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2016 Chevrolet Sonic Review

The 2016 Chevrolet Sonic ranks among the best subcompact cars. It has loads of seating and cargo space, easy-to-use tech features, and capable performance. Also, the Sonic’s safety and reliability ratings are better than most of its rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Plenty of seating and cargo space
  • Available MyLink system is easy to use
  • Good safety and reliability ratings
  • Balanced performance
  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Power windows not standard




Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.1
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Chevrolet Sonic Overview

Is the 2016 Chevrolet Sonic a Good Used Car?

A used 2016 Chevy Sonic is a good subcompact car. It offers almost everything you might look for in a small car: space, safety, reliability, and easy drivability. However, you may want to look elsewhere for top-notch fuel economy. Also, the base Sonic is really basic – it doesn’t even come standard with power windows.

Why You Can Trust Us

Instead of basing our full reviews on our personal opinions, we analyze the findings of the automotive press alongside data like reliability ratings and safety scores to help you pick the right car for you.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking vehicles since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To keep our reviews unbiased, we refuse pricey gifts and trips from automakers, and a third party handles the ads on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Chevrolet Sonic?

Based on more than 500 listings for the 2016 Chevy Sonic on our site, you can expect to pay between $9,000 and $14,000. The average list price for a 2016 Sonic is $11,200. Prices shift based on demand and the vehicle's mileage, features, location, and condition.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Chevrolet Sonic Cost to Own?

Aside from the initial purchase price, there are other costs to owning a vehicle. Compared with other 2016 subcompact cars, the Sonic’s ownership costs are slightly higher than average. Over five years, expect to spend just under $23,000 on gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance. That amounts to about $4,600 per year. By comparison, the five-year ownership costs are lower for the Honda Fit ($3,400) and Ford Fiesta ($1,800).

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Sonic?

A 2018 Sonic has a starting price of around $15,300, which is about $4,100 more than the average price of a 2016 Sonic. Although you’ll pay more, the new Sonic has several standard features the 2016 model lacks: a touch-screen infotainment system, a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. While the infotainment system and rearview camera are available in the 2016 model, Apple CarPlay is not. The 2018 model also has a fresher look, thanks to styling updates in 2017. If these changes are important to you, check out the new model. Otherwise, save your money and go for the 2016.

Read about the new Chevrolet Sonic »

If you're interested in a less expensive new subcompact car, consider the 2018 Hyundai Accent and 2018 Kia Rio. The Accent starts at just below $15,000, while the Rio's starting price is just under $14,000. Check our Hyundai deals and Kia deals pages for special incentives that may narrow the price gap between these models and a used 2016 Sonic. Both the Accent and Rio are fully redesigned for the 2018 model year. Each model touts agile handling and user-friendly tech features, and both come with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty when purchased as a new vehicle.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Chevrolet Sonic?

The 2016 Sonic has an above-average reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Sonic reliability »

2016 Chevrolet Sonic Recalls

At the time of writing, there are two safety recalls for the 2016 Sonic, and both have to do with warning chimes. One recall fixes the chime that alerts you to put on your seatbelt. The other recall fixes the chime that reminds you to take your key out of the ignition. Before buying a used Chevy Sonic, make sure these recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Chevrolet Sonic safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Chevrolet Sonic Is Best?

The 2016 Chevy Sonic is part of the model's first generation, which began with the 2012 model year. For 2013, the Sonic gained standard Bluetooth and added an available touch-screen infotainment system with navigation and smartphone app connectivity. The 2014 Sonic added available safety features like a rearview camera, lane departure warning, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. A year later, the 2015 model year ushered in a standard Wi-Fi hot spot. Chevrolet did not make any changes to the Sonic for 2016. The 2017 Sonic gained refreshed styling and quite a bit of standard equipment, including a touch-screen infotainment system with a rearview camera, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. If these features are important to you, go for the 2017 Sonic. If not, consider a 2015 Sonic, which saves you money and offers many of the same amenities as a 2016 model.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Sonic »

Which Used Chevrolet Sonic Model Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Chevrolet Sonic comes in four trims: LS, LT, LTZ, and RS. The base Chevrolet Sonic LS comes with a Wi-Fi hot spot, a four-speaker audio system, Bluetooth for phone calls, keyless entry, and an auxiliary audio port. For popular features like power windows, remote start, and cruise control, go for the Chevrolet Sonic LT. It also adds a touch-screen infotainment system with a six-speaker audio system, a USB port, Bluetooth audio streaming, Siri Eyes Free, and satellite radio.

While the LT trim suits most needs, we recommend the Chevrolet Sonic LTZ. It features a rearview camera, leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. For performance upgrades, check out the Sonic RS, which comes with a sport-tuned suspension, trim-specific styling, leather upholstery, and a race-inspired flat-bottom steering wheel.

See 2016 Chevrolet Sonic trims and specs »

What Does Chevrolet's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Chevrolet offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles six years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. Eligibility is determined by the vehicle’s initial sale date. For its certified pre-owned vehicles, Chevy extends the original new-car powertrain warranty to six years or 100,000 miles. These vehicles also get a one-year/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper limited warranty after the three-year/36,000-mile new-car warranty expires. Chevrolet CPO vehicles must pass a 172-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and 24-hour roadside assistance may be available, so read Chevy’s warranty page carefully.

Chevrolet has one of the better CPO programs among affordable carmakers. Hyundai, Buick, and Kia are better, according to our analysis.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Sonic?

The 2016 Sonic earns better safety scores than most of the subcompact car class. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety Pick. The Sonic earned the highest score of Good in all five IIHS test categories. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it five out of five stars in all but the rollover test, in which it scored four stars.

No advanced safety features come standard in the Sonic. Available features include a rearview camera, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning.

See Sonic safety scores »

2016 Chevrolet Sonic Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Chevrolet Sonic or 2016 Ford Fiesta?

The Ford Fiesta has cramped rear seats and less cargo space than the Sonic. It also has lower safety scores and much lower reliability ratings. Both cars have nimble handling and lively turbocharged engines. However, the Fiesta has a much better available performance version, the ST, which delivers top-flight acceleration and handling. Unless performance is your primary concern, go with the Sonic, which is the better overall vehicle.

Which Is Better: 2016 Chevrolet Sonic or 2016 Honda Fit?

The Honda Fit comes in sedan and hatchback body styles, which both provide generous legroom. The Fit and the Sonic have similar smartphone integration capabilities. Though the Sonic has a good-size cargo hold, the Fit's is even larger and more versatile. Also, the Honda has better fuel economy estimates than the Chevy. The Fit was our 2016 Best Subcompact Car for the Money and Best Hatchback for the Money. Both are good cars, but the edge goes to the Fit.

Which Is Better: 2016 Chevrolet Sonic or 2016 Chevrolet Cruze?

The Chevy Cruze is a compact car, but despite its larger classification, it has less trunk space than the Sonic. The Cruze focuses more on comfort than agility, with handling that’s cushioned rather than nimble. It gets excellent fuel economy ratings, and its sole engine option produces adequate everyday driving power. The Cruze comes with more infotainment features than the Sonic does, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If you want more agility and cargo space, go for the Sonic. If you want better fuel economy and technology, go for the Cruze.

Compare the Sonic, Fiesta, and Fit »

2016 Sonic Performance

How Does the 2016 Chevrolet Sonic Drive?

The Sonic comes standard with a 138-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a five-speed manual transmission, and front-wheel drive. An available turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes with a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic transmission is available with each engine. The turbo-four makes the same amount of power as the base engine, but it has an extra 23 pound-feet of torque.

While the base engine is fine in most driving situations, the turbo-four feels quicker when accelerating or passing on the highway. The Sonic has slick handling and a comfortable ride whether it's maneuvering around tight city streets or navigating a mountain road.

Does the 2016 Chevrolet Sonic Get Good Gas Mileage?

Fuel economy in the Sonic is a little lower than what you’ll get with the competition. Depending on the model, the Sonic returns an EPA-estimated 24-28 mpg in the city and 34-38 mpg on the highway.

Read more about Sonic performance »

2016 Sonic Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Sonic Seat?

The four-door Chevy Sonic comes in sedan and hatchback body types, which both seat five on standard cloth upholstery. Some used models feature leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, and leather-trimmed sport seats. The front and rear seats offer good space for a subcompact car. Despite its hard plastic surfaces, the Sonic’s cabin is attractive and sporty, with touches like motorcycle-inspired gauges.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Chevrolet Sonic?

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the Sonic’s second-row outboard seats, along with a tether-only connection in the middle seat.

2016 Chevrolet Sonic Features

Standard features include a Wi-Fi hot spot, a four-speaker audio system with Bluetooth for phone calls, and an auxiliary audio port. Although power door locks and keyless entry are standard, power windows are not.

However, there are plenty of available features, like remote start and cruise control. Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system comes in all but the base trim. It features a 7-inch touch screen, six speakers, a USB port, Bluetooth audio streaming, satellite radio, Siri Eyes Free, and smartphone app integration.

See 2016 Chevrolet Sonic specs »

Read more about Sonic interior »

2016 Chevrolet Sonic Dimensions

Chevrolet Sonic Cargo Space

The Sonic sedan offers 14.9 cubic feet of trunk space, which is spacious for the class. For even more space, check out hatchback models. They have 19 cubic feet, which expands to 47.7 when you collapse the split-folding rear seats.

2016 Sonic Length and Weight

The Sonic’s length ranges from just over 13 feet for the sedan to around 14.5 feet for the hatchback. The curb weight ranges from 2,720 to 2,894 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Chevrolet Sonic Built?

The 2016 Chevy Sonic was assembled in Orion Township, Michigan. It is one of the few cars in its class built in the United States.


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