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2017 Chevrolet Sonic Review

The 2017 Chevrolet Sonic sits near the top of its class because it has excellent safety and predicted reliability ratings. This Chevy also has lots of standard features, a spacious cabin, and deft handling.

Pros & Cons

  • Top-notch predicted reliability and safety ratings
  • Crisp handling and powerful available engine
  • Plenty of standard and available features
  • Spacious seating and cargo room
  • Poor fuel economy with base engine

New for 2017

  • Refreshed exterior styling
  • Touch-screen infotainment system, rearview camera, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto became standard
  • Rear parking sensors and heated steering wheel became available




Critics' Rating: 8.7
Performance: 8.1
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2017 Chevrolet Sonic Overview

Is the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic a Good Used Car?

The 2017 Sonic is definitely a good choice among subcompact cars. Despite its small size, it can comfortably fit four adults or carry a good amount of cargo. Cool features like an infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a Wi-Fi hot spot further enhance the Sonic’s interior appeal. The Sonic’s available turbocharged engine offers better performance than the Sonic’s base engine.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 84 Chevrolet Sonic reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic?

Prices for the 2017 Sonic range from about $11,000 to about $15,500, with the average price landing just over $13,000. This data comes from more than 750 listings for the 2017 Sonic on our site. Actual prices fluctuate depending on the vehicle's features, mileage, condition, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic Cost to Own?

The 2017 Sonic tends to be more expensive than many of its competitors when it comes to gas, insurance, repair, and maintenance costs. You can expect to pay around $24,800 over five years for these expenses. By comparison, the 2017 Ford Fiesta has lower five-year costs by about $3,200, while the 2017 Honda Fit's costs are lower by roughly $5,400.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Sonic?

Chevrolet made minor changes to the Sonic for the 2018 model year, including a few new appearance options and some minor shuffling of features between trim levels. You're probably better off looking for an otherwise identical used 2017 Sonic, which will also likely save you lots cash over a new model. The 2018 Chevy Sonic starts at $15,295, and prices can run over $22,000. Compare that to the 2017 Sonic’s price range of between roughly $11,000 and $15,500.

Read about the new Chevrolet Sonic »

Subcompact cars are usually the cheapest new vehicles you can buy, and some cars in this class retail for less than the average price of a used 2017 Sonic. The 2018 Nissan Versa ($12,110) is one of those, but we don’t recommend buying it. The 2018 Chevrolet Spark ($13,050) comes well-equipped with standard features like a touch-screen infotainment system, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot. However, all of those come standard in the 2017 Sonic. It also may not be worth buying the Spark because of its sub-100 horsepower engine, cramped rear seat, and tiny cargo hold.

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Which Model Year of the Chevrolet Sonic Is Best?

The 2017 Sonic is part of the car's first generation, which debuted for the 2012 model year. There were lots of changes for the 2017 model year that will likely make it a better choice than earlier versions. Chevy refreshed the car's front-end styling, resulting in a sportier exterior appearance. A rearview camera and the touch-screen MyLink infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a Wi-Fi hot spot became standard. New optional features for this model year include rear parking sensors and a heated steering wheel.

If these upgrades aren’t convincing enough, check out an older Sonic, which can likely save you money. There were only a few notable changes over the last few model years, and your savings will probably increase the further you go back.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Sonic »

How Reliable Is the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic?

The 2017 Chevrolet Sonic has an excellent predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Sonic reliability »

2017 Chevrolet Sonic Recalls

At the time of this writing, there are no open recalls for the 2017 Sonic.

See more information on Chevrolet Sonic safety recalls »

Which Used Chevrolet Sonic Model Is Right for Me?

The 2017 Chevy Sonic is available in three trims (LS, LT, and Premier) and two body styles (four-door sedan and five-door hatchback). Although the base Sonic LS is one of the most well-equipped cars in the class – with features like a rearview camera, a touch-screen infotainment system, smartphone integration, and built-in Wi-Fi – it has some downsides. The LS trim has a meager standard engine, and it lacks power windows and cruise control.

For these reasons, you're better off with an LT or Premier. The LT gives you the stronger turbocharged engine, power windows, cruise control, and satellite radio. Some LT models may have features like heated front seats, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and rear parking sensors. The LT is also the lowest trim level that the hatchback model comes in. Regardless of which body style you choose, the LT is the best value.

See 2017 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 2017 Sonic has excellent safety scores. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Sonic five out of five stars overall. The Sonic received five stars in the frontal and side crash tests, along with four stars in the rollover test. In all five evaluations at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Sonic earned the highest possible score of Good.

A rearview camera was newly standard for 2017. Available safety features include forward-collision warning, lane departure warning, and rear parking sensors. These systems can help drivers avoid front, side, and rear collisions.

See Sonic safety scores »

2017 Chevrolet Sonic Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2017 Chevrolet Sonic or 2017 Ford Fiesta?

The 2017 Ford Fiesta has excellent performance for a small car. There are three peppy engine options and a sporty ST model. All trims and models have sharp handling and plenty of agility. However, the Fiesta is a little short on rear passenger space compared to the Sonic, especially for adults. The Fiesta also offers a lot less cargo space. However, this Ford has an upscale interior and offers comforts that the Sonic doesn't, like leather seats. The Fiesta’s subpar safety and predicted reliability ratings are two main reasons it ranks a lot lower than the Sonic (the Sonic earns excellent marks). Otherwise, these are both pretty good cars.

Which Is Better: 2017 Chevrolet Sonic or 2017 Honda Fit?

Like the Sonic, the 2017 Honda Fit ranks near the top of the subcompact car class. There's generous rear legroom and a ton of cargo space, along with a "Magic Seat" that allows you to configure the cabin to fit gear of all shapes and sizes. The Fit is available with options like leather upholstery, but it lacks some of the Sonic's tech like Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. With an optional continuously variable automatic transmission, the Fit gets some of the best fuel economy numbers in the class. Overall, the Fit is a great car. It has balanced performance like the Sonic, though the Fit only offers one engine. You really can't go wrong with either of these small cars.

Compare the Sonic, Fiesta, and Fit »

2017 Sonic Performance

How Does the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic Drive?

The 2017 Sonic's base engine is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that puts out 138 horsepower. It provides enough power for typical commutes. However, you'll want the available turbocharged engine if you do a lot of highway driving. While both power plants have the same horsepower rating, the turbocharged engine has quicker acceleration. Transmission availability includes a five-speed manual, a six-speed manual, and a six-speed automatic.

The Sonic's agile handling and quick steering make it a blast to drive on city streets and through winding roads. It also has a comfortable ride unless you opt for the available RS package, which adds a sport-tuned suspension and larger wheels, resulting in a firmer ride. The Chevy Sonic also feels more planted on the road than rivals like the Honda Fit.

Does the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic Get Good Gas Mileage?

You'll get decent fuel economy for the class with the Sonic’s turbocharged four-cylinder engine with the six-speed manual transmission. With this combo, expect 28 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. Mileage figures go as low as 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway for the base engine with the automatic transmission.

Read more about Sonic performance »

2017 Sonic Interior

How Many People Does the 2017 Sonic Seat?

The Chevrolet Sonic seats five. The seats are among the most pleasant in the class, providing good comfort and space. All Sonic models come with a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and an armrest, which are both rare standard items for the class. The back seats are just as impressive, providing plenty of space for taller adults. Cloth upholstery is standard. A power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, and leatherette upholstery are available.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic?

The Sonic has a complete set of LATCH child-seat connectors for both rear outboard seats and one upper tether in the middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Sonic’s LATCH system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for its ease of use. The lower anchors are set deep in the seats, and you may have some difficulty maneuvering your hands around them. However, attaching the straps to the anchors isn’t difficult, and the upper tether anchors are easy to find.

2017 Chevrolet Sonic Features

Standard features in the 2017 Sonic include a four-speaker stereo, a USB port, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, the MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch touch-screen display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hot spot. Available features include power windows, cruise control, two USB ports, a six-speaker stereo, satellite radio, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a heated steering wheel, proximity key entry, and remote start.

Many of these features are standout amenities for the class, like the infotainment system and smartphone integration. Still, the base model lacks power windows. Physical controls on the dashboard are straightforward and easy to use, and the infotainment menus are straightforward. However, the infotainment system can be a little slow to respond to inputs.

See 2017 Chevrolet Sonic specs »

Read more about Sonic interior »

2017 Chevrolet Sonic Dimensions

Chevrolet Sonic Cargo Space

The 2017 Sonic sedan has 14.9 cubic feet of trunk space, which is good for the class. Hatchback models have 19 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats, which expands to 47.7 cubic feet when the seats are folded. That’s more space than what some rivals offer. A 60/40 split-folding rear seat is standard in the Sonic.

2017 Sonic Length and Weight

The Sonic sedan is 14.5 feet long, and the hatchback is 13.3 feet long. Curb weights range from 2,773 pounds to 2,915 pounds, depending on body style and powertrain.

Where Was the 2017 Chevrolet Sonic Built?

General Motors built the 2017 Chevy Sonic in Lake Orion, Michigan.


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