2014 Chevy Sonic Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- 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.
Most helpful consumer reviews
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!
LT 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A)
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.
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 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.