2012 Chevrolet Sonic LT Sedan Review By Larry Nutson
2012 Chevrolet Sonic LT Sedan
Made in the U.S.A.
by Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel
The Sonic is Chevy’s newest small car. The Aveo is gone. But…these two cars are as different as night and day. I won’t dwell on the Aveo that was cheap looking and feeling, and not very loved. Chevy says the Sonic was developed “first and foremost to be fun-to-drive with ride and handling characteristics not expected in this segment”.
Expected? Well, that’s a matter of whom you are talking to. What’s expected in a small car today is changing and evolving…Chevy gets this. Cheap with few frills is not the way to go today. Urban dwellers and city-folk want a small and compact exterior size and yet interior comfort and convenience combined with excellent road manners with a decent sense of agility.
Chevrolet has done well with the overall design and engineering of the 2012 Sonic Sedan . I had a twenty-minute stint behind the wheel of a Sonic back in October at a Midwest Automotive Media Association drive event, and I was looking forward to a longer drive time. My Sonic sedan tester scheduled-in for the last week of the year, so I spent time between Christmas and New Year’s Day scooting around Chicago on my Holiday-week outings.
My test car was an LT sedan with the 1.8L engine and 6-speed automatic. Although I live in the city I had a couple highway runs to Midway Airport as well as along Lake Shore Drive. With the mixed driving and outside temps between 25 and 40 º, I was seeing 27 mpg on the Driver Information display, and I’m not a hyper-miler… I get in and go. The Sonic sedan only weighs 2721 lbs and is plenty quick with good throttle response and relatively smooth shifting. Once the engine is warmed the cabin is quite quiet. I didn’t notice any disturbing wind or road noise.
Chevrolet made alloys wheels standard on all Sonics. According to Chevrolet, that reduced road noise by 2dB over a steel wheel with wheel cover. Another benefit comes from the alloy wheel being 4-times stiffer than the steel wheel which provides for more predictable handling and a quieter ride. The added cost of the alloy has a good payback.
Electric power steering helps to reduce fuel consumption. Other small but yet significant features of the Sonic that I liked are two glove compartments, the illuminated driver’s power window switch so it is easy to find in the dark, the folding-feature for the outside mirrors…a must have, in my view, for on-street parking in a crowded city with narrow streets.
The sedan is 173.1 inches long and is very maneuverable, easy to drive and well suited for city driving. The sedan trunk is a very roomy 14 cubic feet. The hatchback is even shorter at 159 inches and has even more space behind the rear seat if you need to carry lots of stuff. Both engines use regular gasoline and the 12.2 gallon fuel tank will take you about 480 miles down the highway with the 1.4L turbo engine.
All Sonic vehicles are equipped with OnStar including a complimentary six months Directions and Connections Service. The Sonic Warranty includes 5 year/100,000 mile powertrain coverage.
© Larry Nutson