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2018 Chevrolet Sonic Review

The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic ranks near the top of the subcompact car class thanks to its large cargo capacity, many standard features, roomy cabin, and solid handling.

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

Rankings & Awards

The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic's #6 ranking is based on its score within the 2018 Subcompact Cars category. It was a finalist for our 2018 Best Subcompact Car for the Money award. Currently the Chevrolet Sonic has a score of 8.3 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 87 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 8.1
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 9.8
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2018 Chevrolet Sonic Overview

Is the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic a Good Used Car?

Yes, the 2018 Chevy Sonic is a very good used subcompact car. It’s small enough to easily zip through city streets, but it’s also spacious for the class. It’s a solid car for urban singles or young couples.

The 2018 Sonic has plenty of perks:

  • Above-average cargo space in both sedan and hatchback body styles
  • Roomier cabin than many competitors
  • Comfortable front seats
  • Straightforward infotainment system with high-tech features
  • Easy to maneuver in tight corners
  • Well-balanced ride in base model
  • Available sport suspension for sharper handling
  • Outstanding safety scores

But it has a few flaws:

  • Subpar fuel economy and lackluster highway performance with standard engine
  • Base model only available in sedan body style
  • Some low-rent cabin materials
Why You Can Trust Us

Our Chevrolet Sonic review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 87 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic?

Based on listings for the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic on our site, the average price is $14,800, which is below average for the class. Prices range from $12,000 to $17,000 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic Cost to Own?

The 2018 Sonic’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be around $23,650, or $4,730 per year. That’s a little above average for a subcompact car.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Sonic?

The 2019 Chevrolet Sonic, which starts at $15,420, comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that was only an option in 2018 models. While the turbo has the same horsepower rating as the old base engine, it feels a bit peppier. Otherwise, there were no major changes for 2019. Purchasing a used 2018 Sonic with the available turbo-four instead of a new Sonic may save you some money.

Read about the new Chevrolet Sonic »

Chevrolet introduced the Sonic for 2012. It’s undergone a lot of changes since then but has yet to receive a redesign. Start your shopping with the 2017 model. It’s the first Sonic with standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as available rear parking sensors. It also features a refreshed exterior. There were no major updates for 2018, though Chevy shuffled some features and trim levels.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Sonic »

See the Best New Car Deals »

See the Best New Car Lease Deals »

How Reliable Is the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic?

J.D. Power gives the 2018 Chevy Sonic a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Read more about Sonic reliability »

2018 Chevrolet Sonic Recalls

At the time of writing, there is one recall for the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic:

  • The seatback frame joint may be improperly welded

Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Chevrolet Sonic safety recalls »

Which Used Chevrolet Sonic Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic sedan comes in three trims: LS, LT, and Premier. The Sonic hatchback has two trims: LT and Premier. While the base Sonic LS has an admirable number of high-tech features, it’s missing some key conveniences, like power windows. Additionally, you may be disappointed by its sluggish engine. The turbocharged four-cylinder in upper trims provides a little more oomph for frequent highway drivers.

  • Chevrolet Sonic LS: The base Sonic LS is only available as a sedan, and it comes with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a five-speed manual transmission. Standard features include air conditioning, power door locks, keyless entry, a rearview camera, and a Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with 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: The Sonic LT upgrades the powertrain to a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a six-speed manual transmission. Cloth upholstery, power windows, cruise control, dual USB ports, satellite radio, and a six-speaker stereo are also included.
  • Chevrolet Sonic Premier: The Sonic Premier comes with the same powertrain as the LT trim, and its standard features include synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats with six-way power adjustments, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a proximity key, and push-button start. The Sonic Premier hatchback is also available with a sport suspension.

See 2018 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?

In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety evaluations, the 2018 Sonic received the highest rating of Good in five crash tests. Properly equipped Sonics earned the lowest rating of Basic for front crash prevention.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Sonic an overall safety rating of five out of five stars. The Sonic earned five stars in frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover evaluation.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • rearview camera

Available advanced safety features:

  • forward collision alert
  • lane departure warning
  • rear parking sensors

See Sonic safety scores »

2018 Chevrolet Sonic Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2018 Chevrolet Sonic or 2018 Honda Fit?

If good gas mileage is a priority, consider the 2018 Honda Fit, our winner of the 2018 Best Subcompact Car for the Money. It's one of the most fuel-efficient models in the class, besting the Sonic by 8 mpg in combined city and highway driving. The Fit is also a better option for transporting multiple passengers, as it has exceptionally roomy seats and more cargo space than the Sonic. The Honda has a much nicer interior and is available with more driver assistance features than the Chevy. Though the Fit does have a slightly lower projected reliability rating than the Sonic, it comes out ahead in just about every other area.

Which Is Better: 2018 Chevrolet Sonic or 2018 Hyundai Accent?

The 2018 Hyundai Accent and Chevy Sonic are both ranked in the top third of the subcompact car class. They offer a similar amount of trunk and cabin space, and both have user-friendly technology and fairly agile handling. That said, the Hyundai doesn’t come as well-equipped as the Chevrolet, and its one engine option is underpowered. Additionally, the 2018 Accent isn't available as a hatchback. Unlike the Sonic, it's only available as a sedan. The Sonic is the better value.

Compare the Sonic, Fit, and Accent »

2018 Sonic Performance

How Does the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic Drive?

The Sonic’s base four-cylinder engine has adequate power for quick commutes and city travel. However, if you’re frequently on the highway, you’ll prefer the slightly zippier available turbocharged 1.4-liter engine. The Sonic's tight turning radius makes it easy to navigate around sharp corners. Its standard suspension does a good job absorbing weather-beaten surfaces, while the Sonic Premier’s sport suspension and larger wheels offer livelier handling and stiffer ride quality.

  • Base engine: 138-horsepower 1.8-liter four-cylinder (LS trim)
  • Available engine: 138-horsepower turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder (LT and Premier trims)
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard five-speed manual; available six-speed manual and six-speed automatic
Does the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic Get Good Gas Mileage?

The Chevrolet Sonic has below-average fuel economy estimates with the base engine. You’ll get the best gas mileage with the available turbocharged engine.

  • 1.8-liter: 25/34 mpg city/highway
  • 1.4-liter turbo: 27/35 mpg

Read more about Sonic performance »

2018 Sonic Interior

How Many People Does the 2018 Sonic Seat?

The 2018 Sonic seats five people in two rows. It’s one of the roomier subcompact cars available. Rear-seat legroom is limited, but there’s enough space to accommodate a couple of adults for short distances. The front seats provide all-day comfort. The interior surfaces are made up of mostly hard plastics and low-grade materials, but the high-tech and intuitive infotainment system helps give the cabin a modern look.

Standard seating features:

  • cloth upholstery
  • four-way manually adjustable driver’s seat
  • two-way manually adjustable front passenger seat
  • 60/40 split-folding rear seat

Available seating features:

  • deluxe cloth upholstery
  • synthetic leather upholstery
  • heated front seats with six-way power adjustments
  • leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • heated steering wheel
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic?

The 2018 Sonic has two complete sets of LATCH child car-seat connectors on the rear outboard seats and an upper tether on the rear middle seat. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use.

2018 Chevrolet Sonic Features

The Sonic comes with a long list of standard features, including the user-friendly MyLink infotainment system, which features straightforward menus. Still, the display screen can occasionally lag when responding to inputs.

  • Standard infotainment features: the Chevrolet MyLink interface with 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
  • Available infotainment features: dual USB ports, satellite radio, and a six-speaker stereo
  • Additional standard features: air conditioning, power door locks, and keyless entry
  • Other available features: power windows, cruise control, a proximity key, push-button start, and a sunroof

See 2018 Chevrolet Sonic specs »

Read more about Sonic interior »

2018 Chevrolet Sonic Dimensions

Chevrolet Sonic Cargo Space

Both Sonic body styles offer plenty of cargo space. The sedan has a 14.9-cubic-foot trunk, which is a good number for the class. Hatchback models have 19 cubic feet of room behind the seats and a total capacity of 47.7 cubic feet. A split-folding rear seat comes standard.

These cargo dimensions are for comparative purposes. There is no substitute for visually examining the storage area in any car you’re considering.

2018 Chevrolet Sonic Length and Weight
  • Length: 13 feet, 4 inches (hatchback) to 14 feet, 6 inches (sedan)
  • Curb weight: 2,773 to 2,915 pounds

Where Was the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic Built?

Chevrolet built the Sonic in Michigan.


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