2017 Chevrolet Sonic Review
Edmunds' Expert Review
- 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
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.
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).