2015 Chevrolet Sonic Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • 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.
Other years
List Price Range
$6,000 - $12,672

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

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.

2015 Highlights

For 2015, all Chevrolet Sonic LTZ models come standard with the turbocharged engine, and 4G WiFi hotspot capability is standard across the lineup.

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.

Safety

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.

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2015 Chevrolet Sonic.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

NOW SOME REGRETS
Mark Wyss,03/18/2016
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.
Better than expected.
Theburgh,05/23/2016
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.
Low cost fun!
Ted T from Hollywood, MD,08/06/2016
LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
I bought this car out of necessity in October 2015 to replace my 2005 Ford Escape, which was in need of major repairs. My criteria was to find the least expensive Chevrolet I could by that was actually built in the United States. I have the base LS Sedan 5 speed, and my only factory option is a cargo net. Let me begin by saying I had no idea how much I would enjoy driving this car! It is by far my favorite of our family drivers, which include a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Latitude, and my daughter's 2011 Chevy Cruise. My Sonic Sedan sits family high, it has great sight lines, it is very easy to get into and out of, even for occasional front seat passengers well over 6' tall. The trunk is cavernous, and with both back seats folded down, you can carry a ridiculous amount of stuff in this car. The Sears are comfortable, and with four average size passengers, there is more than adequate room in the car. The real pleasure of this little car is in how nicely it drives. I have the base 1.8 liter engine, with a 5 speed. The transmission is very good, and goes easily and almost crisply into gear. The gear spacing (ratios) are perfect, with just the right amount of performance overlap from one gear to the next, and this car will go 75-80 mph all day, without you the driver feeling like you have been beat up in a small car. The suspension is interesting. The car has a nice compliant ride over any road surface, and the ride quality is surprisingly good. You'd be tempted think it was sprung too softly, and then you hit a curve, and you take that curve in complete control. Amazing for a car with a beam rear axle; but then again, I read that Chevrolet had the suspension team for the Corvette set the spring rates and shock damping for the rear suspension. My combined mpg is 34.5 mpg. All day long. If I reset the mpg display before a hwy trip I can get 40 mpg. That's the truth, and may be due to manual transmission. So, that's all the stuff I like. - - What I don't like is the quirky LED instrument panel. The only analog gage is the tach; everything else is digital. My biggest complaint with it is that there is no temperature display, which is a pain in the winter time. I'm not a fan of the instrument panel, and I think that Chevy has fixed that, and gone more analog in 2017. Also, the base "infotainment" system is pretty lame; front door and A pillar speakers only, nothing in back, and am-fm only. I have to use an aux cord with my iPhone. There is no USB port in the base car (LS). I use a 12 Vdc adapter to charge my phone in the car. The Bluetooth, however, does work great, and I use that feature all the time. The car is also a WiFi hot spot, which is pretty cool. I should also say that I have had absolutely ZERO problems with this car, from a maintenance or build quality perspective. I is very tight, and very quiet. -Surprisingly so. In summary, I like this car A LOT! I bought it as "BT" - basic transportation, but it has turned out to be way more than that. Finally, on a recent business trip, I had the chance to rent a 2014 Sonic LT sedan with 42,000 miles. That car had all the stuff I like about my car, but with power windows, an automatic transmission, and a decent factory sound system, and with 42K on the click it was still tight and quiet. These are great little cars, that live a lot bigger than they actually are.
Really surprised at how nice it road
emptynest,03/21/2016
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.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2015 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 2015 Chevrolet Sonic

Used 2015 Chevrolet Sonic Overview

The Used 2015 Chevrolet Sonic is offered in the following submodels: Sonic Hatchback, Sonic Sedan. Available styles include LT 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A), LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A), LT 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6A), LS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6A), LTZ 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), LT 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M), LT 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), RS 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), RS 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), LTZ 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), RS 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), LS 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M), RS 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), LTZ 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), and LTZ 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2015 Chevrolet Sonic?

Price comparisons for Used 2015 Chevrolet Sonic trim styles:

  • The Used 2015 Chevrolet Sonic LT is priced between $6,000 and$9,640 with odometer readings between 31885 and143533 miles.
  • The Used 2015 Chevrolet Sonic LS is priced between $6,000 and$12,672 with odometer readings between 44644 and88468 miles.

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Which used 2015 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) 2015 Chevrolet Sonic for sale near. There are currently 16 used and CPO 2015 Sonics listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,000 and mileage as low as 31885 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 2015 Chevrolet Sonic.

Can't find a used 2015 Chevrolet Sonics you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Sonic for sale - 8 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $7,910.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 12 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $12,229.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Sonic for sale - 1 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $18,288.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 1 great deals out of 7 listings starting at $13,105.

Should I lease or buy a 2015 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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