auxiliary audio input jack and steering wheel controls.

The LT adds 15-inch alloy wheels, heated power mirrors, upgraded cloth upholstery, cruise control, power windows, remote ignition (automatic transmission only) and a six-speaker audio system (optional on the LS) that includes a CD player, Bluetooth audio connectivity, satellite radio and an iPod/USB audio interface. The hatchback also gets a rear cargo shelf. The Wheels and Foglamp option package adds 16-inch alloys and foglights, while the LT Promotional package bundles foglights, a sunroof and Chevrolet's MyLink touchscreen audio system.

Moving up to the top-of-the-line LTZ gets you 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, chrome exterior trim, leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rearview camera and the Chevrolet MyLink system (optional on the LS and LT) that deletes the CD player and adds a 7-inch touchscreen interface and smartphone app integration.

The RS gets all of the LTZ equipment and comes standard with the turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, four-wheel disc brakes, a sport-tuned suspension, unique 17-inch wheels, sportier exterior trim, leather and simulated-suede upholstery and a sport steering wheel.

The sunroof is also optional for the LTZ and RS. These two trim levels are also available with the Advanced Safety package, which includes forward collision and lane departure warning systems.

2014 Highlights

For 2014, the Chevy Sonic gets a few meaningful additions, including a rearview camera and lane departure and forward collision warning systems. An RS version of the Sonic sedan debuts late in the model year.

Performance & mpg

The standard engine on most 2014 Chevy Sonic models is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 138 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission, which includes a hill holder feature, is standard, and a six-speed automatic is available as an option. EPA fuel economy estimates are 30 mpg combined (26 mpg city/35 mpg highway) with the manual and 28 mpg combined (25 mpg city/35 mpg highway) with the automatic. Both sets are below average for the subcompact segment.

A turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder is optional for the LT and LTZ. Though its 138-hp output is the same as the base engine, it feels more potent, thanks to its 148 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic transmission is optional.

In Edmunds performance testing, a Sonic LTZ hatchback with the turbo engine and manual transmission went from zero to 60 in 8.8 seconds, a quick time for a car in the segment. EPA fuel economy estimates are also better than those of the base engine at 33 mpg combined (29 mpg city/40 mpg highway) with the manual and 31 mpg combined (27 mpg city/37 mpg highway) with the automatic. However, during a yearlong Edmunds test of a Sonic with the turbo engine, we found it difficult to match those fuel economy estimates in real-world driving.

The Sonic RS comes standard with the turbocharged engine. It also has the same six-speed transmission choices as the LT and the LTZ, though the gearing is slightly different to provide quicker acceleration. As a result, though, fuel economy drops to 30 mpg combined (27 mpg city/34 mpg highway) with the manual and 28 mpg combined (25 mpg city/33 mpg highway) with the auto.

Safety

Every 2014 Chevrolet Sonic comes standard with traction/stability control and antilock brakes (front disc/rear drum on the LS, LT and LTZ trim levels and four-wheel discs on the RS models). There are also knee airbags for front seat occupants, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags.

A rearview camera is standard on LTZ and RS models and available as an option on the LT. The Advanced Safety package option, which includes forward collision warning (alerting the driver about impending head-on collisions) and lane departure warning systems, is also offered on all but the entry-level LS. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, an emergency button, stolen vehicle locator and active intervention, and remote door unlock.

Edmunds brake testing found a Sonic LTZ turbo came to a stop from 60 mph in 123 feet, an average distance for this segment. In government crash tests the Sonic received a perfect five stars for overall protection, with five stars for overall frontal protection and five stars for overall side protection. The Sonic received a top score of "Good" in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests.

Driving

On the road the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic feels more solid and refined than other subcompact sedans and hatchbacks. Similar to European cars like the VW Golf, it handles well around turns, yet it also rides well enough that long road trips are a viable proposition. Nicely weighted steering completes the package.

While both of the available engines offer decent performance, the turbocharged 1.4-liter feels more lively and provides useful power for merging and passing maneuvers. The fact that it also delivers better fuel economy makes it even easier to justify the extra up-front expense. The only downside is the engine's somewhat sluggish throttle response, which can make it difficult to accelerate smoothly from a stop in heavy traffic. In addition, efficiency-oriented gearing often necessitates frequent shifting in manual transmission models because there isn't much power for passing in 5th and 6th gears.

This shouldn't be a problem in the sporty RS model, as its transmissions are geared to provide quicker responses. The more firmly tuned suspension on the RS also sharpens up the car's handling through turns, while the ride quality remains compliant.

Interior

The interior of the 2014 Chevy Sonic is attractive enough, though extensive use of hard plastics takes away from the overall effect. It earns extra points in the comfort category, however, as even tall drivers will be able to find a workable driving position. Smaller adults will find the rear seats just as accommodating, with decent amounts of head- and legroom.

Gauges and controls are well laid out and easy to operate. Among the Sonic's more intriguing features is the available MyLink system, which replaces the traditional stereo head unit with a customizable 7-inch touchscreen interface and voice controls that are designed to integrate with the driver's smartphone via Bluetooth. This arrangement makes it possible to use radio apps such as Pandora and Stitcher, as well as add navigation capabilities via an inexpensive app known as BringGo. Still, like a lot of similar systems, it's not compatible with all smartphones, and the screen sometimes fails to register touch inputs, which can be frustrating.

When it comes to good old-fashioned cargo capacity, the sedan's 14-cubic-foot trunk is among the largest in the segment and can be expanded further by way of the standard 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks. The Sonic hatchback offers 19 cubic feet with the rear seats up, but just 30.9 cubic feet with them folded down -- that's significantly less capacity than you get in the Honda Fit and Hyundai Accent.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Limited Drive Time But Very Impressed
ihanson,09/04/2014
LT 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
I purchased a '14 LT Turbo Hatch 6-spd manual (option not shown) 7" MyLink, fog lights, 16" upgraded rims and rearview camera with the upgraded red crystal color for $16.4k before taxes. While waiting for that vehicle to be delivered, I drove an LT sedan with the 1.8 auto and was impressed. I'm getting 40.4MPG according to the computer on my 46 mile round trip commute in warm temps. I even got to test out the airbags when a woman made an illegal turn in front of me and I hit her going 35 mph. Car performed great in the crash and the headlights were still even intact. I think it's going to be a safe car - very strong steel frame. I'm glad it was just a loaner! UPDATE - 3/16/2017 So I've owned the vehicle for almost three years now, I think I have like 40,000 miles on it. No issues so far. My wife bought a LEAF, so we use that as our primary car now, but mine still gets snow duty (I bought winter tires) and road trips. UPDATE - 4/2/2019 Vehicle is still going strong, have since put on a trailer hitch receiver for a bike rack, tinted the windows slightly, and had some body panel repairs done after I scraped on a wall near a driveway. After repairing those scratches, I feel like it's like a brand new car again. The manual transmission continues to function well, no engine issues, just replacing the oil, wipers, tires, etc. Still getting 38-40MPG average life time. My plan is to keep it for another five years as it is quite pleasant to drive in. I do about 9,000 miles each year - I could see keeping this car around for road trips if I get a second EV for around town. I plan on putting on a roof rack and roof box for summer road trips as well. UPDATE - 9/17/2020 Still have the vehicle and drive it as needed (much less in the pandemic). I keep telling myself that I will get a new car, specifically an electric one, but to be honest my paid for Sonic does everything I need still and is so economical. I have one child now, and the back seat works just fine for a child seat. Will replace the tires soon (still on the original set after 6 years, although 1/3 of the 70k miles were on separate winter tires). My mother drove it for one minute and managed to mess up the manual transmission so it now makes a noise going into third. Last time I let her near a manual car - she had not driven one since the 70's and thought she was up for it. That aside, it's been great and just will not go away or have issues. Still enjoying it!
1.4 turbo LT auto sedan; a good buy, a few niggles
shorebreeze,12/11/2014
This review is for the 1.4 turbo LT sedan, which isn't offered as an option by Edmunds so I have flagged this in the title. Fun to drive; generally excellent design, one of the few really good touchscreen entertainment systems, excellent on safety, peppy if you get the turbo, a lot of space for the money, larger (but fortunately for parking no longer) than a standard subcompact and the sedan is actually well into the EPA compact category by volume, unusually quiet and smooth for the class. But a number of niggles; front seat comfort issues, awkward stock tuning of engine and transmission, unrefined rear suspension, and appalling stock tires except on the Dusk Edition.
Has proven to be very reliable.
kayemtee,04/07/2014
LTZ 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
I’ve been asked to update my review, so here it is. After six years and 95,000 miles, I am still a fan. I’ve replaced the front brakes once, the spark plugs and coil (a shop far from home might have broken the coil by accident changing the boots over the plugs when brought there due to very rough running), and had to have the dealer diagnose and repair the airbag light coming on intermittently. They cleaned oxidation off of some of the wiring and no problem since. It still has the original battery and started instantly on a freezing morning after sitting for five weeks. I have a set of four Blizzak snow tires mounted on 15 inch steel wheels and it makes the car perfect for winter use in snow country, where we live now, especially with the manual transmission. Chevy has dropped the manual version, which is a shame. It makes the car fun to drive and the clutch is still original. The sixth gear is very economical (2000 rpm at 67 mph) but you need to downshift to fourth to climb grades on the Interstate. The big trunk in the sedan version still impressed me. Below are previous reviews my me over the last six years. I’m still impressed after 4 years and almost 60k miles. Sorry to hear that GM is dropping it after 2018. Peppy with turbo, great gas mileage, still on original brakes, fun to drive, and plenty of room people and stuff for a subcompact. Below are earlier comments. It has now been three and one half years and almost 50,000 miles. The previous comments continue to be accurate. Reliable, economical, and still fun to drive. No repairs other than the oil leak which was covered under warranty. Brakes still original. Nothing but oil changes and replacing two tires because one was damaged. I’m not sure why it’s not more popular; it’s a very good small car. I love being able to squeeze into small NYC parking spots; the hatchback is more than a foot shorter but the trunk on the sedan is so large and useful. Perfectly comfortable for 2-3 hour highway trips but I have not taken longer ones in the Chevy only because I have a 23 year old S Class Mercedes that is better suited for long distance high speed road trips. But if I didn’t have it, I’m sure the Chevy would be fine. I think a clean used Sonic would be an excellent choice for a teen’s first car; the price of a used one is lower than a comparable Honda. I've owned an. LTZ sedan with the 1.4 turbo and a six-speed manual transmission for two years and more than 30,000 miles. I'm still very impressed. Quite peppy in city driving. We just took a highway ride and ran at speeds up to 80 mph and averaged 39 mpg. Amazing! Very solid ride and quiet with little wind noise. Amazing amount of legroom and headroom for driver and front seat passenger. I'm six-two and had to move the seat up and had tons of headroom. I liked the look of the hatchback better but lower price and huge trunk made me pick ther sedan. We paid less than 18K; I can't think of any car out there to offer this value. Update after two years: we still like the car very much. It has been flawless with one exception; my independent mechanic noticed a very slight leak in the main rear engine seal. It didn't leak enough to have to add any oil. I brought it to the dealer who replaced the seal under warranty but I haven't had it on a lift to see if the problem is solved. For the money paid, it's still a fine value although the trade in value is low compared with other subcompacts.
LT Hatchback (1.8L auto): All-around Solid
Mr. Geb,10/18/2015
LT 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6A)
Value is always going to be determined by the price you can get any given car at, but this is a solid vehicle I'm happy to have ended up in. I bought used, one year old with low mileage. ----- Pro reviews overstate the Sonic's cons. Notably, it has lower fuel economy than other subcompacts but it's also the heaviest subcompact out there at a sturdy 2700+ pounds curb weight. It's still lighter and more fuel efficient than any compact, so it fits right where it belongs. For me, it was the right balance of fuel economy and "doesn't blow off the road from a stiff gust of wind" peace of mind. ----- The cargo space is a bit horizontally-challenged but enough to hold a regular 6-8 sack load of groceries for one or a couple. There's a surplus of vertical space for tall/stacking objects, if you remove the cargo cover, and the back seats flatten for more room. Acceleration is fine at lower speeds, at higher speeds it's a bit sluggish but not really a big deal. Interior is adequate for an economy vehicle without feeling too cheap: Comfortable cloth seating; lots of hard plastics but really thick and sturdy; the so-called "egg carton" economy headliner has a soft dimpled cloth surface, and perhaps a layer of foam beneath it, that masks any cheap feeling to it. ----- There's but a few other minor gripes I have which are mostly just not in line with my preference, or non-issues that take some getting used to, as would be the case when starting to drive any new vehicle. The only legitimate complaints for me are the low-beam headlights feel angled a bit too low, might be an issue if you're navigating unknown territory, and the rear view is fairly narrow which is just a product of the small vehicle size and hatchback. Power-folding side mirrors would be nice, though. The "passenger" door lock is situated on the driver's side of the center console, making it a pain to access when simply reaching in from the passenger side to grab something before re-exiting the vehicle. ----- No major problems, though. The stock tires are supposedly horrible in snow too, so budgeting to replace them might be a good idea up north. (I wasn't about to personally put them to the test.) It accelerates smoothly, handling is responsive, seating is comfortable and decently spacious, general interior construction feels solid. The instrument cluster is compact and all digital, save the analog tachyometer (RPMs), but gives you all necessary information and then some. Safety ratings are top-notch. ----- After driving it for the past three years at this point, and putting roughly another 25k miles on it, the only repairs I've needed was body damage from a minor accident. Everything has held up well so far with regular maintenance.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover12.6%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic

Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic Overview

The Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is offered in the following submodels: Sonic Hatchback, Sonic Sedan. Available styles include LT 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A), LT 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6A), LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A), LS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6A), RS 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), LTZ 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A), LT 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M), LTZ 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6A), RS 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), LT 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), RS 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), LS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M), LTZ 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M), LTZ 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), and RS 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic?

Price comparisons for Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic trim styles:

  • The Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LT is priced between $4,750 and$9,399 with odometer readings between 48231 and154004 miles.
  • The Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LS is priced between $6,980 and$6,980 with odometer readings between 127412 and127412 miles.

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 2014 Chevrolet Sonics are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2014 Chevrolet Sonic for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2014 Sonics listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $4,750 and mileage as low as 48231 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic.

Can't find a used 2014 Chevrolet Sonics you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Sonic for sale - 8 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $10,814.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 2 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $17,136.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Sonic for sale - 9 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $23,900.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 8 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $8,693.

Should I lease or buy a 2014 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.

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