2018 Chevrolet Sonic Expert Review

4.3 Overall Score
Performance 4.2 Comfort 4.3 Styling 4.2 Value 4.3

Editor's Overview

The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic is slightly larger and more powerful than the Chevy Spark, but not quite as big as the compact Cruze. In this sweet spot, 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.

You'll Like The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic If...

If you find most small-crossover SUVs too expensive and fuel thirsty, yet you need room for passengers and/or cargo, the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic can help bridge the gap. Affordable, efficient and offering the latest in infotainment and driver safety, the Sonic breaks the small-car stereotype.

You May Not Like The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic If...

If you regularly travel with friends, family, dogs or lots of gear, the Sonic may be too small to accommodate all your needs. You’ll find the Sonic’s optional driver-assist features standard on the Toyota Yaris, while a base Subaru Impreza delivers more room, features and standard all-wheel drive for around $20,000.

What's New

The Chevy Sonic receives some minor tweaks for 2018, mostly centered around some package shuffling and new color options.

Interior Features

Whether sedan or hatchback, the Sonic's 5-passenger interior is eye-pleasing, roomy for its size and has an air of sophistication thanks to the standard 7-inch touch screen that dominates the center front of the cockpit. The rear seat is one of the roomiest in the segment, and the versatile and recommendable hatchback models offer 47.7 cubic feet of cargo room with rear seats folded. That's still less than a Honda Fit hatchback, but the Chevy has more space than the Honda with the rear seats up -- 19 cubic feet vs. the Fit's 16.6. We also like the handy dual-glove-box arrangement.

Exterior Features

All 2018 Chevy Sonics have small footprints and tidy proportions. We favor the design of the hatchback, which reminds us of classy-yet-practical European models, featuring hidden rear-door handles in the black areas of the C-pillars that make the Sonic hatchback appear more like a 2-door. For traditionalists, the sedan offers a large trunk. Both versions benefit from an attractive face that makes the Sonic appear wider and better integrates the headlight housings. The RS package, standard on hatchbacks and available on sedans, features a unique body kit and rocker moldings, rear spoiler and other sporty bits.

Driving Impressions

As subcompact cars go, the 2018 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. Then again, few of its competitors offer the option of a turbocharged engine, another factor in the Sonic’s playful demeanor. If you go with the standard 1.8-liter engine, you won’t be disappointed with the driving experience, but it doesn’t offer that added punch that makes turbocharged cars so much fun. 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. We also appreciate the driver-seat’s built-in right-side armrest.

Pricing Notes

The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) just over $16,000 for a manual-transmission LS sedan, or $17,270 for one with an automatic transmission. Unless you don't mind cranking your own windows, rolling on steel wheels and not having cruise control, we recommend stepping up to the LT sedan or hatchback, each starting below $18,600. Loaded, even the slightly pricier Sonic 5-door hatchback checks in below $25,000. The Sonic's price is in line with the Toyota Yaris and slightly less than the Honda Fit. It's not quite as low as the Nissan Versa, Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent, Ford Fiesta or the hard-to-recommend Mitsubishi Mirage. Still, this subcompact Chevy represents a good value. Before buying, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying. The Chevy Sonic's resale value is expected to be below that of leaders like the Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris.

Notable Equipment

The 2018 Sonic sedan is available as LS, LT and Premier, while the pricier Sonic hatchback is offered in LT and Premier form. The lowest priced LS Sedan includes some surprisingly sweet features but lacks others. For instance, it includes a robust 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with CarPlay and Android Auto, rearview camera, built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi connectivity and remote keyless entry, but lacks cruise control, power windows or power-adjustable mirrors. We recommend the hatchback or stepping up to the LT sedan, which includes a standard turbocharged engine, better-quality cloth seating, 6-speaker audio and those features lacking in base models.

Notable Options

Top-line Sonic Premier models have the most robust set of features, including Leatherette upholstery with heated and power-adjustable front seats, heated steering wheel, 17-inch wheels, sport suspension, fog lights, and the RS package that bundles unique interior and exterior aesthetics. Options include a power sunroof and a lowering-suspension kit to improve handling on LT and Premier models. The option we most recommend -- and a great value at $495 -- is the Driver Confidence Package that includes forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning and rear-park assist. It, too, is available on all but base LS sedans.

Favorite Features

CHEVROLET MYLINK

You’ll find some compact cars costing far more that don’t offer the standard audio setup in the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic. Every model includes a 7-inch touch screen that controls Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth, OnStar 4G LTE and an available Wi-Fi hotspot.


BIG SAFETY FEATURES

Standard safety features on every Chevy Sonic include 10 airbags, anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control. Optional are forward-collision alert (but not prevention) and lane-departure warning systems.


Under the Hood

There are two engine choices for the Sonic, each more than merely acceptable. The base 1.8-liter 4-cylinder cranks out good power and is entirely adequate, especially for younger drivers. The pricier alternative is a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that’s sportier and makes more torque, and thus goes quicker, but has as its main advantage a 2-5-mpg gain in highway fuel economy, depending on transmission. For that, the 1.8-liter is available with a 5-speed manual transmission, the turbo 1.4-liter with a 6-speed manual, and both can be matched with a 6-speed automatic. In our experience, we found no reason not to like any of the transmission choices.


1.8-liter inline-4

138 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm

125 lb-ft of torque @ 3,800 rpm

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/35 mpg (5-speed manual), 25/34 mpg (6-speed automatic)


1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4

138 horsepower @ 4,900 rpm

148 lb-ft of torque @ 2,500 rpm (manual)/1,850 rpm (automatic)

EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/37 mpg (6-speed manual), 27/35 mpg (6-speed automatic)

Editors' Notes

In an age where tiny houses are all the rage, it only makes sense someone builds a tiny car to park in the driveway. The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic is just such a car, slightly larger and more powerful than the Chevy Spark, but not quite as big as the compact Cruze. In this sweet spot, 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.

Road Test Video Reviews

2018 Chevrolet Sonic Owner Reviews

4.58
45 Reviews
67% 24% 9% 2 star 0% 1 star 0%
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Chevy Sonic: the perfect car for everyone.

The Chevy Sonic is a great car. It is small yet spacious so it is perfect for me. I love the luxury of having a smaller vehicle with a big back seat and trunk space. This allows not only for me to be comfortable but my passengers as well. It is a great car for a road trip as well. It has great highway miles and drives very smooth. I love the touch screen radio and the reverse camera it is very helpful. My favorite feature yet is the carplay feature. This feature allows you to hook your phone up to the car and read and reply to messages right from the screen. This feature keeps your eyes on the road and not down at your phone. You can also use it for maps so you are not trying to find it on your phone. It will be right there bigger and more clear. The only downside is that those in the car can see and hear your messages as well. The interior is very chic and modern. There are many features of the car that I am still learning but they are all so useful so far. Starting with the percent of oil left in the car. Though you know about how far you can drive until the next oil change that feature helps a lot. Along with the tire pressure. It is getting cold out and keeping up with the tire pressure is very important. Also with the tires there are locks on them so a person can not just take your tires off of your car. There has not been any problems with my car thus far. I love every bit of it.

- Essence R

Love the reliability and gas mileage!

I just bought this car about 2 months ago. I previously owned a Sonic hatchback and loved it so figured I would also love the four door sedan version. I definitely do! It's reliable which is important for me being a woman and not knowing much about cars. I also get great gas mileage and considering I drive 30 miles one way to work, it's a huge bonus. I can pay $25 where I live and fill up my tank. It's a little tight in the backseat being a small car. But since it's just me, it doesn't bother me. Overall, highly satisfied with this car and would recommend

- Michelle M

All in all the Chevy sonic its a dependable and inexpensive way to get around.

I really like that my car is small very compact that it fits almost anywhere I want to park it and it's really easy to do with the camera feature it has. It's not very comfortable inside not a lot of legroom for the kids and the seats are very hard. The gas mileage its ok it saves me gas money better than other cars. All in all I am satisfied with my vehicle purchase but it's not all I hoped it would be. Trunk space its average but for a family of 4 not enough.

- Angel M

Must buy and great value Chevy Sonic.

The car is great for busy city travel and can fit anywhere. Apple carplay is a nice added feature and would not drive without it. The only negative is no passenger armrest and all my passengers complain about it. As a driver I have no complaints with it. Great on gas especially if not hard on the gas pedal. I would recommend buying this car to anyone looking for a cheap new car to get from point A to point B that will e reliable.

- Justin K

Seat warmers, Bose sound system, reverse camera, Bluetooth, map when you connect.

This is my all time favorite vehicle. I love the royal blue color, camera when I reverse because it gives me eyes where I would need them the most, the surround sound to turn it up when I am alone, the seat warmers on cold mornings and it is so spacious yet small compact car for just me and my husband so it is perfect. Gas efficient, we love taking her on road trips because of the money we save.

- Brittany M

Easy driving, easy to maintain.

It gets really good gas mileage. It is small enough to get in and out of places without having a hard time parking or getting out of a parking spot. The interior is very stylish with red and grey and the mats have the red Chevy sign which I think it is really nice. I appreciate the safety features that will not let you text or use your phone while you are driving. The price wasn't bad either.

- Faye H

The reliable Chevy sonic lt.

My 2018 Chevy sonic is amazing on gas. It is extremely spacious in the inside and the trunk is rather big. I love the fact that my back seats go down to make more trunk space. I am a college student so I drive to my hometown a lot which is about an hour away. The ride is really smooth the whole time. The seats are comfortable, so driving long distances without stopping is not a problem.

- Cian K

Small but spacious hatchback

The inside of the vehicle isn't very attractive (I think it is supposed to look sporty). The acceleration is not that strong. The stereo sounds good, especially for such a small car. It has a good back up camera and is spacious for a hatchback. It is easy to park anywhere due to the small size. It is also relatively comfortable.

- alexis A

2018 Chevy sonic lt premier package

The car is relatively cheap and efficient in gas mileage. The performance of the vehicle is not outstanding but definitely enough to drive comfortably, whether that be on highway, interstate, freeway, or normal roads. I've even taken it off road 'wouldn't recommend that because it's a small car' but it still managed to get through it.

- Nicholas W

This car is great for long car rides, due to the great gas mileage.

This vehicle is a really good compact car. Great gas mileage. Runs really smooth. Comes with a month free of onstar and XM radio. Build in wifi. Has google maps for directions. USB port for your smartphone. Has hands free capability. Great for long car rides or just for getting back and forth to work. A great car all around!!

- Sarah S

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