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MSRP: $15,420 - 21,520

Rankings & Research

The 2019 Chevrolet Sonic ranked #4 in Subcompact Cars. Currently the Chevrolet Sonic has a score of 8.6 out of 10 which is based on our evaluation of 87 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

8.6

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 8.1
Interior: 8.1
Safety: TBD
Reliability: TBD

Best Subcompact Cars

  • #1

    2019 Honda Fit

    $16,190 - $21,520 MSRP

    You can only compare 3 cars at a time.
  • #2

    2018 Kia Rio

    $13,900 - $18,700 MSRP

    You can only compare 3 cars at a time.
  • #4

    2019 Chevrolet Sonic

    $15,420 - $21,520 MSRP

    You can only compare 3 cars at a time.
See the full Subcompact Cars rankings »

2019 Chevrolet Sonic Review

The 2019 Chevrolet Sonic's responsive handling and roomy interior help place it near the top of the subcompact car segment. The engine can feel a bit overtaxed at times, however, and the quality of its cabin materials isn't that impressive.

Pros & Cons

  • Roomy back seat
  • Deft handling
  • Intuitive infotainment system
  • Lots of cargo room
  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Mediocre interior quality

Is the Chevrolet Sonic a Good Car?

The 2019 Sonic is a good subcompact car that does most things well. Passenger space and comfort is excellent in both rows, and there’s lots of cargo room. Its sharp steering helps it take twisty roads with ease. A standard touch-screen infotainment system is straightforward and includes cool components like a Wi-Fi hot spot. A few downsides to the Sonic include below-average fuel economy and some hard plastic interior surfaces. Its standard turbocharged engine is fine for daily driving, but it feels underpowered under heavy acceleration.

Should I Buy the Chevrolet Sonic?

The Chevy Sonic is a good value. Its base price is below average for an already inexpensive segment, and it comes standard with a turbocharged engine, a touch-screen infotainment system, and smartphone integration. It still lacks some common amenities like power windows and cruise control, though. You can also find some classmates that up the ante in some regards. While it’s hard to beat the Sonic for passenger or cargo room, the Honda Fit manages to do both. The Ford Fiesta lacks a lot of utility, but it should appeal to those who want a small car that’s also oodles of fun to drive.

Compare the Sonic, Fit, and Fiesta »

Should I Buy a New or Used Chevrolet Sonic?

For 2019, Chevrolet made a turbocharged four-cylinder engine standard in the Sonic. This engine was previously optional while a naturally aspirated four-cylinder was the standard offering. Although you can likely save money by going with a similar used 2018 Sonic or an older model, just be aware that some examples will have the less powerful and less engaging engine.

To research used models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Chevrolet Sonic. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Sonic »

We Did the Research for You: 87 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 87 Chevrolet Sonic reviews – along with performance specs, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2019 Sonic is the right new car for you. This 2019 Chevrolet Sonic review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2012 through 2019 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined automotive industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Chevrolet Sonic Cost?

The 2019 Chevrolet Sonic starts at $15,420, which is about average for the subcompact car class. That price is for a sedan with a manual transmission. The Sonic hatchback starts at $18,020. Both body styles offer higher trim levels and the option of an automatic transmission that further increases the Sonic’s price.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals at your local Chevrolet dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevrolet deals page.

Chevrolet Sonic Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Sonic or Honda Fit?

The Honda Fit is one of the most well-rounded subcompact cars. It has tons of passenger and cargo space, along with an upscale cabin that belies its sticker price. This Honda offers active safety features that the Chevy doesn’t, like automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. However, the Sonic has the edge in infotainment thanks to its standard touch screen, while you’ll have to upgrade to a midrange Fit to get an interface like that. The Fit boasts excellent safety scores, some of the highest fuel economy numbers in the class, and balanced overall performance. While the Sonic is a good car, the Fit is a little better.

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Sonic or Ford Fiesta?

The Ford Fiesta is one of the most fun-to-drive small cars. It handles with enthusiasm, thanks to its sharp and responsive steering. The Fiesta’s standard engine is a little underwhelming, but look to the Fiesta ST model and its peppy, turbocharged engine for a better drive. However, the Fiesta comes up short in practicality. Its back seat is cramped even for the subcompact class, and there’s not a lot to brag about its cargo space. Unless you were specifically shopping for the Fiesta ST, the Sonic is the better subcompact car in general.

Compare the Sonic, Fit, and Fiesta »

Sonic Interior

How Many People Does the Sonic Seat?

The Chevrolet Sonic seats five people in both sedan and hatchback models, and its accommodations are generous for such a small car. The front seats offer all-day comfort with plenty of room for a taller driver or passenger to find a relaxing position. The second row is also spacious enough for adults to stretch out and get comfortable on long drives. The Sonic’s large doors make it easy to enter and exit the car. 

Sonic and Car Seats

The Sonic has two complete sets of second-row LATCH car-seat connections and an additional tether anchor for the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the system an ease-of-use rating of Marginal (the second-lowest score). The tether anchors are clearly marked and accessible, but the lower anchors are set deep in the seat cushion, making it hard to maneuver your hands around them.

Sonic Interior Quality

Subcompact cars are the cheapest new vehicles you can buy, and that entry-level price point sometimes shows in their quality. The Sonic fits this bill with a cabin marked by noticeable hard plastic surfaces and some unimpressive materials.

Sonic Cargo Space

The Chevy Sonic sedan has 14.9 cubic feet of trunk space, which is more than most sedans in the class. The Sonic hatchback is equally impressive at 19 cubic feet behind its back seat. A standard 60/40 split-folding rear seat opens up to 47.7 cubic feet. Still, the Sonic lags behind the voluminous Honda Fit and its 52.7 cubic feet of maximum space.

Sonic Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 2019 Sonic comes well-equipped with a standard touch-screen infotainment system that includes a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot and smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Chevy’s MyLink interface is praised for its intuitive operations and straightforward menus. It may take an extra split second for the screen to process your touch commands, though.

Despite the Sonic’s technological prowess, the base model still lacks common amenities that are standard in nearly every other car, like power windows and cruise control. You’ll have to move above the standard trim to get these conveniences.

Read more about interior »

Sonic Performance

Sonic Engine: Time for the Turbo

The only engine choice in the 2019 Chevy Sonic is a 138-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. This replaces the naturally aspirated 1.8-liter four-cylinder that was dropped for this model year. The turbocharged engine provides a decent amount of power for most driving situations, but you might need to hit the gas a little harder at times. The Sonic can occasionally feel hesitant accelerating from a stop or when climbing a hill.  

A six-speed manual transmission comes standard in each trim level, and a six-speed automatic is optional. Both gearboxes perform well, but the manual could use a little more refinement.

Sonic Gas Mileage: Not Great

The 2019 Sonic gets its best fuel economy in sedan style with the manual transmission. Still, at 27 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, it's a little below average for the class. The hatchback model with a manual transmission gets 26 mpg city and 35 mpg highway. Both body styles with an automatic transmission return 26/34 mpg city/highway.

Sonic Ride and Handling: Stable but Stiff  

Like a certain blue video-game hedgehog that shares the same name, the Chevy Sonic moves around with athleticism, and it's pretty engaging to drive. Some models incorporate a sport suspension that tightens up handling, but at the expense of ride quality, as you may feel more bumps and shocks from the road.

Read more about performance »

Sonic Reliability

Is the Chevrolet Sonic Reliable?

As of this writing, the 2019 Chevrolet Sonic doesn't have a predicted reliability rating from J.D Power.

Chevrolet Sonic Warranty

Chevrolet covers the Sonic with a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Sonic Safety

Sonic Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 Sonic a five-star overall crash test rating, with five stars in the frontal and side crash tests, and four stars in the rollover evaluation.

Sonic Safety Features

The Chevy Sonic comes standard with a rearview camera. Optional driver assistance features include rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and forward collision warning. Those all come in a single package (for around $500) available with both of the upper two trim levels.

Read more about safety »

Which Chevrolet Sonic Model Is Right for Me?

The Chevrolet Sonic is available in three trim levels and either sedan or hatchback body types. All models come with a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, front-wheel drive, and either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. 

The Sonic's base model is a decent buy thanks to its list of standard features, including an infotainment system, smartphone integration, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. However, that model still lacks common features like cruise control and power windows. Upgrade to the midrange LT trim to get those conveniences along with satellite radio, nicer cloth seats, and a six-speaker stereo. The LT also offers a couple option packages that include everything from driver assistance technology to performance upgrades and more everyday comfort and convenience features.

Chevrolet Sonic LS

Available only as a sedan, the 2019 Chevrolet Sonic LS starts at $15,420 with the standard manual transmission and $16,720 with the automatic. Standard features include cloth seats, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, the OnStar telematics system, and a rearview camera. A standard 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system includes a four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot.

Chevrolet Sonic LT

The Sonic LT includes alloy wheels, heated and power-adjustable outside mirrors, satellite radio, a six-speaker stereo, and deluxe cloth upholstery. The LT also adds simple features that are noticeably absent in the base model, like power windows and cruise control. You'll pay $17,920 for an LT sedan with a manual transmission and $18,620 for an automatic transmission. The LT hatchback starts at $18,020 with the manual and $19,420 with the automatic.

There are several option packages that differ in price between the sedan and hatchback. The Performance package includes a lowering suspension and a performance exhaust. The Convenience package adds heated front seats, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, a heated steering wheel, proximity keyless entry, push-button start, and remote start. Active safety features like rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and forward collision warning are found in the Driver Confidence package. A sunroof is also optional.

Chevrolet Sonic Premier

The Chevy Sonic Premier starts at $20,020 for either body type with the manual transmission. An automatic sedan costs $20,720 and an automatic hatchback retails for $21,520. The Premier trim upgrades the car's appearance with lots of sporty design cues like a spoiler, black wheels, and a sport exhaust. It also comes with proximity key entry, push-button start, heated front seats, a six-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and leatherette upholstery.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Chevrolet dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevrolet deals page.

See 2019 Chevrolet Sonic specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Chevy Sonic brings a lot to the table, including things you might not expect in the subcompact class, like plenty of passenger and cargo room and a standard touch-screen infotainment system. Its performance is perfectly adequate for everyday driving. However, you won’t be wowed by its cabin materials.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "[T]he 2019 Sonic is a solid offering and definitely worth considering if you're shopping for an affordable sedan or hatchback." -- Edmunds
  • "Although compact on the outside, the … Sonic offers a roomy interior constructed of high-quality materials and offering some of the most comfortable front seats we've tested in a subcompact car. There are lots of little goodies one wouldn't expect from this type of vehicle, such as an available power driver's seat, MyLink audio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and a heated steering wheel." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • "[The] Sonic offers plenty to like, including a very low starting price, high-tech options like Apple CarPlay and a Wi-Fi hotspot, not to mention sporty styling and an available turbocharged engine. Base models lack even the most basic accommodations (you'll have to crank open the windows), but when comparably equipped, the Sonic remains competitive against cars like the Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent and Toyota Yaris." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
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