2015 Chevy Sonic Review
2015 Chevy Sonic Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Powerful optional turbocharged engine
- comfortable and spacious cabin
- generous amount of features
- fun to drive.
- Base engine's lackluster fuel economy
- budget cabin materials
- hatchback's mediocre cargo capacity.
For 2015, all Chevrolet Sonic LTZ models come standard with the turbocharged engine, and 4G WiFi hotspot capability is standard across the lineup.
The 2015 Chevrolet Sonic is one of our top picks for a subcompact sedan or hatchback thanks to its blend of safety, comfort and feature availability.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2015 Chevrolet Sonic LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.11 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$129/mo for Sonic LS
Avg. Compact Car
When considering the 2015 Chevrolet Sonic for your driveway, a bit of amnesia will help. Specifically, you'll want to forget the many subpar small cars (we're looking at you, Aveo) that have worn Chevy's bowtie logo over the years. The good news is that the 2015 Sonic makes your job easy. Score one for the home team, because this endearing American-built subcompact is fully competitive against the imports that have traditionally dominated the segment.
Offered as a sedan or four-door hatchback, the Sonic feels more refined and substantial than its size would suggest. Its well-tuned suspension provides both steady handling and respectable ride comfort, giving the Sonic the character of a miniature Volkswagen Golf. The standard four-cylinder engine will neither impress you at the pump nor win you many drag races, but the optional turbocharged four-cylinder ratchets up this runabout's performance potential. The turbo-4 also claims an impressive combined EPA rating of 33 mpg with the manual transmission, although we've found it difficult to achieve that number in real-world driving.
Inside, the Sonic has impressed us with its sensible, user-friendly control layout and standard 4G WiFi hotspot capability. The Sonic offers alluring options, too, including an up-to-date touchscreen interface, a rearview camera and advanced safety features like forward collision alert and lane-departure warning. On the flipside, interior materials quality is subpar, and the hatchback model suffers a cargo capacity deficit compared to its competitors. You take the bad with the good in this class, and in the Sonic's case, there's certainly more of the latter than the former.
The 2015 Chevy Sonic isn't the only subcompact worth considering, of course. We drove the sporty Sonic RS model and liked it enough to give it a "B" rating, but we also like the 2015 Ford Fiesta for its refined road manners and impressive fuel economy across the board. The 2015 Hyundai Accent and related 2015 Kia Rio are noteworthy alternatives on account of their spunky style and strong value. The Honda Fit hatchback, redesigned for 2015, is another strong candidate due to its unmatched passenger and cargo flexibility. Even in this talented group, though, the 2015 Chevy Sonic stands out for its impressive combination of performance, safety and value.
Performance & mpg
The standard engine on 2015 Chevy Sonic LS and LT models is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 138 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission with a hill-hold feature is standard, and a six-speed automatic is available as an option. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 30 mpg combined (26 city/35 highway) with the manual transmission and 28 mpg combined (25 city/35 highway) with the automatic -- below-average results for the subcompact segment.
A turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder is standard on the LTZ and RS (and optional for the LT). Although its 138-hp output mirrors 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. Fuel economy in the LTZ and LT trim is rated at 33 mpg combined (29 city/40 highway) with the manual and 31 mpg combined (27 city/37 highway) with the automatic. The RS trim's sportier gearing results in lower estimates of 30 mpg combined (27/34) with the manual and 28 combined (25/33) with the automatic.
In Edmunds performance testing, a turbocharged Sonic LTZ hatchback with the manual accelerated from zero to 60 in 8.8 seconds, quick for this segment. During a yearlong Edmunds test of a turbocharged manual LTZ hatchback, however, we found it difficult to match the EPA's fuel economy estimates in real-world driving.
Every 2015 Chevrolet Sonic comes standard with traction and stability control along with antilock brakes (front disc/rear drum on the LS, LT and LTZ trim levels and four-wheel discs on the RS and Dusk-package models). There are knee airbags for front seat occupants, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle assistance and remote door unlocking.
A rearview camera is standard on LTZ and RS models and available as an option on the LT. The Advanced Safety package includes forward collision warning (alerting the driver to an imminent impact) and lane-departure warning; it's optional on all but the entry-level LS.
In Edmunds brake testing, a turbocharged Sonic LTZ stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, an average distance for this segment.
In government crash tests, the Sonic received a perfect five stars overall, including five stars for total frontal impact safety and five stars for total side impact safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Sonic its top score of "Good" in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests, though the Sonic was deemed "Marginal" (second-worst) in the small-overlap frontal-offset crash test. The Sonic's seat and head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.
On the road, the 2015 Chevrolet Sonic feels more solid and refined than other subcompact sedans and hatchbacks. Similar to European cars, the Sonic handles well around turns, with notably responsive steering, yet it also rides well enough that long road trips are not an endurance test.
Both engines offer decent performance, but the turbocharged 1.4-liter feels more lively and delivers useful power for merging and passing maneuvers. The only downside is the engine's somewhat sluggish responsiveness, which can make it difficult to accelerate smoothly from a stop in heavy traffic. In addition, efficiency-oriented gearing necessitates frequent shifting in manual-transmission models, because there isn't much power for passing in 5th and 6th gears. That's less of a problem in the sporty RS model, as its transmission is geared to provide quicker responses. The firmly tuned RS suspension also sharpens up the car's handling through turns, yet the ride remains compliant.
The interior of the 2015 Chevy Sonic is attractive enough, but the extensive use of hard plastics confirms the car's economy focus. It earns extra points for comfort, however, as even tall drivers can find a driving position that works. Smaller adults should find the rear seats similarly accommodating by segment standards, with decent amounts of head- and legroom.
The Sonic's gauges and controls are well laid out and easy to operate. Among the more intriguing features is the available MyLink touchscreen interface with voice controls (including Siri Eyes Free for iPhone users) and smartphone integration. MyLink allows you to enjoy Internet radio apps such as Pandora, and you can also add navigation capabilities via the inexpensive "BringGo" app. However, the screen sometimes frustrates with its failure to register touch inputs.
The sedan's 14-cubic-foot trunk is among the largest in the segment and can be expanded further with 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 folded down -- significantly less capacity than the Honda Fit or even the Hyundai Accent.
2015 Chevrolet Sonic models
The 2015 Chevrolet Sonic is available in sedan and four-door hatchback body styles. Both can seat five passengers. Four trim levels are available: LS, LT, LTZ and RS.
LS models offer 15-inch wheels, automatic headlights, manual mirrors with integrated blind-spot coverage, power locks, remote keyless entry, manual windows, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone connectivity, OnStar telematics (with 4G LTE WiFi) and a four-speaker sound system with an auxiliary input jack.
The LT adds 15-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior accents, heated power mirrors, upgraded cloth upholstery, cruise control, power windows, remote ignition (automatic transmission only) and a six-speaker sound system that includes satellite radio.
Moving up to the LTZ gets you the turbocharged engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, simulated leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rearview camera and the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system (optional on the LT) with a 7-inch touchscreen interface, smartphone app integration, Bluetooth audio connectivity and a USB/iPod interface.
The RS adds four-wheel disc brakes, a sport body kit with a rear spoiler, a sport-tuned suspension, unique 17-inch wheels, sportier exterior trim, leather and simulated suede upholstery and a sport steering wheel.
A sunroof is optional for LT, LTZ and RS, as is an Advanced Safety package that adds lane-departure warning and forward collision alert. The LTZ sedan also offers a "Dusk" package that includes 18-inch wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, unique exterior styling and leather and simulated suede upholstery.
3.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
Really surprised at how nice it road
2015 Chevrolet Sonic LT 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
Since owning the sonic I have had many people comment on how nice it rides. Even had one person say they want to get one. Very nice quiet smooth ride for its size. I bought this in 2016 but it was a 2015 sitting on the lot with a manual transmission, so I was able to get a terrific deal. 13k out the door for an LT sedan. Huge trunk which is important for me because my wife and I do … a lot of road trip vacations. Back seat space is pretty small with front seats all the way back, but not a big concern for us cause the kids are grown and gone. I am 6'1" and the seat still has plenty of room to go back. I was also considering the fiesta sedan and this car won out due to the better safety scores AND it was made in AMERICA. Only complaint I have is I wish the mylink system allowed you to mirror google navigation onto the screen. You have to down load their app for navigation and it is a subpar app. Oh well, just use the phone to navigate. Terrific little car for the money.
2 out of 5 stars
Engine failure, car broke down 4 times in month
2015 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M)
I bought a 2015 Sonic LTZ, certified pre-owned with 14,000 miles, under manufacture warranty. I traded in a 2006 Jeep liberty, purchased for my 19 year daughter in college. The car ran fine action you can take.er.Then all the lights were on the dashboard so she brought it back a week later to the dealer. The engine had many problems,they replaced everything on the engine they could, was … in the dealer for 2 weeks.One week later back in again with engine problems. Now back in again with over heating problems light on the dashboard. This car is under warranty so they have to fix it at no cost to us but, GM told me they can only help by fixing it won't have anything to do with trading it in or providing a swap out. I told them this car was built wrong why does a consumer have to suffer this,wanted to get rid of it. They will not help you if you have a lemon of a pre-owned. Some states do support certified pre-owned law suits,so research out further action to take. The dealer I bought it from washed their hands of the sale of this car as i shipped it from PA to Arizona. Don't bother to buy this car its a real piece of junk.
3 out of 5 stars
NOW SOME REGRETS
Mark Wyss, 03/18/2016
2015 Chevrolet Sonic RS 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Never thought I'd own a Chevy. I bough a 2015 Sonic after buying a 2013 Buick Encore. I was so impressed by the Encore (never thought I'd own a GM product) that I got the Sonic as a second car because its the same engine and drivetrain. It's a small car, got the RS version with 6-speed manual tranny. Fun to drive! It's a "sporty" car that is meant to hug the road and it does, so the … downside to that is you feel every pothole and bump. But you have to expect that with a sport suspension and a car that is low to the ground. I'm 6'1" and I have no difficulty getting in and out or finding a comfortable driving position. Love the heated leather seats and moonroof. Instrumentation is laid out perfectly, and the My Link info-tainment system is great. Have had the car for a year and had no issues. Mostly used as a city car and get overall combine city mileage of 29 mpg. The RS is a fun trim model and I enjoy it, even if I'm not the intended buyer (I'm 55 years old). On a good stretch of road the car is quiet and smooth and hearing while using Bluetooth for your cell phone is never an issue. Very nice build quality. If you're looking for a fun, sporty hatchback, I recommend the Sonic. And despite Edmund's thinking there isn't much room, with the back seats folded down, you'd be surprised how much cargo you can carry! Two years in, still no complaints. Still enjoying the car & the look and still no rattles despite driving on poorly maintained Wisconsin roads. Three years in and build quality still holding up. Fun can to drive with the 6-speed manual transmission. Lots of pep. I still think it's a good value for the $$ UPDATE: So, there have been some changes to my opinion three years in. Inside coating beginning to peel off of passenger door. Info-tainment system abruptly blacks out for no apparent reason. Had to replace a radiator hose for $330 at 35,000 miles. Had to replace the heating/cooling fan motor at 35,000. Seems was too soon to be having to replace those kinds of parts. Overall, I have soured a bit on Chevy. Don't think I would buy another one.
4 out of 5 stars
Better than expected.
2015 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Pros: spacious yet compact, good mpg (especially for where I live), responsive and nimble, 1.4 turbo, value for dollar. The cons to the vehicle include: Harder than usual plastics (they do fit well and look nice). No full armrest (seriously, Chevy? Not even on the LTZ model?) Hushed, but still louder than preferred road noise. No padding where your elbows rest (again, Chevy, seriously? … The car was $23,000 new...you can pad the door panel where elbows rest!!!) Base engine: awful! Sounds like a lawnmower. Buy the 1.4 Turbo! It beats the 1.8 engine in every way. Overall, if you want something easy to park, that is fun to drive, delivers excellent MPG, and has lots of room for the size, you won't be disappointed with the Sonic! **Update 2017: I'm still quite happy with the car. MPG is holding at 27.9 combined since purchase. Replaced junk OEM tires with premium Continental's which quieted the car down significantly.* **Update 2018**. The car is still running well but I have some unresolved issues. A squealing serpentine belt & pulley assembly that was replaced under warranty and is still squealing (taking it to Chevy once again). Rattling rear window shelf replaced under warranty - still rattling. Plastic surrounds around the door locks pop up, cigarette outlet pulls right out of the housing. Not exactly confidence inspiring for future reliability.
2015 Sonic Highlights
|Combined MPG||30 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$129/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- 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%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestGood
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood