2018 Chevrolet Sonic

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MSRP: $15,295 - 21,320

2018 Chevrolet Sonic Review

The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic sits near the top of our subcompact car rankings, thanks to its energetic performance and comfortable cabin. Other things to like about the Sonic include a well-equipped infotainment system.

Pros & Cons

  • User-friendly and well-equipped infotainment system
  • Comfortable, roomy front seats for the class
  • Ample cargo room
  • Balanced, sharp handling

 

  • Below-average fuel economy with base engine

 

Is the Chevrolet Sonic a Good Car?

The 2018 Chevy Sonic is a good subcompact car. It has ample engine power to scoot past underpowered rivals on the highway, and it can deftly navigate a crowded parking lot. Both rows of seats provide plenty of space and comfort, and the infotainment system is straightforward and user-friendly. Because the Sonic has one of the best overall combinations of quality and value in the class, it was a finalist for our 2018 Best Subcompact Car for the Money award.

Should I Buy the Chevrolet Sonic?

The Chevy Sonic is a great buy if you're looking for a small car that's fun to drive, comfortable, and loaded with value. A lot of this car's appeal is its price, which is near the middle of the class. On top of that, even the entry-level trim includes an alluring number of standard features, like a Wi-Fi hot spot and enhanced smartphone integration. The Sonic comes in several different configurations. You can choose between sedan and hatchback body styles, a lively base engine and a stronger turbocharged engine, and either a manual or automatic transmission.

Still, you shouldn't take buying a new car lightly, and there are some other worthy options in the class. The Honda Fit offers an even roomier back seat than the Sonic, along with swanky upgrades like leather upholstery. Spirited drivers who want a little extra zing in their daily travels should check out an alternative like the Ford Fiesta.

Compare the Sonic, Fit, and Fiesta »

Should I Buy a New or Used Chevrolet Sonic?

The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic is essentially unchanged from the 2017 model year. There are some new appearance options, and a few features have been shuffled between trims. Shopping for a used 2017 Sonic gets you a similar car to a new 2018 model, but likely for less money. Models that are even older could save you more money over a new car, but the 2017 Sonic received some updates that older models won't have. The 2017 refresh included updated exterior styling and more standard features, including a rearview camera, the MyLink touch-screen infotainment system, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

To research used models in this generation, check out our review of the 2015, 2016, and 2017 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 2016, 2017, and 2018 Chevrolet Sonic »
We Did the Research for You: 87 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 87 Chevrolet Sonic reviews and included details such as safety features and fuel economy estimates for this comprehensive overview. This 2018 Chevrolet Sonic review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which spans the 2012 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and we have more than 75 year of combined automotive experience. In addition, each year we issue awards for the Best Cars for Families and Best Cars for the Money. To keep our recommendations impartial, we use a third party for our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Chevrolet Sonic Cost?

Prices for subcompact cars range from about $12,000 (for the Nissan Versa) to more than $24,000 (for the Mini Cooper Clubman). The Chevy Sonic falls close to the average for the segment, with its base LS sedan kicking things off at $15,295. Additional sedan trim levels include the LT ($18,595) and Premier ($20,695). Starting prices for the Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback range from $18,695 to $20,695.

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 Chevy deals page.

Chevrolet Sonic Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Sonic or Honda Fit?

The Honda Fit is another one of our highest-ranked subcompact cars, and for good reason. It's one of the most fuel-efficient models in the class, and it offers a spacious, adult-friendly rear seat. The Fit should be on your list if you have a long commute or routinely ferry around several passengers. It also offers more driver assistance and advanced safety features than the Sonic, further strengthening its case as an everyday driver. Both are excellent small cars, but the Fit is a little better.

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Sonic or Ford Fiesta?

If you like the zippy driving dynamics of the Chevrolet Sonic but want to turn it up another notch, take a look at the Ford Fiesta. This car feels agile and light on its feet, and there's a performance-oriented Fiesta ST model that delivers even more fun. However, the Fiesta has significantly less cargo space than the Sonic, and it can't match the Sonic’s great predicted reliability rating.

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Sonic or Hyundai Accent?

The Hyundai Accent offers a couple of positives, like a lengthy comprehensive warranty and comfortable ride quality. However, it has fewer standard features and can't match the Sonic in our rankings.

Compare the Sonic, Fit, and Fiesta »

Sonic Interior

How Many People Does the Sonic Seat?

The Sonic stands out as one of the most comfortable small cars on the market. It has seating for five, with pleasant cushioning and touches like a standard driver's seat armrest (not a given at this price point) that make the Sonic comfortable enough for a full day of driving.

Sonic and Car Seats

The Sonic’s three tether anchors are well-marked and easy to use. Each outboard seat also has a set of lower anchors. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH child-seat system a Marginal rating (the second-lowest) for ease of use. The anchors are hard to access because they're recessed too deep in the seat cushions, and they're difficult to move around when installing a car seat.

Sonic Interior Quality

The Sonic's low price means lesser interior materials and styling. Fair amounts of hard plastics are present inside the Sonic, though the high-quality seats and large, modern infotainment display add a touch of class.

Sonic Cargo Space

The Sonic sedan has a 14.9-cubic-feet trunk, which is enough space to hold two medium suitcases and two sleeping bags. That's also more space than you get in the sedan versions of the Kia Rio and Ford Fiesta. The hatchback is even more generous, at 19 cubic feet.

Sonic Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Every Sonic comes with an infotainment system powered by the Chevrolet MyLink interface. It's one of the easiest systems to learn and use. Plus, a wealth of features comes standard, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a high-speed Wi-Fi hot spot.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Sonic Performance

Sonic Engine: Pick Turbo for More Gusto

The base Sonic comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers enough kick to scoot you around town without complaint. If you spend a significant amount of time on the highway, or just prefer something a little peppier, you'll want the Sonic LT or Sonic Premier, which are powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine and turn the Sonic into an energetic ride.

Sonic Gas Mileage: A Little Below So-So

Of the Sonic's two available engines, you'll get the best fuel economy with the turbocharged four-cylinder mated to a manual transmission. It's rated as high as 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway for the sedan and hatchback. With the automatic transmission, the Sonic returns 27 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. That's a shade below average in our subcompact car rankings. The base engine is even thirstier, at 26 mpg city/35 mpg highway with the manual transmission. You’ll get 1 mpg less on the highway with the automatic transmission.

Sonic Ride and Handling: Composed and Comfortable

Unlike subcompact cars with handling suited only for city streets, the Sonic is both nimble enough for urban landscapes and smooth enough for highway journeys. Pick the Premier trim if you like a sporty feel, and the LS or LT trim for a softer ride.

Read more about performance »

Sonic Reliability

Is the Chevrolet Sonic Reliable?

The 2018 Sonic has an excellent predicted reliability rating: a 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power. The Sonic shares this class-leading score with only the Kia Rio, Toyota Yaris, and Toyota Yaris iA.

Chevrolet Sonic Warranty

Chevrolet covers the 2018 Sonic with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Sonic Safety

Sonic Crash Test Results

The 2018 Sonic has an overall safety rating of five out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It earns top scores in its frontal and side crash tests and four stars in rollover simulations. The Sonic performed well in Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests, earning the best rating of Good in all five evaluations.

Sonic Safety Features

Every Sonic comes with a rearview camera. Available safety features include forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and rear parking sensors.

Read more about safety »

Which Chevrolet Sonic Model Is Right for Me?

The Sonic comes as a four-door sedan (trim levels include LS, LT, and Premier) and a five-door hatchback (available in the LT and Premier trims only). A 1.8-liter engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission is the standard powertrain. Uplevel models come with a turbocharged 1.4-liter engine and a six-speed manual transmission. A six-speed automatic is available in every model.

The Sonic LS is a great buy. It comes nicely equipped with goodies like Apple CarPlay and a Wi-Fi hot spot, plus essentials like power door locks and air conditioning. However, if cruise control and power windows are a necessity for you, you'll have to step up to the Sonic LT.

Chevrolet Sonic LS

Available only as a sedan, the base Sonic LS comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. Prices start at $15,295 with a five-speed manual transmission and $17,395 with a six-speed automatic. Standard features include air conditioning, power door locks, keyless entry, cloth seats, and a rearview camera. The infotainment system consists of the MyLink interface, a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a four-speaker stereo, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a USB port, and OnStar's built-in Wi-Fi hot spot with 4G LTE internet access.

Chevrolet Sonic LT

A turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed manual transmission are standard at this trim level. Deluxe cloth upholstery, power windows, cruise control, dual USB ports, satellite radio, and a six-speaker stereo are also included. Depending on whether you pick the manual or automatic transmission, prices range from $18,695 to $19,295 for the sedan. You'll pay between $18,695 and $20,095 for the Sonic LT hatchback.

Chevrolet Sonic Premier

The Sonic Premier has the same powertrain options as the Sonic LT. Standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats with six-way power adjustments, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a proximity key, push-button start, and a sport-tuned suspension. Retail prices start at $20,695 for the sedan (add $700 for the automatic transmission) and $20,695 for the hatchback (plus $1,500 if you want the automatic transmission).

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

See 2018 Chevrolet Sonic specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2018 Chevy Sonic stands tall among other subcompacts because of its combination of price, amenities, and comfort. These attributes create a pleasant daily driver, with lively performance to entertain the driver and a well-equipped infotainment system to regale every occupant. The Sonic's below-average fuel economy is one of the few marks against it.

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

  • "The 2018 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
  • "The 2017 Chevrolet Sonic is a subcompact that competes well with the likes of the Ford Fiesta, the Kia Rio and the Honda Fit. The Sonic may be small, but its interior is really quite roomy and filled with handsome, high-quality materials. There are lots of little goodies one wouldn't expect from this type of vehicle, such as an available power driver's seat and a heated steering wheel. Although the Chevrolet isn't as roomy as the Honda Fit nor as fun to drive as the Ford Fiesta, the Sonic offers buyers a nice go-between, teaming good value with great fuel economy at a reasonable price." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "There's no shortage of cars to choose from if you need something small and cost-effective. The 2017 Chevrolet Sonic stands out for its comparatively roomy interior, many standard features and available hatchback body style. It's even fun to drive, especially if you opt for the turbocharged engine." -- Edmunds (2017)
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