First Drive: 2012 Chevrolet Sonic

This chassis balance becomes all the more evident when we set out on the track in two capable competitors -- the Honda Fit and Ford Fiesta. Both of them prove much more reticent to change directions at speed and to rotate under braking. Somehow, the porky Chevy feels like a nimbler cone carver than either the Honda or the Ford. The numbers bear that out, as we post our best times of the day in the Sonic, though it's worth noting we had three times as many tries than in either competitor. That's not to say the Sonic was our clear favorite to drive. Like the larger Cruze, its steering is far too light, a trait that belies its accuracy. And though its six-speed manual is sufficiently smooth, it still doesn't match the Fit's five-speed for precision or its clutch-to-throttle calibration.

You have our attention, Chevy
Ultimately, a few hours spent drifting around in second gear leaves us with more questions than answers. For one, we'd like to see how the Sonic performs on real roads and against more competitors, particularly the feather-light Mazda 2. We also still wonder if GM, spurned by its disastrous experiment with the Saturn Astra, wouldn't have been better off adapting the handsome Corsa for our market as Ford has done so successfully with the Fiesta. Still, our morning at the track proves the Sonic will be a formidable and intriguing offering. And it should get better. Chevy will follow the fall launch of the Sonic hatchback and sedan with a Z-spec appearance kit and, sometime later, with a more substantive RS suspension package. An SS, we're told, is still "vaporware" at this point, but is certainly in the cards.

3 of 3
Robert Ballinger
After totaling my car in Sept, I rented this car in the hatchback.  I loved this car and have recommended this to my friends in the market to buy a new car.  Minus:  Rattling noise under the hood at higher speeds.
clintrx
First Drive: 2012 Chevrolet SonicJanuary 01, 1900 / By David ZenleaWow....Was that date a typo ?i love the trend for most mini and small autos to offer accessories found in the larger versions.
RMB1
Buick will have the Opel astra and I hope they add the Corsa. In additiion in Australia they have the Holden Astra uitlity(pickup), with advertised starting price of 19,000 au dollars.Buick needs this utility and not a truck for families needing part time uitility needs.Start a new fuel saving line of utility (pickup) in the USA
MITSUMAN12
ok it is alittle heavy chevyso to counter that weight just add alittle more grunt to the engine it is turbo'ed up the boost 148hp/158lb-ftthat should help! thats an easy fix if they would do it!
David.Zenlea
An update: Chevy says that though the 1.4-liter turbo will launch solely with the six-speed manual, an automatic will be added early in 2012.
GriddleJim
Wow. Beyond ugly. What is with the giant grille and headlights? They only serve to make the car look smaller. There is no balance or grace to this design. If I had to drive a sub compact, I would choose the Hyundai Accent, Ford Fiesta, Mazda 2, Toyota Yaris, or Honda Fit. Basically anything other than this ugly duckling.
jabrother
How could you give this thing a chance? It's too heavy and probably will be overpriced. From this short article about a pre-production drive on a short autocross, I have little hope for this piece of shit. How is this going to be as good as a Fit, Mazda 2, etc??
RabidTribble
Wow Daye, That some remarkable insight into something you couldn't possibly know yet. If you don't plan on giving it a chance, just say so.
Daye
The Sonic may be a vast improvement over the Aveo, but it is not as well- equipped or engineered as the new Hyundai Accent and it doesn't look as good as either the Accent or the Fiesta.

New Car Research

our instagram

get Automobile Magazine

Subscribe to the magazine and save up to 84% off the newsstand price

subscribe

new cars

Read Related Articles

TO TOP