2012 Chevrolet Sonic LT 1.8

Summary:

It's decent and cheap. A few repair issues, but nothing major

Faults:

The brake switch failed under warranty. It's an easy fix if out of warranty. $15 part

The control arms were replaced under warranty at 50k miles.

The air intake hose fails at around 5 years on the 2012s and was covered out of warranty. I was given a check for the part I purchased. I put the hose on myself. It took like 20 minutes to replace. The part was ~$100.

The left passenger window shattered without anything impacting it recently. This cost $150 to replace. It happens sometimes in all cars and was bad luck.

The thermostats like to fail in this model. Mine needs to be replaced but I haven't done it yet. They are expensive. $140 for OEM or as little as $30 with aftermarket sensor replacement. I will probably buy the cheap one and see how long it lasts. I'll have to replace the coolant to fix the issue too. I imagine it will take 2 hours and cost $75-$200 to do it myself, depending on the parts I buy.

The tires wear well. I got 58k miles out of the OEM tires.

So far I like the car. A thermostat and hose failure isn't too bad at 80k miles, but isn't perfect. I bought at 2012. I think the newer models addressed these issues with the new parts. If you buy a Sonic now it's likely these parts have already failed.

If you're shopping for a new one, try and start the car when it's below 70 degrees outside. The bad thermostat throws an engine code only when it's cold out. The actual thermostat works, but the electronic temp gauge breaks. It causes the remote start to be disabled.

If you're getting bad fuel economy, check your intake hose. Cracks in the hose caused poor MPG (17 MPG or so).

The OEM battery lasted 6 years.

Some people report the coolant overflow tank breaking, but mine hasn't. It's a cheap part. I live in a variable climate (Iowa) so I think it's hit or miss if your overflow tank will break.

General Comments:

The car is pretty decent. I like the way it drives and I think it looks nice inside.

Never cars now have better MPG.

A second arm rest would be nice, but oh well. Front passenger seat has no arm rest.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd September, 2017

2015 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ 1.4 turbo

Summary:

Best cheap turbo car you can buy

Faults:

Rust on the trim, blower motor... warranty.

General Comments:

I was looking for a economy daily driver because my Subaru is terrible on gas. I was pleasantly surprised that it was comfortable. It's equipped with leather and other gadgets that the other makers are just coming out with this year. Like a WiFi hot spot and Bluetooth everything. The vehicle integrates with my electronics flawlessly and is equipped with a decent USB charger. My only real gripe is I bought a white one and I really wanted a black one.

Very reliable up to this point and doesn't seem to need much maintenance. The engine is equipped with a timing chain.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th February, 2017

2014 Chevrolet Sonic LT

Summary:

Fatally flawed ergonomics and awful fuel economy kill an otherwise average car

General Comments:

I had this Sonic sedan as a rental after my 2011 Focus was rear-ended.

I'll begin with the good:

The seat of the Sonic was comfortable and the front cabin had a good amount of space. However, the armrests aren't even for the driver.

The Sonic is quick, responsive, and handles well. Toward the end, it was actually somewhat fun to drive.

The controls for the climate are your universal three-dial setup, which was a nice departure from my button-happy Focus. The heat was good. I didn't test the A/C.

I like the amber turn signals in the rear; all cars should have this.

That's about the only good I have to say about the car.

The A- and B-pillars are very thick, making vision difficult.

The belt line is very high and it feels like you're sitting in a bath tub.

The gauge cluster is cluttered, and I hate the blue-on-blue because it doesn't have good contrast. The dimmest setting was still too bright. I don't like how the tachometer was analog and everything else was digital. It looks goofy, and I had to take my eyes off the road to see my speed.

The radio was good, but the controls were confusing. I don't like the display; I'd rather have the time in the center of the screen, not the date. I wish the clock was a different color so it would stand out.

The trip computer was confusing to use. You have a menu button, a toggle switch, and a button to push. I'd rather have the system in my old Ford: three buttons; setup, info, and reset.

I wish they hadn't put those vertical storage cubbies on the dash. If they had put the vents where those cubbies are, they could have put covered storage in the cabin. Other than the two glove boxes, there is no covered storage area in the Sonic. I'm an ergonomist by trade, so I was sorely disappointed.

I can deal with all that, though, all of that, if it didn't get such terrible fuel mileage. I drove 220 miles and it took 10.6 gallons to do so; that's 20.8 MPG (60% city, 40% highway). I'm an easy driver, and I understand that this was a rental, but this is pathetic. I used to have a 2005 Taurus 3.0 V6 that got 22 MPG with 100% city driving. My Focus got 28 MPG with 60% city, 40% highway driving, so I didn't think 28 MPG out of the Sonic was unreasonable.

Other than the poor ergonomics and absolutely dismal fuel economy, this was a pretty decent car. But based on this rental, Chevy still has some work to do. I'd avoid the Sonic for the terrible gas mileage alone.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th November, 2015

19th Nov 2015, 17:24

Such a promising small car when it first came out. And Chevy really could have used a winner there. But sales have been dropping, and they are off 35 percent compared to last year. Hopefully Chevy will redesign that little car and address a lot of the issues you saw in that rental vehicle. Also, as for fuel economy, I sense you got the little small turbo unit model that they sell. And I could imagine the abuse that little turbo engine took with all those renters.