Overview

Overview

Chevy's newest subcompact car is now in its third model year, and the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is hitting all the right notes with the addition of updates to infotainment and safety systems. The 2014 Sonic, available in five-passenger sedan and four-door hatchback versions, is economical, affordable, fun to drive and comfortable. It also has excellent safety ratings with a class-leading 10 standard airbags.

What Experts Think

The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic, introduced in 2012 to replace the outgoing Aveo, is considered a stylish, comfortable, fun-to-drive subcompact car that has excellent infotainment features and safety ratings. For 2014, the Sonic is mostly unchanged from the prior model year but does add some safety equipment.

"The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is one of our top picks for a subcompact sedan or hatchback thanks to its blend of power, comfort and feature availability." (Edmunds)

Kelley Blue Book comments that the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is the "quietest and most well-behaved subcompact on the market." Other reasons to buy include fun-to-drive, affordability, exemplary fuel economy and lots of features.

"For our money, the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is one of the best subcompact cars available." (AutoTrader)

What Owners Say

Buyers of the 2014 Chevy Sonic seem to be fans of the subcompact. Comments center on the small car's fun-to-drive characteristic more than anything else. But affordable price is right up there, especially since the car offers so many uncommon features for a reasonable price.

Other owners like the fact that the Sonic is both functional and practical for everyday use. More praise comes from Sonic owners for the roominess, suspension, and hatchback's versatility.

Of course, not every owner is completely thrilled with all aspects of the Sonic. Complaints include only a driver's armrest, radio a little weak, although it works well, don't like the headrests and the interior materials are a little cheap.

Still, even with the minor gripes, owners ranked the Sonic high, with an overall 8.8 out of 10 on the Kelley Blue Book site.

Model/Trim Lineup

The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is a five-passenger subcompact car offered in both sedan and four-door hatchback body styles. Sedan and hatchback come in LS, LT and LTZ models, while the hatchback also offers a sport-tuned RS model.

Standard Sonic LS equipment includes 15-inch steel wheels, keyless entry, air conditioning, integrated blind-spot mirrors, automatic headlights, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, height-adjustable driver's seat, 60/40-split-folding rear seats, a trip computer, Bluetooth, four-speaker stereo with auxiliary audio input jack and steering wheel controls, and OnStar emergency communications.

Moving up to the Sonic LT adds 15-inch alloy wheels, power windows, remote ignition (with automatic transmission only), heated power mirrors, cruise control, upgraded cloth upholstery, and six-speaker audio system (optional on Sonic LS) including CD player, Bluetooth, satellite radio and iPod/USB audio interface. In the Sonic LT hatchback, there's also a standard rear cargo shelf. Two LT packages are available: Wheels and Foglamp option package adds 156-inch alloy wheels and foglights, while the LT Promotional package includes foglights, Chevrolet MyLink and a sunroof.

The top-of-the-line Sonic LTZ swaps out 15-inchers for 17-inch alloy wheels and adds chrome exterior trim, foglights, premium vinyl upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated front seats, a rearview camera and Chevrolet MyLink (optional on Sonic LS and LT).

The Sonic RS includes all of the LTZ equipment and has the turbocharged engine standard. Also included are four-wheel disc brakes, unique 17-inch wheels, sport-tuned suspension, sporty exterior trim, sport steering wheel and leather and simulated-suede upholstery.

Other LTZ and RS options include sunroof and the Advanced Safety Package, which includes forward collision and lane departure warning systems..

Performance

While it's no performance car, the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is hailed by most in the motoring press for its powerful optional turbocharged engine and fun-to-drive character.

There are two engine choices in the 2014 Sonic, both four-cylinders. Standard on most Sonic hatchback and sedans is the 138-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 125 pound-feet of torque. Paired with a five-speed manual transmission, this engine achieves an EPA-estimated 26 mpg city/35 mpg highway/30 mpg combined. With a six-speed automatic, the numbers are 25/35/28 mpg. Auto critics note that both sets of numbers are below average for the subcompact car segment.

Optional for the Sonic LT and LTZ is and standard on the Sonic RS the more potent 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Although the horsepower rating is the same as the non-turbocharged version, the turbocharged 1.4-liter delivers 148 pound-feet of torque, delivering a more potent feel. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic is optional. In the Sonic RS, the transmission gearing is slightly different for quicker acceleration.

EPA-estimated fuel economy with the turbo engine and manual transmission is 29/40/33 mpg and in the automatic, 27/37/31 mpg. In the Sonic RS, fuel economy dips a bit, to 7/34/30 mpg (manual) and 25/33/28 mpg (automatic).

Interior

Some reviewers find fault with the use of hard plastics in the Sonic interior, but most say the seating comfort is good, even for tall drivers. Smaller adults will find that the rear seats are similarly comfortable, according to the test drivers.

Easy-to-read and well-laid out gauges and controls are another plus, while one of the more appealing features is the available Chevrolet MyLink system. This replaces the traditional stereo unit with a seven-inch customizable touchscreen interface and voice controls that integrate with the driver's smartphone via Bluetooth. This enables use of radio apps such as Stitcher and Pandora, along with adding navigation capabilities through an app such as BringGo. Two complaints noted by some reviewers is that the MyLink system isn't compatible with all smartphones and the touchscreen sometimes doesn't register inputs, which can lead to driver frustration.

Cargo capacity is very good in the sedan, coming in at 14 cubic feet, one of the largest in the subcompact car segment. This can be expanded by using the standard 60/40-split-foliding rear seatbacks. In the Sonic hatchback, the 19 cubic feet of storage capacity expands to 30.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. This is, however, much less capacity than in the Hyundai Accent and Honda Fit, two competitive subcompact hatchbacks.

Safety & Reliability

Even though the Sonic is a subcompact, it offers much in the way of safety features that are so important to the consumer. Most of the auto press applauds the numerous standard and available safety items, including 10 standard airbags, traction and stability control, antilock brakes, crash-collapsible pedals that protect the driver's feet, and a rearview camera standard on the LTZ and RS and available on the LT. The manual-transmission-equipped Sonic has a hill holder feature. OnStar is also standard, and includes automatic crash notification, an emergency button, stolen vehicle locator and active intervention, on-demand roadside assistance and remote door unlock.

There is also an optional advanced safety package that includes Forward Collision alert and Lane Departure Warning.

In government crash testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic earned a perfect five-stars for overall protection, including five stars for overall frontal and five stars for overall side protection. The Sonic also received a top score of "Good" in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests. The 2013 Sonic was named a Top Safety Pick and likely will achieve the same distinction for the 2014 model (being mostly carryover).

As for reliability, the Chevrolet Sonic has been rated as three-circles in the J.D. Power Predicted Reliability rating. Three circles equates to "About Average" in reliability.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
Hatchback - FWD
LS Hatch LS Manual 4 Cylinder FWD 14770
LS Hatch LS Auto 4 Cylinder FWD 16020
LT Hatch LT Manual 4 Cylinder FWD 16380
LT Hatch LT Auto 4 Cylinder FWD 17665
LTZ Hatch LTZ Manual 4 Cylinder FWD 17990
LTZ Hatch LTZ Auto 4 Cylinder FWD 19325
RS Hatch RS Manual 4 Cylinder FWD 20325
RS Hatch RS Auto 4 Cylinder FWD 21610
Sedan - FWD
LS Sedan LS Manual 4 Cylinder FWD 14170
LS Sedan LS Auto 4 Cylinder FWD 15420
LT Sedan LT Manual 4 Cylinder FWD 15780
LT Sedan LT Auto 4 Cylinder FWD 17065
LTZ Sedan LTZ Manual 4 Cylinder FWD 17390
LTZ Sedan LTZ Auto 4 Cylinder FWD 18725
RS Sedan RS Manual 4 Cylinder FWD 19705
RS Sedan RS Auto 4 Cylinder FWD 20990

Comparison of 2014 Chevrolet Sonic with Similar Cars

2014 Chevrolet Sonic MSRP Invoice
2014 Chevrolet Sonic $14,170 $13,816
Similar Cars to Consider MSRP Invoice Compare
2014 Hyundai Accent $14,645 $14,248 2014 Chevrolet Sonic VS 2014 Hyundai Accent
2014 Ford Fiesta $14,100 $13,571 2014 Chevrolet Sonic VS 2014 Ford Fiesta
2014 Nissan Versa Note $13,990 $13,646 2014 Chevrolet Sonic VS 2014 Nissan Versa Note
2014 Kia Rio $13,900 $13,646 2014 Chevrolet Sonic VS 2014 Kia Rio
2014 Toyota Yaris $14,430 $13,853 2014 Chevrolet Sonic VS 2014 Toyota Yaris

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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