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Review: A Tale of Two Sonics




Exterior

Will: When the Chevrolet Sonic 5-Door first arrived at the house, the first words that came out of my mom’s mouth were, “That looks like an Aveo.”

Ouch… that is not a good first impression. You could say there’s a resemblance between the Aveo5 and the Sonic 5-Door after a quick glance. Yet, after giving it a good look, the Sonic begins to show some major differences.

One of the resemblances between the Aveo5 and Sonic is the front end. When GM refreshed the Aveo5 2009, they replaced the rounded front end for a blunt one and replaced the grill with now common double grill opening. The Sonic carries on with blunt front end and double grille opening. The big difference between the two lies in the headlight. While the Aveo used a pair of regular headlights, the Sonic goes with a pair of headlights that uses three lenses.

Step around to the side and more differences begin to appear. While the Aveo was plain, the Sonic adds some flair with two character lines running from the front wheel wells to the back. The back door handles are recessed into the window frame, taking a design cue from the W-Body coupes. Finishing off the side is a set a 17-inch 5-spoke wheels standard on the LTZ. Moving to the back, the Sonic's tailgate juts out and new pair of taillights finish the look.

The overall look of the Sonic is aggressive, ready to attack at a moments notice. In comparison, the overall look of the Chevrolet Aveo is like a slice of white bread; plain and boring.
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Drew: I don’t think it looks like an Aveo other than the fact that it’s a 5-door hatch and it has a Chevy face. The angry headlights set in barrels on either side of the aggressive grill really set the Sonic apart from the “Scream Mask” Aveo face. The Aveo was a very upright looking hatch and the Sonic maintains the same basic shape, but adds some sport to the silhouette with the roof mounted spoiler. The wheels look huge on this little car, but that’s not a bad thing. I feel like the tail lights are cartoonishly oversized. They take up more than 50% of the vertical distance of the tailgate.

On to the Interior!





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16 Comments

Got a chance to go through the hatch...gotta say, I like it.

Test drive will be up next.


Major peeve of mine-wheels. I could care less if they are steel wheels with wheel covers, just make them bigger. Bigger wheels fill out the car so much better. Really don't want a LTZ, so I'd have to throw my own wheels on....
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I had a chance to poke around a basic Sonic 5-door hatch with a decent set of rims recently. While I think it's a great, solid car and a great value for money, I realized it has a big problem, at least for me. If you removed all the badges and swapped out the Chevy grille for something a little more non-descript, you feel as if you might be sitting in something Asian. It lacks identity in my eyes, and I have a hard time overlooking that.
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If you removed all the badges and swapped out the Chevy grille for something a little more non-descript, you feel as if you might be sitting in something Asian. It lacks identity in my eyes, and I have a hard time overlooking that.
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Given it's GMDAT origin, it makes sense that it would seem Asian...
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Given it's GMDAT origin, it makes sense that it would seem Asian...


True, but who says a car's origins should dictate it's individuality? Staying within the GM fold, the F5 Camaro was raised by Australians and designed by a Korean and yet there's no mistaking its American. Then there's Chrysler with the new Dodge Dart that's largely of Italian origins and it still somehow comes across as distinctly American.

I mean, look at me. I'm mostly of Irish and Cherokee Indian origin and you don't see me constantly peeling potatoes outside of a teepee ... shaped Casino.

It's not just the Sonic that has this same issue. It's true of the Cruze, too.
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Great review, nice write up folks. Question, is it possible that the tranny in the 1.8L was trashed by earlier drivers? Cars tend to learn their shift points based on how it was driven, maybe someone was a smash the pedal driver and smash the brakes rather than a smooth driver.

Did it seem to smooth out at all over the week you had it? Usually tranny's seem to adapt, but then if it has been trashed, then it might already need some attention. Would be worthwhile to go to a dealership and drive one off the lot to compare the 1,8L with auto with no real driving done to the loaner and see the difference.

Course I would have thought they would have done a check to make sure the vehicle is perfect before loaning it out again to another reporter.
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I guess no one else thought the Tach picture was neat?
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I guess no one else thought the Tach picture was neat?


Well I thought it was neat..

Great review, nice write up folks. Question, is it possible that the tranny in the 1.8L was trashed by earlier drivers? Cars tend to learn their shift points based on how it was driven, maybe someone was a smash the pedal driver and smash the brakes rather than a smooth driver.

Did it seem to smooth out at all over the week you had it? Usually tranny's seem to adapt, but then if it has been trashed, then it might already need some attention. Would be worthwhile to go to a dealership and drive one off the lot to compare the 1,8L with auto with no real driving done to the loaner and see the difference.

Course I would have thought they would have done a check to make sure the vehicle is perfect before loaning it out again to another reporter.


I'm doubting it was thrashed. The Sonic I had for the week had 1800 miles on the odometer.

It didn't seem to smooth out when I drove it for the week I had it. But then again, it has been awhile since I drove it.
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I have often said that I like the sedan over the hatchback model, but this shot has me rethinking that statement:

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I really like that red, and the Sedan now looks frumpy to me :P

The wife fell in love with the upcoming 2013 Chevy Spark at the Philly Auto Show in February (it was shown in Techno Pink). She wants to consider leasing one this summer for work commuting. I am more of a fan of the Sonic and have been unsuccessful in swaying her mind. We'll be at the NYIAS in about two weeks, so we'll see what comes of that (she'll be able to sit in the Sonic, and it would be nice for her to be able to sit in the Spark for comparison).
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I think the Sonic would be a good compromise car for you both, but get the turbo.
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I guess no one else thought the Tach picture was neat?


I thought it was neat also, but the mechanics of the tranny caught me up more.

I wonder if the interior is the same color for all exterior colors and settings.
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You can get an interior with tan inserts also
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I just now thought about the LUW 1.8 Ecotec. They used that particular engine in the Opel/Vauxhall/Saturn Astra didn't they? It's interesting it doesn't seem to boast better mixed mpg in the Sonic than it did in the Astra.

It also seems they managed to bump the torque up from 125 in the Astra to 130-something for the Sonic. I wonder how?
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I'd need to see the power curves. The Astra only had a 4-speed auto
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I thought the Aveo RS concept was nice, and when the Sonic came out, i thought it looked cheap. I have to say though now it's growing on me. and the shape of the hatch is challenging my conventional rhetoric that Coupe > Sedan > Hatch.
GMTG's right, the hatch makes the sedan look kinda frumpy.


and forgive the dislexyia, but I keep reading this as a "A Tale of Two Scions." :P
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I followed a clean, white, uplevel Sonic sedan along winding roads back to my development the other day. I thought it looked pretty good in relation to the competition in the class. The giant LTZ wheels make the car, imo, sedan or hatch... I imagine a profile shot of a metallic red LTZ sedan could elicit some oohs and aahs of its own.

When a girl I went to school with posted on Facebook that she was looking to replace her Hyundai Elantra, I spoke up and suggested she look at Fiesta and Sonic. She and her husband checked those two, plus the new Elantra and the Focus. They came away liking the Sonic 1.4t with manual transmission the most, and are now searching for one with the equipment they want. So hopefully I've helped sell at least one Sonic, even if Blackviper appears to have ignored my advice in his thread a while back.
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I followed a clean, white, uplevel Sonic sedan along winding roads back to my development the other day. I thought it looked pretty good in relation to the competition in the class. The giant LTZ wheels make the car, imo, sedan or hatch... I imagine a profile shot of a metallic red LTZ sedan could elicit some oohs and aahs of its own.

When a girl I went to school with posted on Facebook that she was looking to replace her Hyundai Elantra, I spoke up and suggested she look at Fiesta and Sonic. She and her husband checked those two, plus the new Elantra and the Focus. They came away liking the Sonic 1.4t with manual transmission the most, and are now searching for one with the equipment they want. So hopefully I've helped sell at least one Sonic, even if Blackviper appears to have ignored my advice in his thread a while back.


Hopefully you pointed her to this review also :P
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