Monday, September 30, 2013

First Drive: 2014 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback 1.8L

From 2002 until 2011, Chevrolet produces the Chevrolet Aveo, a subcompact car that was available as either a sedan or hatchback. At the 2010 Paris Motor Show, Chevrolet debuted a car using its Gamma II global subcompact platform. The new car would be sold as the Holden Barina in Australia and New Zealand. In Korea, the new car is called the Aveo. In all other markets, the car would be known as the Chevrolet Sonic. The Sonic is a front-engine, front-wheel drive subcompact car that is available as either a four door sedan or a five door hatchback (the version I took on a test drive). The Sonic is available with a six-speed manual transmission, but the version I drove came with a six-speed automatic transmission (which costs an additional $1,285). The Sonic is available with a turbocharged 1.4L engine (a $700 option) that produces 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque, but I drove a none turbocharged Sonic. The version I drove came in a color called deep magenta metallic, which is only available with the LT trim level. The magenta color replaces the inferno orange color that was available for the 2012 to 2013. The deep magenta metallic color will be replaced by cool blue, a grayish, dirty blue color. The cool blue color will be available from November 2013 until March 2014. Dragon Green will become a permanent color starting in the first quarter of 2014.

As far as styling goes for a subcompact hatchback goes, the Sonic is very above average. The headlights and the split grill give the car an aggressive look. The Sonic also has a good side profile and the rear hatch is integrated nicely, unlike some other subcompact hatchbacks. The version I drove also included a moon roof and fog lights located on the bottom of the front bumper. The interior is good, especially for a subcompact costing under $20,000. The Sonic features a motorcycle like gauge with an analog tachometer on the left and a digital gauge which shows the fuel gauge and the speedometer. This set up works in the Chevrolet Spark, and it works in the Sonic. This set up helps give the cars a unique feel. The Sonic I drove also features a seven inch touch screen with Chevrolet's MyLink system, which is also present int the Spark. The Sonic has a comfortable seat. I had good headroom and great legroom behind the wheel.

The Sonic I drove is powered by a 1.8L I4 engine that produces 138 hp and 125 lb-ft of torque. It goes from 0 to 60 mph in 9.0 seconds and reaches a top speed of 124 mph. The Sonic felt slow when accelerating. The 1.8L does lack power, but there is a 1.4L turbocharged engine that boosts torque output to 148 lb-ft of torque. That is an increase of 23 lb-ft. But the Sonic's ride quality is impressive. The car is smooth and quiet, even at highway speeds. The Sonic responds very well when I turn the wheel. Prices for the Sonic Hatchback start at $15,595, including a $825 destination fee. The car I test drove goes for $19,540. For that money, you do get a some great features and a good car.

The Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback is featured in Vrum, Motorweek, The Client List, The Call, Awkward, and The Last Stand. The Sonic Hatchback is playable in Game Stock Car, Car Town, Car Town EX, and 2K Drive.

Overall, the Chevrolet Sonic is a great subcompact car and for a reasonable price. It can use a little bit more power, but the ride quality is tough to beat. It is very comfortable behind the wheel. The car responds well while traveling quietly and smoothly along roads and highways. For around $20,000, you get a car with a quietly smooth ride quality, a moon roof, a touchscreen infotainment system that works with most smartphones, and plenty of headroom and legroom behind the wheel. If you are in the market for a subcompact car, give the Chevrolet Sonic a test drive. This is one of the better subcompacts on the road. As far as the magenta color goes, it is a unique color that works for the Sonic. I did not mind driving a Pink Chevrolet Spark and I had no problems driving a magenta Sonic. Just keep these colors away from the Corvette. A Corvette should never be painted with any shade of pink.

Photo was taken by a camera phone.
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