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.