The 2014 Chevy Sonic is an American-made subcompact, but don’t let its size or birthplace fool you. Even though the Sonic is made in the US of A, beneath its sheetmetal hood lies the heart of a wannabe Euro tooler.
The Sonic shouldn’t be categorized as your average, run-of-the-mill, putt-putt, oh-hell-to-the-no subcompact! First of all, the Sonic has whip appeal: it will make you lower your Chanel specs for a better look. The beefy-looking car boasts an aerodynamic stance, a slight front overhang, a low grille flanked by quad round lamps on either side, a rising shoulder line, sharp creases — all features that give the Sonic a sporty, “Yeah, I can go wheel- to-wheel with the best of them” look.
True dat, the Sonic’s cabin does have hard plastics, but you’re not put off by it because the overall interior look is attractive. The vehicle’s do-dads are well placed and a cinch to fiddle with, and the easy Bluetooth system makes you hold onto your smartphone and not fling it on the floor. Don’t let the Sonic’s small size fool you, go ahead and stuff those Prada shopping bags in the trunk, because it has one of the largest in the segment: 14 cubes. If you need more room back there, the 60/40-split folding rear seatbacks will accommodate a few Vuitton shoppers, too.
The Sonic comes in two flavors, a sedan and four-door hatchback, and both can comfortably seat five. There are also three trim levels — LS, LT and LTZ — and the hatch adds a fourth sport-tuned model dubbed the RS. .And speaking of comfort, the seating has more than enough cush for your tush. So, if you’re constantly being mistaken for a Knicks player, no worries when getting behind the wheel of the Sonic, as talls and juicies will have more than enough room for their bods: the car’s leg, head, and width room are shockingly ample for a subcompact. Folks in the rear have no need to whine, as non-Lilliputians can fit without uttering one complaint!
The standard engine on most 2014 Chevy Sonic models is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 138 horsepower and 125 ft-lbs of torque. A turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder is optional for the LT and LTZ. Even though its 138 horses is the same as the base engine, it has more off-the-line oomph because of its 148 ft-lbs of torque.
Getting behind the wheel of a Sonic (test vehicle was the LT) is a titillating experience. The peppy ride offers a Euro-like feel: precise steering, lively acceleration, good road feel, agility, responsive braking. The Sonic takes those steep corners and holds on for dear life, barely subjecting its passengers to that annoying snapback.
Small and safe is a pairing that rings true in the Sonic which received a perfect score for overall protection in government crash tests. The car comes standard with traction/stability control and antilock brakes. Airbags for the knees, as well as nine others all about the Sonic’s cabin are also standard. An Advanced Safety package option that includes forward collision warning (it hips the driver to an impending smash) and lane departure warning systems is also offered on all but the entry-level LS. The très cool OnStar is standard across the Sonic line and is a life-saving system that can do it all, offering the subscriber roadside assistance, a stolen car finder, auto crash notification, and remote door unlock for those absent-minded, constant key-losers.
Hands down, the 2014 Chevy Sonic has a wheel up on many of its competitors as far as sportiness, refinement, safety, overall comfort, and roominess. It’s a great big find in a small package — with value to boot! Prices start at $14,170.