Author: Steve Allen |

Chevrolet Sonic continues to bring new customers to Chevrolet every day with its youthful design, efficiency and the latest connectivity features.

Sonic remains on the leading edge of technology in its segment, offering OnStar with 4G LTE and a standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot that provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the car is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.

2016 Sonic RS Sedan (L to R) and Hatchback © General Motors

2016 Sonic RS Sedan (L to R) and Hatchback © General Motors

Sonic customers can choose between two body styles: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback in LS, LT, LTZ and RS models.

Sonic RS sedan and a Dusk Package for LTZ sedan provide options for high-style, performance-oriented features. The RS sedan delivers all of the performance-oriented features of the hatchback, while the Dusk package brings a higher level of sophistication with distinctive exterior features and premium interior appointments.

Every Sonic model delivers class-leading rear-seat roominess and cargo space. Other features include:

  • Standard Ecotec 1.8L engine (non-RS models) paired with five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions that deliver an EPA-estimated 35 mpg highway
  • Available 1.4L Ecotec turbocharged engine that, when paired with the six-speed manual, achieves an EPA estimated 40 mpg highway (non-RS models)
  • Standard electric power steering and StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing
  • Standard remote vehicle start on automatic transmission-equipped LT, LTZ and RS models
  • Sedan offers more trunk capacity (14.9 cu. ft. / 422 L), than the larger Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla; and the hatchback and sedan offer better rear-seat room than Ford Fiesta. With a rear seat that folds nearly flat, the Sonic hatchback has greater cargo capacity (47.7 cu. ft. / 1351 L) than Fiesta
  • Connectivity benefits include Chevrolet MyLink radio (standard on LT, LTZ and RS), standard OnStar with six months of Automatic Crash Response, Guidance service, Turn-by-Turn navigation and MyChevrolet mobile app. SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with a three-month trial) is standard on all but the base Sonic, along with USB and Bluetooth streaming audio functionality
  • Ten standard air bags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist; and available rear-vision camera, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning.

In 2016, Sonic delivers three new exterior colors – Nightfall Gray Metallic, Mosaic Black Metallic and Kinetic Blue Metallic – for a fresh, updated appearance.

Youthful, spirited exterior

2016 Chevrolet Sonic RS © General Motors

2016 Chevrolet Sonic RS © General Motors

The 2016 Sonic sedan and five-door hatchback convey sportiness, strength, stability and refinement from every vantage point. Performance-themed design elements include its wheels-at-the-corners proportions, fender flares and motorcycle-inspired round headlamps.

Those design elements are attuned to Chevrolet’s signature cues, such as a dual-element grille and round taillamps. The leading edge of the hood forms a character line above the headlamps, which flows in a sleek side profile characterized by uninterrupted body side lines, a high beltline and low roofline. The side mirrors carry the same shape as the car and seemingly disappear into the profile.

2016 Chevrolet Sonic RS Sedan © General Motors

2016 Chevrolet Sonic RS Sedan © General Motors

Other details that reinforce Sonic’s quality and attention to detail include chrome grille surrounds and matte black honeycomb grille inserts on all models. A range of wheel sizes, including 18-inch alloy wheels, bolsters its sporty demeanor.

Sonic Dusk – an LTZ sedan-exclusive package – includes a Nightfall Gray Metallic exterior color, a unique ground effects styling package, satin aluminum-style trim and 18-inch aluminum wheels with a Pearl Nickel finish.

Aside from the three new exterior colors for 2016, other paint options include Blue Velvet, Red Hot, Silver Ice Metallic, Summit White and Mocha Bronze Metallic. For an additional charge, buyers of LTZ and RS models may choose premium colors White Diamond or Crystal Red Tintcoat. Crystal Red Tintcoat is also available on LT models.

A spacious, modern interior

2016 Chevrolet Sonic RS © General Motors

2016 Chevrolet Sonic RS © General Motors

The Sonic’s interior reflects its motorcycle-inspired exterior with a detailed instrument cluster featuring a large, round analog tachometer set within an asymmetrical LCD readout, with a large digital speedometer display.

Depending on the trim level, Sonic offers two varieties of cloth (LS and LT), perforated leatherette (LTZ) and leather-appointed (RS) seating surfaces. Interior colors and combinations include Jet Black/Dark Titanium; Jet Black/Brick; Dark Pewter/Dark Titanium and Jet Black (RS).

2016 Chevrolet Sonic RS © General Motors

2016 Chevrolet Sonic RS © General Motors

The Sonic Dusk Package offers an exclusive combination of Jet Black leather-appointed seats featuring Mojave tan sueded microfiber accents.

The mid-instrument panel surface flows seamlessly into the upper doors, with premium, low-gloss finishes. The automatic shift knob has a “cobra head” design, while the manual shifter has a chrome-finished knob.

Functionality is at the center of the interior, with storage compartments in the center stack and doors. Rear seats fold virtually flat for carrying larger items such as sports gear. Front bucket seats are standard and heated front seats are available.

Additional interior content includes:

  • Air conditioning is standard on all models
  • Driver information center in the gauge cluster is standard on all models
  • Heated front seats are standard on LTZ and RS
  • Cruise control is standard on LT, LTZ and RS
  • Rear-vision camera is standard on LTZ and RS, and available on LT
  • A leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard on LTZ and a sport-style, flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel is standard on RS
  • A power-operated sunroof is available on LT, LTZ and RS.

Chevrolet MyLink and OnStar with 4G LTE

2016 Sonic RS Hatchback in Blue Topaz © General Motors

2016 Sonic RS Hatchback in Blue Topaz © General Motors

Sonic’s MyLink infotainment system features a seven-inch diagonal touch screen, AM/FM/SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with three months of service) stereo with seek-and-scan, digital clock, Bluetooth streaming audio for music and select phones, voice recognition for compatible smartphones and six speakers. It is standard on Sonic LT, LTZ and RS.

MyLink operates by integrating the owner’s compatible smartphone and stored media – via Bluetooth, plug-in outlet or USB – with the radio. This lets owners enjoy simple, safe and personalized connectivity while their smartphone is stowed. It also makes it easy to accommodate new apps.

The system is easy to use: The owner selects from options projected onto the touch screen: Audio, Pictures & Movies, Telephone, Smartphone Link and Settings. Each menu selection takes the user though a list of functions.

Sonic also is among the first Chevrolet vehicles to offer Siri Eyes Free integration. Through the MyLink infotainment system, customers with a compatible iPhone running iOS6 or iOS7 can direct Siri to perform a number of tasks while they safely keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.

Also, the available BringGo navigation app, the most affordable navigation system in its class, offers easy-to-use features including 3-D maps with lane suggestions, live traffic data and more.

In MyLink-equipped Sonics, owners can use Siri Eyes Free mode to:

  • Make voice-activated, hands-free calls to iPhone contacts
  • Play songs in the iTunes library, and even switch music sources automatically from AM/FM/XM radio to iPod mode
  • Listen to, compose and send an iMessage or text message to a phone number or anyone in saved contacts
  • Access the phone’s calendar and add appointments
  • Minimize distraction by keeping the screen of the iPhone from lighting up, even when Siri answers simple questions such as game scores or the dates of national holidays
  • While in Eyes Free mode, Siri will not provide answers to complex questions that require displaying a web page.

The available BringGo app provides full-function, in-dash navigation via MyLink, as well as live traffic updates and other features:

  • Emergency information such as police, fire and the nearest hospital
  • Thousands of points of interest
  • Local Search via Google
  • Where am I? locator
  • Live traffic functionality provides crash reports and lane closures, and with alternative routes
  • 3-D maps
  • Ability to store native maps to the customer’s compatible smartphone, giving them access to locations and turn-by-turn directions even when phone signal quality is poor.
  • Download on iTunes or Google Play for compatible smartphones.

The TuneIn app connects Sonic customers to live local, international and Internet radio. Users can search for programming by location, genre, sports team name, station type or call sign.

Sonic’s connectivity is also enhanced by OnStar with 4G LTE and a standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. The combination provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected, as the hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on. It comes with a three-month/three gigabyte data trial, whichever is first.

4G LTE is the most current and fastest mobile data network – 10 times faster than 3G and 100 times faster than the previous generation of OnStar hardware. And with OnStar, it also offers stronger, broader coverage than smartphones on the same network and it’s easy to use: If the vehicle is on, the connection is on.

At the time of purchase, six months of OnStar Guidance plan includes all of OnStar’s advisor-based safety and security features, including Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Assistance, as well as turn-by-turn navigation.

Five Years of OnStar Basic Plan includes RemoteLink Key Fob Services, allowing owners to remotely start and lock/unlock a car (if properly equipped), and activate the horn and lights from anywhere with a data connection. It also includes OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics which runs monthly checks of a vehicle’s engine, transmission, anti-lock brakes and more, and Dealer Maintenance Notification, which sends a diagnostic report directly to a preferred dealer to make service scheduling simple.

Sonic powertrains

2016 Sonic RS Sedan (L to R) and Hatchback © General Motors

2016 Sonic RS Sedan (L to R) and Hatchback © General Motors

Sonic LTZ, Dusk and RS feature an Ecotec 1.4L turbo rated at 138 horsepower (103kW) and 148 lb.-ft. of torque (200 Nm) between 1,850 and 4,900 rpm. The engine is also available on LT models and when matched with the six-speed manual transmission, it achieves an EPA-estimated 40 mpg highway.

The wide rpm range for the maximum torque – a specific trait of turbocharged engines – helps the engine deliver a better driving experience and performance. The turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold, for reduced weight and greater packaging flexibility. A reinforced crankshaft and stronger connecting rods deliver additional strength to support the engine’s pressurized power and torque over a wide rpm band.

Sonic’s standard engine, the naturally aspirated Ecotec 1.8L engine, has a two-stage variable intake manifold allowing approximately 90 percent of peak torque from 2,400 rpm to 6,500 rpm. It is SAE-certified at 138 horsepower (103 kW) and 125 lb.-ft. of torque (170 Nm) at 3,800 rpm.

Several transmissions are available on Sonic: a five-speed manual and six-speed automatic with the 1.8L; and a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic with the 1.4L turbo. The LTZ is offered exclusively with the six-speed automatic.

Vehicle ride and handling were tuned for a more direct feel, while balancing the vehicle for the broad range of driving conditions across North America. A standard hill start assist feature makes it easier to pull away from a stopped position when the vehicle is on an uphill or downhill slope.

Sonic RS amplifies the drive

2016 Chevrolet Sonic RS Sedan © General Motors

2016 Chevrolet Sonic RS Sedan © General Motors

Chevrolet Sonic’s youthful appearance and driving experience are intensified in the performance-themed Sonic RS. Unique exterior and interior features are matched with the Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine. Buyers can choose between six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, both featuring more aggressive final-drive ratios.

There’s a dramatic front fascia, with a deep air dam design that enhances its road-hugging stance. Vertical intakes at the edges of the fascia reinforce the wide, low proportion and house the fog lamps. Other features include:

  • RS-specific grille
  • Rear fascia
  • Rear spoiler
  • Rocker moldings
  • Bright exhaust outlet
  • Unique 17-inch five-spoke wheel design
  • Lowered and stiffened suspension with performance-tuned dampers
  • RS badging.

A power, tilt-sliding sunroof with express-open and wind deflector feature is available on Sonic RS. Inside, a Jet Black interior is exclusive to the RS. Other features include:

  • Leather-appointed front bucket seats with sueded microfiber inserts and red RS accents
  • Sport three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel with contrasting stitching and racing-inspired flat-bottom design
  • Leather-wrapped shifter knob with red stitching (manual transmission)
  • Aluminum sport pedals
  • Specific instrument panel cluster graphics.

Sonic safety features

Sonic’s design helps drivers avoid crashes, while protecting the occupants in the event a crash occurs. Its strong body structure is designed to absorb crash energy and provide a protective “safety cage” around occupants. More than 60 percent of the body structure is composed of advanced steels.

Two available crash-avoidance technologies on all but base Sonic models – Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning – also help warn drivers when they are approaching a vehicle in front of them too quickly; and when they venture outside of a marked roadway lane.

A rear-vision camera – available on LT when MyLink is ordered and standard on LTZ, Dusk and RS – provides a view of stationary objects behind the vehicle. Other safety technologies are:

  • Ten standard air bags include side curtain air bags, providing head protection for outboard passengers in the event of a side-impact or rollover crash
  • StabiliTrak electronic stability control system reduces the risk of rollover crashes by keeping the vehicle in the driver’s intended path by applying throttle, braking or a combination of both
  • Power-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes are standard; front and rear disc brakes are standard on RS
  • Four-channel anti-lock braking comes standard, incorporating electronic brake force distribution, which balances braking performance based on road conditions and the weight of passengers and/or cargo
  • Pretensioners minimize forward movement during a collision, and are standard on the front safety belts. Load-limiting retractors cinch the belt more tightly.
  • LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat attachment system included in all second-row seating positions
  • Tire pressure monitoring system on all models
  • Standard OnStar.

OnStar options

In addition to OnStar 4G with LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, Sonic comes with six months of OnStar Guidance service. OnStar is the global leading provider of connected safety, security and mobility solutions and advanced information technology.

OnStar’s RemoteLink Mobile App allows smartphone users to control vehicle functions, access vehicle information and send directions directly to the vehicle. An opt-in service called FamilyLink allows subscribers to stay connected to loved ones by checking the location of their vehicle online or by signing up for vehicle location alerts.


Recommended retail price (MSRP) starts from $14,345

4.3 Out of 5