If all you know about Chevrolet’s subcompact cars is limited to the Aveo, prepare to be blown away by the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic that replaced it. In fact, it may be easier to consider the Sonic the “Anti-Aveo” than to list all of the improvements the new car brings over its late and unlamented predecessor. Whether your primary focus is style, content or safety, the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic offers up something for everyone.
Like the rival Ford Fiesta, the Chevrolet Sonic is available in both four-door sedan and five-door hatchback form. Both variants share the same wheelbase and similar front end styling, but hatchback versions get trick hidden door handles for the rear doors. Inside, the Sonic boasts a cockpit-like interior that feels richer than the car’s price would have you thinking. Like the similar but larger Cruze sedan, you get the feeling that Chevrolet’s designers spent some time working on the Sonic’s interior details instead of just pulling parts from the bargain bin.
Buyers can choose between a 1.8-liter four-cylinder or a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, though base LS models come only with the 1.8-liter four. Choosing the base engine will get you up to 30 mpg combined (26 mpg city, 35 mpg highway) if you opt for the five-speed manual transmission, while the automatic returns 2 mpg less combined and 1 mpg less in the city. We much prefer the smoother and more fuel-efficient 1.4-liter turbocharged version, which can return up to 33 mpg combined (29 mpg city, 40 mpg highway) with the six-speed manual or 31 / 27 / 37 mpg with the automatic.
Front seats offer up reasonable head and leg room, though the rear seats are best reserved for children and pets. Opt for the hatchback version, and folding rear seats deliver an impressive amount of cargo room, though it’s still no match for the class-leading Honda Fit here. Seats fold in the sedan version, too, allowing owners to easily handle oversized or odd-shaped cargo. As an added bonus, the Sonic’s cabin is among the quietest in the subcompact class, with neither road noise nor engine noise being a noticeable issue.
The Sonic has scored well in safety testing, too, earning five stars in NHTSA testing and a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. We’d be comfortable labeling the Sonic as the safest pick in the subcompact segment, and Chevrolet has made it even safer with the addition of blind spot mirrors for 2013.
Also new for this model year is Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system, complete with seven-inch color touch screen monitor, Bluetooth phone connectivity, Bluetooth streaming audio, voice recognition and apps like Pandora and Stitcher. MyLink comes standard on LTZ and RS models, and is an available option on LS and LT versions. It’s worth pointing out that even base Sonic LS models come with Bluetooth phone connectivity, which is still optional on models from BMW and Audi.
For more details, see the full review of the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic
on our sister site, TheCarConnection.