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2012 Chevrolet Sonic Review

Reviewers praised the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic for its nimble handling and smooth ride quality, saying it drives like a more expensive car.

Pros & Cons

  • Simple dashboard controls
  • Nimble handling
  • Comfortable ride
  • Poor fuel economy in base model




Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 7.9
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.5
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Chevrolet Sonic Overview

The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic comes with a four-cylinder engine or an available turbocharged four-cylinder engine that most reviewers said provides plenty of get-up-and-go. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and six-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions are available. Most reviewers enjoyed rowing their own gears with the manual transmissions and said shift action is crisp. Some test drivers said the automatic transmission has smooth, well-timed shifts, while others said it shifts harshly at times. Equipped with an automatic transmission, the 2012 Sonic gets an EPA-estimated 25/35 mpg city/highway, which isn’t as good as rival subcompacts’ fuel economy. However, the Sonic achieves its highest estimates with the six-speed manual and turbo engine, at 29/40 mpg, which is excellent for a subcompact car. Test drivers appreciated the Sonic’s sharp steering, and said that it tackles curves with confidence and handles impressively for a subcompact car. They also said the ride is firm, yet comfortable, adding that the Sonic absorbs bumps in the road with ease.

Some test drivers said the 2012 Sonic’s cabin has an attractive, modern design with decent materials, but others thought it looks a little plain and could use more soft-touch surfaces. Reviewers said there’s plenty of space up front, with comfortable, supportive seats, and some even wrote that there’s enough back-seat space to comfortably accommodate two adults. The 2012 Sonic is available as a sedan or a hatchback, and most critics noted that both models offer plenty of cargo space for the class. The base Sonic comes with a four-speaker AM/FM stereo with an auxiliary input. Available features include a CD player, a USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, remote start, a power sunroof, power windows and door locks and heated front seats. Most reviewers agreed that the audio and climate controls have a user-friendly layout and are straightforward to use.

Other Cars to Consider

Test drivers praised the 2012 Mazda Mazda2 for its athletic handling and responsive steering. They also said the interior has an attractive design and is made with quality materials for the class.

Like the Sonic, the 2012 Kia Rio is a subcompact car that’s available as a sedan and hatchback. The Rio has an impressive list of standard features, including a USB port, and reviewers liked its upscale interior.

Compare the Sonic, Mazda2 and Rio »


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