The gauge cluster takes a bit of time to get accustomed to, with a large digital speedometer to the right of the 6500-rpm redline tachometer. Along with the speedometer, Chevy has a digital fuel gauge to its left and the customary readouts for gear indicator, odometer/trip odometer and trip computer inside a single aqua-colored pod. There is no temperature gauge and you'll never know how high the speedometer can climb unless you, gulp, test it.
Plastics inside are semi-soft and well put together. There's no covered storage in the front, and the sole amenity for the rear seats is a solitary cupholder, with two in front.
While the base LS 2012 Chevy Sonic starts just under $14,000, this upgraded 2LT model comes in at $17,665 including destination. There were $820 options included, with a Connectivity Plus cruise package for $525 that has remote vehicle start, cruise control steering wheel controls, phone Bluetooth and a single USB port. The 16-inch wheel and fog lamp package is $295 for a total of $17,585.
The road to and from Las Vegas includes plenty of climbs from sea level to more than 4000 feet. After leaving Baker, drivers are advised to turn off their air conditioning to avoid overheating.
2012 Chevrolet Sonic 4-door Sedan 1LT Instrument PanelEnlarge Photo
What was fun was working the intuitive audio system, which featured satellite radio, two FM, and one AM bands with sufficient speaker capacity. There's a single auxiliary plug and a 12-volt as well. The heating, air conditioning and ventilating controls on the center stack are intuitive too, and there's a good, open grippy storage area at the base of the stack.
I commend the seats, as well, for their ability to keep a driver comfortable for the four-hour drive (up) and six-plus-hour drive (back) to and from LA. We did stop once each direction, but there was no fatigue to speak about.
There is a courtesy light inside the trunk and there are tie-down hooks, plus there's a 60/40 folding rear seat to get more carrying space inside the Sonic sedan.
The front fog lights have to be turned on each time the ignition goes on and headlights are used, and there's a light dip for the signals and a single pass on the wipers. I found the trip computer confusing to work without a manual in the car, as it ratcheted back and forth in all its intricacies.
2012 Chevrolet Sonic 4-door Sedan 1LT Instrument ClusterEnlarge Photo
When I stopped for fuel on the ride back, a gentleman stopped to admire the Sonic, saying that it was far better than his old Aveo. I'd have to agree with that, but the Chevy Sonic with the 1.8-liter engine still has a way to go to be ready for LA prime-time traffic.
© 2011 Anne Proffit