2017 Chevrolet Sonic Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Optional turbocharged engine is powerful and gets respectable fuel economy
  • Cabin is relatively spacious for this class
  • Generous number of standard and available features
  • Excellent crash test safety scores
  • Base engine's lackluster fuel economy
  • Cabin materials look and feel low-rent
Other years
List Price Range
$6,995 - $11,995

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

With the exception of many high-end sports cars, it is fairly unusual for an automaker to let one of its cars go mostly unchanged for five full model years. It's typical to see some sort of refresh at least once during that span of time to reinvigorate interest in the vehicle, or at least give people coming off their leases something new to jump into. So far, the Chevrolet Sonic has received only mild updates since it debuted in 2012. That changes for 2017, however.

Though it's still the same car underneath, the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic gets a proverbial fresh coat of paint. Most notable is the Sonic's revised styling; it now looks more like a small-scale version of the Malibu and SS sedans. Inside there's a mildly redesigned center stack, and the gauge cluster has a more traditional layout than before. Several features that were optional on last year's Sonic are now standard equipment, too, including the 7-inch central touchscreen, Bluetooth, a USB port, a rearview camera and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality. The price increases a bit to go along with all the extra stuff, but we think the additional tech is worth it.

Pleasingly, the Sonic's more inherent qualities are still intact, including a relatively spacious interior, top-notch crash safety scores and a strong turbocharged engine (available on the Sonic LT and standard on the Premier) that gives this little car some unexpected pep. That said, there's no shortage of worthy competitors in the subcompact segment. With two body styles and three engines to choose from (including the sporty ST's 197-horsepower motor), the Ford Fiesta is certainly one of the most diverse and fun to drive. If it's versatility you're after, the Honda Fit hatchback has a unique design for its folding rear seat and more maximum cargo capacity. Other options might include the roomy Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent siblings; they are less expensive, but their base trim levels are lighter on features compared to the Sonic LS.

Certainly, you've got some solid choices here. But even in this esteemed company, the revitalized 2017 Sonic is an easy recommendation.

Every 2017 Chevrolet Sonic comes standard with traction and stability control along with antilock brakes (front discs/rear drums) and a rearview camera. There are knee airbags for front seat occupants, side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle assistance and remote door unlocking.

Optional on the LT and Premier is the Driver Confidence package, which includes forward collision warning (alerting the driver to an imminent impact) and lane departure warning.

In government crash tests, the Sonic sedan received a perfect five-star rating 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 and small-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. The Sonic's seat and head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

2017 Chevrolet Sonic models

The 2017 Chevrolet Sonic is available in sedan and four-door hatchback body styles. Both can seat five passengers. Three trim levels are available: LS (sedan only), LT and Premier.

The base LS sedan offers 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, manual mirrors, power locks, remote locking/unlocking, a rearview camera, manual windows, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a driver information screen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 7-inch touchscreen interface, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, OnStar telematics (includes 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot-spot capability) and a four-speaker sound system with a USB port and an auxiliary audio jack.

The LT includes all of the above, plus alloy wheels, chrome exterior accents, heated power mirrors, upgraded cloth upholstery, cruise control, power windows, front and rear floor mats, remote ignition (automatic transmission only), a six-speaker sound system, satellite radio and a second USB port. The turbocharged 1.4-liter engine is standard on models with the manual transmission and optional with the automatic.

You can get an optional Convenience package for the LT that adds keyless entry and ignition, a leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, a six-way power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats and an upgraded driver information center.

Moving up to the Premier gets you the turbocharged engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, the contents of the Convenience package and leatherette (premium vinyl) upholstery. 

The RS package is available on LT and Premier models (it is standard on the Premier with the manual transmission). For LT models, it includes 16-inch alloy wheels, a sport body kit, a rear spoiler, foglights, glossy black interior accents, a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel and upgraded floor mats. The Premier version or the RS doesn't have the heated steering wheel but adds black-painted 17-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension and simulated suede seat inserts.

A sunroof is optional for the LT and Premier, as is a Driver Confidence package that adds lane departure warning, forward collision alert and rear parking sensors.

The hatchback is equipped very similarly to its sedan counterpart. The most notable difference is that the features included in the sedan's RS package are standard here.

The standard engine on 2017 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.

Optional on the LT and standard on the Premier is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder. 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, and a six-speed automatic is optional.

Although EPA-estimated fuel economy was not available at the time of publication, we don't expect the numbers to change much from last year. The EPA rated the 2016 Sonic with the 1.8-liter engine and manual transmission at 30 mpg combined (26 mpg city/35 mpg highway), while the automatic rang in at 28 mpg combined (24 city /35 highway). The turbocharged 1.4-liter fared slightly better, with 33 mpg combined (29 city/40 highway) for the manual and 31 mpg combined (27 city/37 highway) with the automatic.

In Edmunds performance testing, a turbocharged Sonic hatchback with the manual transmission accelerated from zero to 60 in 8.4 seconds, quick for this segment.

Driving

On the road, the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic feels more solid and refined than other subcompact sedans and hatchbacks. Similar to the Volkswagen Golf, 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. Unfortunately, that isn't true for the Premier trim level equipped with the RS package. While the sport-tuned suspension and bigger wheels sharpen up the car's handling through turns, it comes at the expense of ride quality. Take it over any pavement rougher than glass and you might momentarily think you're riding on a wooden roller coaster.

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 fifth and sixth gears.

Interior

The interior of the Sonic is attractive enough, but its low price is justified in part by the use of hard plastics throughout. 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. Standard on all trims is a 7-inch touchscreen with the newest version of Chevy's superb MyLink interface, which also includes smartphone integration via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. MyLink's menus are intuitive enough that it doesn't take long for a first-time user to master its functions and controls. Our only gripe is that it sometimes takes a few beats for inputs to be recognized.

The sedan's 14.9-cubic-foot trunk is among the largest in the segment and can be expanded further with the standard 60/40-folding rear seatbacks. The Sonic hatchback offers 19 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 47.7 cubic feet with them folded down. That's very good, but bested slightly by the Honda Fit (52.7 cubic feet) and the Kia Rio (49.8 cubic feet).


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

A Amazing Sporty Battle Tank With That Luxury Feel
Christopher Vizcarra,04/20/2017
LT 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6A)
I bought the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic LT (Auto) RS Hatchback and added the Convenience & Drivers Confidence Packages to match the goodies of the Premier Trim. There is a reason why I chose the trim I chose; the Hatchback only comes in 2 trims, the LT & Premier, there is a slight difference between the two trims. The LT has an amazingly quiet cabin equal to the highest trim of a $70k+ luxury vehicle, while the Premier has a more lowered suspension and as a result the Premier's cabin is not as quiet. The automatic can also be driven in manual mode without the annoying clutch pedal! The Performance is amazingly sporty for both engines as they both easily pounces from a stop. When applying the breaks it also comes to a smooth stop and when applied quickly It's very fast too! If you want a car that is amazingly quiet and caters to the highest safety standard's, quality and convenience of a luxury car and at the same time not only looks sporty but actually is sporty with the attitude to show inside and out, this is a car worth test driving with the optional packages I have chosen. I call it my mini Lambo because it sits and pampers you like one yet its silent but deadly. It takes Unleaded gas and I get 30-35 MPG with mixed driving, now If you drive it sporty and have fun you will get about 24- 28 mpg which is still amazing. There is a reason this car has muscled It's way into the sports car scene and has been officially recognized. It is the only car so far to get a 5 star rating, the highest across all ratings for the Institute of Highway Safety Standards for such a small car. Everything in the car from the smallest button to the engine, inside and out is amazingly built and solid. You can tell that Chevrolet takes pride in every part of the car even to the smallest stitch. Take a test drive with the optional packages I have chosen and you will see that Chevrolet has built this amazingly rare gem to prove you don't have to spend a fortune to be pampered. I sure hope that this particular model will continue for years to come. There are many mixed reviews about this car in particular often nit-picking at it It is best to go and test drive it.
great value
No name given,03/03/2017
LT 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6A)
Bought it and have not regretted it. It is an inexpensive car, but has great technology and drives well for a small car. I also think it is a good looking car.
Great Surprise
sogo,11/05/2019
Premier 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
The Sonic hatch back has more passenger & cargo room than the new 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback. The Sonic LT/RS comes with power drivers seat and heated seats and remote start. You have to go to the Corollas XSE model to get these features. The Sonic comes with a sunroof not available in the Toyota. The Sonic has a turbo charged cast iron engine with a 6 speed automatic. The corolla does not offer a turbo and has a cvt transmission that has been recalled. The sonics 7 inch screen is built in where the corollas looks slapped on. The sonic electric steering is better than the Toyotas... The ride is also surprisingly better than the corollas. Visibility is better in the chevy Sonic. The sonic cost less than the Toyota and is built in America. The sonic has a larger back window and can hold more upright luggage. The Sonic is quieter inside the a Mercedes S class. The one issue I have is the sonic lacks a temp gauge. Why?
Blue Fire
C. D. Willoughby,01/15/2018
LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
The car I bought was a Chevy Sonic (four door Kinetic Blue Sedan) and it's so cool looking. I've gotten compliments on it already. It drives well and I love the bluetooth features. Plus it's great on gas.

Features & Specs

MPG
24 city / 34 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed automatic
Gas
138 hp @ 6300 rpm
MPG
24 city / 34 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed automatic
Gas
138 hp @ 6300 rpm
MPG
25 city / 33 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed manual
Gas
138 hp @ 6300 rpm
MPG
28 city / 38 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
138 hp @ 4900 rpm
See all Used 2017 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 2017 Chevrolet Sonic

Used 2017 Chevrolet Sonic Overview

The Used 2017 Chevrolet Sonic is offered in the following submodels: Sonic Hatchback, Sonic Sedan. Available styles include LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A), LT 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A), LT 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6A), Premier 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), LT 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M), LT 4dr Sedan (1.4L Turbo 4cyl 6M), Premier 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Premier 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Premier 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and LT Fleet 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2017 Chevrolet Sonic?

Price comparisons for Used 2017 Chevrolet Sonic trim styles:

  • The Used 2017 Chevrolet Sonic LT is priced between $8,900 and$10,200 with odometer readings between 50450 and63522 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Chevrolet Sonic Premier is priced between $7,000 and$11,995 with odometer readings between 37400 and74225 miles.
  • The Used 2017 Chevrolet Sonic LS is priced between $6,995 and$7,800 with odometer readings between 24490 and80261 miles.

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Which used 2017 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) 2017 Chevrolet Sonic for sale near. There are currently 8 used and CPO 2017 Sonics listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $6,995 and mileage as low as 24490 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 2017 Chevrolet Sonic.

Can't find a used 2017 Chevrolet Sonics you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Sonic for sale - 11 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $12,906.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 5 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $9,884.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Sonic for sale - 3 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $24,916.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 10 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $17,364.

Should I lease or buy a 2017 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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