Reviews

2017 Chevrolet Sonic Introduction


The 2017 Chevrolet Sonic gets more safety equipment and features, but mostly styling that’s more expressive, with a new hood, headlamps, LED daytime running lamps, and rear fascia. Also new wheel designs and four new colors: Orange Burst Metallic, Brimstone, Cajun Red Tintcoat, and Arctic Blue Metallic.

New features for the 2017 Sonic include a power driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, heated cloth seats, and infotainment system with seven-inch screen that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, with 4G LTE connectivity and wife hotspot.

The Chevrolet Sonic is a refined and sporty subcompact that was introduced as a 2013 model to replace the plain and boring Aveo. The Sonic comes as five-door hatchback or four-door sedan.

The Sonic hatchback is the more cohesive design, with its angled window line, hidden rear door handles, and truncated tail making it look like a coupe. Its short rear and longer front overhang give it sporty proportions.

The Sonic sedan has the same wheelbase as the hatch, but with conventional rear doors, a longer roof, and big trunk. The problem is that sometimes it looks like three styles pasted together. Chevy sells a lot more Sonic hatchbacks than it does sedans.

The base engine is a raspy 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder. It lowers the base price, but otherwise forget it.

The available 1.4-liter turbo is still quite affordable, and much better; it’s smooth, refined, responsive, and gets better fuel mileage. Both engines make 138 horsepower, and each is available with a 6-speed automatic. If you want a gearbox, you get a 5-speed manual with the 1.8 and 6-speed with the 1.4 turbo.

The Sonic gets five stars from the NHTSA in crash tests, and the IIHS calls it a Top Safety Pick, with a top Good rating on both the moderate overlap and tougher small overlap frontal crash test. That’s the test that’s foiled a lot of cars, including bigger ones. The Sonic comes standard with 10 airbags, blind-spot mirrors and rearview camera. New for 2017 are available Rear Park Assist and Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning.

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