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2020 Chevrolet Sonic Performance Review


Performance: 7.5

The 2020 Chevrolet Sonic gets ample power from its turbo-four engine, and it's more fun to drive than most competitors thanks to its nimble handling. The ride quality is hit-or-miss, depending on whether or not you have the available sport-tuned suspension, and many other subcompact cars get better fuel economy.

  • "In our short time behind the Sonic's wheel, we came to think of it less as a subcompact commuter car and more a poor-man's Mini Cooper." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "On the road, the … Chevrolet Sonic feels more solid and refined than other subcompact sedans and hatchbacks." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "The Sonic's dark horse is the … 138-hp 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. Available with manual or automatic transmissions, the 1.4-liter Ecotec engine … makes for some seriously fun driving." -- Autotrader (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The Chevrolet Sonic comes standard with a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain does a good job propelling the Sonic around, and it feels energetic in most situations. However, it can struggle a bit when climbing steeper hills.

According to EPA estimates, the Sonic gets 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. Those are subpar ratings compared to the rest of the subcompact car class.

  • "We also like the Sonic's turbocharged engine, which is standard this year. It makes a respectable 138 horsepower and a gutsy 148 pound-feet of torque. This torque makes the Sonic responsive and increases the fun-factor." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "Its 1.4-liter turbocharged engine is a cut above the competition, offering plenty of power for merging with traffic." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "On flat to slightly sloping uphill runs, the 1.4-liter turbo was incredibly zippy. While we didn't measure it ourselves, Chevrolet claims the engine can get the car to 60 miles per hour in about 8 seconds -- a claim that our experiences certainly supported. However, the turbo tended to lose power on moderate-to-steep uphill climbs." -- Autotrader (2018)

Handling and Braking

The Sonic has sharp steering and handles well, and it's more fun to drive than several other options in the class. That sportiness comes at the cost of ride quality, however. Models with the available sport-tuned suspension tend to feel harsh over bumps. Models with the standard suspension are more compliant. Front-wheel drive comes standard in the Sonic; all-wheel drive is not available.

  • "The Sonic is a spirited little car with good steering and handling, especially with the sport-tuned suspension. … Unfortunately, there's lots of tire noise over rough surfaces, and the sport suspension delivers a ride that borders on harsh." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "As subcompact cars go, the … Chevy Sonic places an equal emphasis on efficiency and fun-to-drive dynamics. The Sonic delivers a stable and smooth ride, precise steering and a nimble suspension that can be upgraded with Chevy's enthusiast-oriented FE3 Sport suspension package. We found the Sonic more engaging than the Toyota Yaris or Kia Rio, but not quite as lively as the Ford Fiesta." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • "Where the Aveo was slow and dull-witted in corners, the Sonic is quick and surprisingly agile." -- Autotrader (2015)
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2020 Chevrolet Sonic

MSRP: $16,720 - $21,520

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