2018 Chevrolet Sonic Review

Type:

Pros & Cons

  • Optional turbocharged engine makes good power and fuel economy
  • Spacious cabin for the class
  • Standard infotainment system supports full smartphone integration
  • Excellent crash test scores
  • Base engine offers lackluster fuel economy
  • Cabin materials look and feel low-rent
Other years
List Price Range
$12,998 - $14,999

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Which Sonic does Edmunds recommend?

The LT sedan with a manual transmission is actually the best bargain of the bunch — it's the least expensive version of the LT and it comes standard with the turbocharged engine. That's an optional extra on any other Sonic LT trim. Opt for the Convenience package for greater day-to-day livability. But for an automatic-equipped Sonic, consider moving up to the Premier. Adding the turbo 1.4-liter to any other LT trim brings the price within spitting distance of the Premier, and the Premier comes with the Convenience package.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

Last year's update helped keep the aging Sonic competitive, adding technology and optional active safety features to an already fun-to-drive small car. It has some flaws, but most subcompacts are compromised in one way or another.

The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic sets itself apart from most subcompacts with its standard infotainment system. For most subcompacts, you'd pay extra for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. On the Sonic, it's standard. And with standard OnStar, even the lowest trim of the Sonic can have an onboard 4G LTE data connection and a Wi-Fi hotspot. As a bonus, the Sonic is a fun little car to drive, and it comes with a spacious interior and plenty of cargo room.

Of course, the lowest-cost Sonic does give up quite a few other conveniences, such as power windows and mirrors. Getting your hands on the eminently practical hatchback also requires stepping up to the midlevel trim. And the base engine is not only a bit anemic, but it also returns subpar fuel economy when compared to the rest of the class.

Additionally, the cabin can get noisy, and opting for the suspension that adds the most to the Sonic's driving experience makes the ride borderline harsh. There's also a lot of hard plastic on display in the cabin, even in the Sonic's top trim, and some competitors offer more in the way of active safety features and driver aids.

There are some solid alternatives in the segment, depending on your needs. The Honda Fit is a monster of practicality thanks to its large cargo area and versatile folding seats, but its handling does feel a bit floaty and it's pricey for the class. There's also the all-new Kia Rio, which is easy to recommend thanks to its upscale interior and sporty driving dynamics. Still, if you're willing to pay a little more than the base price, you can get a well-equipped and relatively spacious Chevy Sonic with both good fuel economy and performance.

2018 Chevrolet Sonic models

The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic's trim levels actually have a few surprises, though on the surface they seem straightforward enough. There are three trim levels: the LS, LT and Premier.The Sonic is also available in sedan and hatchback body styles. Chevy offers two engine choices along with a plethora of options.

The two powerplants for the Sonic are a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (138 horsepower, 125 pound-feet of torque) and a turbocharged 1.4-liter four cylinder (138 hp, 148 lb-ft of torque), which offers dramatically improved fuel economy. The 1.8-liter engine comes with either a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic, while the 1.4-liter receives either a six-speed manual or the six-speed automatic

The base Sonic LS sedan is, in many ways, a bare-bones commuter, although it doesn't skimp when it comes to infotainment. Standard equipment includes 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, LED daytime running lights, manual side mirrors and manual windows, a rearview camera and remote locking and unlocking. Inside, you'll find a four-way manually adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a 60/40-split folding rear bench.

Infotainment duties are handled by a 7-inch touchscreen running Chevy's MyLink system. This includes Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, two USB ports and a four-speaker sound system. GM's OnStar is also included, which adds a 4G LTE data connection and a Wi-Fi hotspot.

The base LS trim is only available with the sedan bodystyle and the 1.8-liter engine. It does not have access to any major options packages.

Moving up to the LT sedan adds 15-inch alloy wheels, power windows, heated power mirrors, upgraded cloth upholstery, a six-speaker stereo system and satellite radio. Oddly, the cheaper LT manual sedan comes standard with the 1.4-liter engine and the six-speed manual, while the automatic comes with the 1.8-liter engine and its six-speed automatic. The 1.4-liter engine is available as a stand-alone option, or with some upgrade packages, for the LT automatic sedan.

Quite a few packages are available for the LT sedan. The Convenience package adds heated front seats, a six-way power-adjustable driver seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel with heating, an upgraded trip computer with more functionality, and proximity entry with push-button start. The Driver Confidence package adds forward collision alert, lane departure warning and rear parking sensors.

The optional RS package adds sporty styling cues to the exterior and interior, and a leather-wrapped, flat-bottom steering wheel. The Fun and Sun package includes a sunroof, 17-inch alloy wheels and the 1.4-liter engine (with the LT automatic). This package can be had with or without the RS package. Opting for Sun and Fun with RS gets you the RS appearance package and a sport-tuned suspension.

The Sonic LT can also be had in the hatchback bodystyle. Both the automatic and manual LT hatchback come with the 1.8-liter engine and the RS package. Otherwise, similar upgrade packages are available.

The Sonic Premier sedan comes with 17-inch wheels, the 1.4-liter engine, simulated leather upholstery, proximity entry and push-button start, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver seat and a heated steering wheel (automatic transmission only). Opting for the manual transmission gets you the RS package as standard. The Driver Confidence package is available for the Premier sedan, and the sunroof is a stand-alone option. The Premier hatchback with either the automatic or manual transmission comes with the RS package.

Driving

The Sonic is a spirited little car with good steering and handling, especially with the RS package's suspension. Unfortunately, the manual gearbox is a bit clunky, and the 1.4-liter turbo, while an improvement over the base engine, lacks responsiveness at low rpm.

Comfort

The comfortable front seats are a highlight, with decent bolstering for spirited driving and a comfortable driver-seat armrest. Unfortunately, there's lots of tire noise over rough surfaces, and the sportier RS suspension delivers a ride that borders on harsh.

Interior

There's plenty of head- and legroom both up front and in the back, though elbow room is tight all around. The large door openings make it easy to get in and out. Unfortunately, cheap plastics abound and thick roof pillars reduce visibility.

Utility

The sedan's trunk is bigger than average for a subcompact, and the hatchback similarly offers a generous amount of cargo space with the rear seats folded down. Up front, there are many storage spaces for your small items.

Technology

The standard 7-inch touchscreen with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is a great feature for this class, and we like Chevy's MyLink system. Forward collision warning and lane departure warning are optional for the LT and Premier.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Fun Car
George,10/17/2018
Premier 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
LT with RS package is great. It's fun to drive, has good acceleration, handles well - very responsive. It's surprisingly quiet and comfortable, even on bumpy roads. Fuel economy is not great - 17mpg around town, 24mpg on non highway trips, 32mgp on highway trips averaging about 70mph.
Missy my sonic
Michele,12/13/2018
LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
Had Missy since April 2018 a comfortable ride the doors open wide which is good for me since I've had knee surgery gets into small parking place mileage is good have taken several trips and I like the steering wheel all in all I enjoy Missy
Buy a new Chevy
P. S. Fechuch,06/19/2018
LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M)
Yet another success at Chevy! Sonic and Spark and on and on...
Sharp little car!
Bert,04/17/2019
LT 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 6A)
Gas mileage was considerable less than what was expected. Poor in comparison to similar models, of other manufacturers. Nice sized trunk. Great vehicle for 2 or that college student. Not any room in the back if large adults are in the front.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2018 Chevrolet Sonic features & specs

Safety

Our experts like the Sonic models:

Forward Collision Alert
Detects potential obstacles and warns the driver to take action to avoid a collision.
Lane Departure Warning
Alerts the driver if the car drifts out of its lane without the turn signal engaged.
Rear Park Assist
Sounds an audible tone when reversing to alert the driver to obstacles behind the car that may not be visible.

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 2018 Chevrolet Sonic

Used 2018 Chevrolet Sonic Overview

The Used 2018 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), Premier 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), LT 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 5M), LS 4dr Sedan (1.8L 4cyl 5M), Premier 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), LT 4dr Sedan (1.4L Turbo 4cyl 6M), Premier 4dr Sedan (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6M), Premier 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and LT Fleet 4dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2018 Chevrolet Sonic?

Price comparisons for Used 2018 Chevrolet Sonic trim styles:

  • The Used 2018 Chevrolet Sonic LT is priced between $12,998 and$14,999 with odometer readings between 15146 and44152 miles.
  • The Used 2018 Chevrolet Sonic LS is priced between $11,170 and$12,556 with odometer readings between 16968 and21084 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2018 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) 2018 Chevrolet Sonic for sale near. There are currently 8 used and CPO 2018 Sonics listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $11,170 and mileage as low as 15146 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 2018 Chevrolet Sonic.

Can't find a used 2018 Chevrolet Sonics you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Chevrolet Sonic for sale - 11 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $17,520.

Find a used Chevrolet for sale - 6 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $7,995.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet Sonic for sale - 3 great deals out of 19 listings starting at $17,595.

Find a used certified pre-owned Chevrolet for sale - 3 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $17,396.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 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.

Check out Chevrolet lease specials
Check out Chevrolet Sonic lease specials