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2020 Chevrolet Sonic Review

The 2020 Chevrolet Sonic finishes in the top half of our subcompact car rankings. It's sportier than many rivals, and it has a spacious cabin, but the Sonic's questionable interior quality keeps it from challenging the class leaders.

Pros & Cons

  • Sporty handling
  • Roomy seats
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Plenty of cargo space
  • Rivals get better fuel economy
  • Unimpressive cabin materials

New for 2020

  • Six-speed manual transmission discontinued
  • Updated infotainment system

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Chevrolet Sonic's #3 ranking is based on its score within the Subcompact Cars category. Currently the Chevrolet Sonic has a score of 8.0 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 93 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.3
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 7.8
Safety: 8.9
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Chevrolet Sonic?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Chevrolet Sonic a Good Car?

Yes, the Chevrolet Sonic is a good car. Adults can fit comfortably in both rows of seats, and there's plenty of cargo space. The infotainment system is easy to use as well. As for performance, the turbocharged engine is reasonably potent, and the Sonic handles better than many of its peers.

However, the Sonic trails the competition when it comes to fuel economy ratings, and it doesn't always have the smoothest ride. Additionally, some rivals have higher-quality interior materials.

Should I Buy the Chevrolet Sonic?

The Sonic has many more positive traits than negative ones, so it's certainly worth a look. It has an above-average price tag, however, which means that despite its appealing attributes, this Chevy doesn't provide more bang for your buck than other subcompact cars. If you like the Sonic, you may also want to consider options like the Honda Fit and Mazda3.

Compare the Sonic, Fit, and Mazda3 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Chevrolet Sonic?

The 2020 Chevrolet Sonic belongs to a generation that began with the 2012 model year. Chevy updated the infotainment system and dropped the six-speed manual transmission for 2020 (all Sonics now come with a six-speed automatic).

For 2019, a turbocharged four-cylinder engine became the standard engine in the Sonic, replacing a naturally aspirated four-cylinder. The turbo-four was previously optional. There were no major changes for 2018, but Chevy refreshed the Sonic for 2017, updating the exterior styling and adding a touch-screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to the standard features list. A rearview camera became standard as well, while rear parking sensors and a heated steering wheel became available.

If you're interested in a used Sonic, a 2017 Sonic LT or Premier trim makes a good choice. You'll get a car that's very similar to a new 2020 Sonic and likely much less expensive.

To research used models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2017 Sonic, 2018 Sonic, and 2019 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 2018, 2019, and 2020 Sonic »

We Did the Research for You: 86 Reviews Analyzed

Our car reviews include everything you need to know before heading to the dealership. We combine the opinions of the automotive press with quantifiable data like crash test results and reliability ratings to form a complete picture of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Sonic generation, which runs from 2012 to 2020.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Chevrolet Sonic Cost?

The Sonic's base price sits at $16,720. That's not the highest starting price in the class, but many rivals have less expensive base trims. The range-topping Chevy Sonic Premier starts at $20,720 for the sedan and $21,520 for the hatchback. That's more than you'll pay for many competitors' top trims.

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.

Chevrolet Sonic Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Sonic or Honda Fit?

The Honda Fit is one of the most well-rounded cars in the class, which is why it finishes near the top of our subcompact car rankings every year. Its cabin is more upscale than the Sonic's, and it provides plenty of passenger and cargo space. This Honda offers active safety features that the Chevy doesn’t, such as forward automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, and adaptive cruise control. The Fit also gets better gas mileage. The Sonic has a standard touch screen, which is an optional feature in the Fit, but the Honda is the better car overall.

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Sonic or Mazda3?

The Mazda3 is a compact car, and it's one of the most dynamic small cars on the market. It accelerates quickly and has nimble handling, all while providing a smooth ride. It's also a bit more fuel-efficient than the Sonic. Inside, the Mazda looks great and feels upscale. The seats are comfortable, and the infotainment system is easy to use. Like the Sonic, the Mazda3 is available in sedan and hatchback body styles. The Mazda is as good as or better than the Sonic in almost every area. Its starting price is roughly $5,500 more than the Sonic's, but if you can swing that, it's the better choice.

Compare the Sonic, Fit, and Mazda3 »

Sonic Interior

How Many People Does the Sonic Seat?

The Sonic seats five people. The front seats offer plenty of comfort and support, as well as room for tall occupants. Likewise, the second row is spacious and easy to get in and out of.

Sonic and Child Car Seats

The Sonic has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connections for the rear outboard seats and an additional tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The tether anchors are set too deep in the seats and are difficult to maneuver around.

Sonic Interior Quality

Inside, the Sonic acquits itself pretty well. The cabin is attractive, with nice styling. The only drawback is the prevalence of low-rent materials, such as hard plastics.

Sonic Cargo Space

Cargo space in this Chevrolet varies depending on body style, but it's good with both. The Sonic sedan gives you 14.9 cubic feet of trunk space – a total that few subcompact sedans can match. That’s enough space for roughly a dozen grocery bags.

The Sonic hatchback has even more space. You get 19 cubic feet behind the rear seats, which is ample room for multiple pieces of luggage. Fold the rear seats down, and you get a max capacity of 47.7 cubic feet.

Sonic Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include the Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System with a 7-inch touch screen, a four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Available features include power windows, cruise control, satellite radio, a six-speaker audio system, and a sunroof.

The infotainment interface is user friendly, the menus are easy to navigate, and the touch screen is easy to see.

Read more about interior »

Sonic Performance

Sonic Engine: A Solid Powertrain

You only get one engine option in the Sonic: a 138-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. It gets the job done whether you're driving around town or on the highway, and it generally feels peppy. It does feel strained going over steep hills, however.

Sonic Gas Mileage: Room for Improvement

This small Chevrolet gets 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Those are good ratings compared to the auto industry overall. However, subcompact cars are among the most fuel-efficient nonhybrids you can buy, and by class standards, the Sonic's numbers are below average.

Sonic Ride and Handling: Agile, but Not the Smoothest Ride

The Chevy Sonic provides sharp steering, which helps it feel agile on winding roads. The Sonic also delivers a more engaging driving experience than many subcompacts. Ride quality gets mixed reviews. With the base suspension, the Sonic's ride is generally fine. With the available sport suspension, which is stiffer, the ride is firm to the point of feeling harsh at times.

Read more about performance »

Sonic Reliability

Is the Chevrolet Sonic Reliable?

The 2020 Chevrolet Sonic has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five 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 2020 Sonic received a five out of five-star overall crash test rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This Chevrolet earned five stars in the frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

As of this writing, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not crash tested the 2020 Sonic.

Sonic Safety Features

The Chevy Sonic comes standard with a rearview camera. Available driver assistance features include rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning.

Read more about safety »

Sonic Dimensions and Weight

The Sonic sedan is 14.5 feet long, while the Sonic hatchback is 13.3 feet long. The Sonic has a curb weight of 2,857 to 2,921 pounds.

Where Is the Chevrolet Sonic Built?

Chevrolet builds the 2020 Sonic in Michigan.

Which Chevrolet Sonic Model Is Right for Me?

The Chevrolet Sonic is available in three trim levels (LS, LT, and Premier) and two body styles (sedan and hatchback). All models feature a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine, front-wheel drive, and a six-speed automatic transmission. 

While the base trim comes with a decent list of standard features, it lacks some simple touches like cruise control and power windows. With that in mind, most people should look to the LT trim. In addition to the little things, the Sonic LT adds some infotainment features and offers a couple of option packages that include everything from driver assistance technology to performance upgrades and more everyday comfort and convenience features.

Chevrolet Sonic LS

The Sonic LS carries a base price of $16,720. This trim is only offered in the sedan body style, and it comes standard with cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, and an infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen, a four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, USB ports, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a Wi-Fi hot spot.

Chevrolet Sonic LT

The Sonic LT starts at $18,620 for the sedan and $19,420 for the hatchback. In addition to the base trim's features, the LT comes with power windows, cruise control, deluxe cloth upholstery, satellite radio, and a six-speaker audio system.

There are several option packages that differ in price between the sedan and hatchback. The Performance package includes a lowered 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, and remote start. Active safety features like rear parking sensors, lane departure warning, 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 $20,720 for the sedan and $21,520 for the hatchback. 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 keyless entry, push-button start, heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and synthetic leather 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 2020 Chevrolet Sonic specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Chevrolet Sonic is a small car that comes in sedan and hatchback body styles. It's enjoyable to drive and provides plenty of room for passengers and cargo. It comes with some intuitive tech features as well. Despite its subpar interior build quality and so-so ride comfort, this is a subcompact car that's worth a look from shoppers.

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

  • "So is smartphone-friendly technology, a big cabin and a spirited engine important to you? If so, the Sonic deserves a look, but it's not perfect. The Kia Rio features a nicer interior, while the Honda Fit is roomier for rear-seat passengers. But the Sonic slots squarely in the middle by providing both great interior space and a high level of standard technology." -- 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, … 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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2020 Chevrolet Sonic

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