Chevy updates last year helped keep the Sonic competitive, adding technology and optional active safety features to this fun-to-drive small car. It has some drawback, though, but most subcompacts are compromised for one or the other.
The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic stands apart from most subcompacts with its standard infotainment system. In most subcompacts, you have to pay extra for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. On the Sonic, it comes standard. And with OnStar, the Sonic lowest trim can have Wi-Fi hotspots and onboard 4G LTE data connections. Finally, the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic is a fun little car to drive, and comes with spacious interiors and large cargo capacity.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic is available in sedan and four-door hatchback body styles. Both can seat five passengers and available in three trim levels: LS (sedan only), LT and Premier.
Standard equipment for the base LS sedan includes 15-inch steel wheels, LED daytime running lights, automatic headlights, manual windows, manual side mirrors, remote locking/unlocking, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a four-way manually adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, a 60/40-split folding rear bench
Tech features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen with Chevy MyLink system, two USB ports and a four-speaker sound system. Also standard is GM OnStar with a Wi-Fi hotspot and a 4G LTE data connection.
The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic LT includes all of the above along with 15-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior accents, power windows, heated power mirrors, remote ignition (automatic transmission), cruise control, upgraded cloth upholstery, front and rear floor mats, a six-speaker stereo system, a second USB port and satellite radio. The turbocharged 1.4-liter engine is standard on the LT with the manual transmission and optional with the automatic.
Optional Convenience package for the LT adds a leather-wrapped steering wheel with heating, a six-way power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, proximity entry with push-button start and an upgraded trip computer with more functionality. The Driver Confidence package adds rear parking sensors, lane departure warning and forward collision alert.
The optional RS package adds 16-inch alloy wheels, a sport body kit, foglights, a rear spoiler, glossy black interior accents, upgraded floor mats and a leather-wrapped sport steering wheel. The Fun and Sun package adds 17-inch alloy wheels, a sunroof and the 1.4-liter engine (the LT automatic). This package can be had with or without the RS package. Opting for Sun and Fun with RS gets you the RS appearance package and a sport-tuned suspension.
The LT hatchback version is similarly equipped but come standard with the 1.8-liter engine and the RS package. It also has similar upgrade packages.
The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic Premier sedan adds 17-inch alloy wheels, the turbocharged engine, proximity entry and push-button start, a heated steering wheel (automatic only), heated front seats, a power-adjustable driver seat and simulated leather upholstery. The manual models get the RS package as standard.
The Premier hatchback with either the manual or automatic transmission comes with the RS package. The Driver Confidence package is available for the Premier sedan, and a sunroof is available as a stand-alone option.
Performance and mpg
The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic LS and LT come standard with a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 138 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a five-speed manual transmission with a hill-hold feature are standard, while a six-speed automatic is available as an option. EPA estimated fuel economy with manual transmission at 29 mpg combined (26 mpg city/35 mpg highway), while the automatic stand at 28 mpg combined (25 city /34 highway).
Optional on the LT automatic and standard on the LT manual and Premier trim is a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine good for 138 horsepower. Although its output mirrors the base engine, it feels more robust thanks to its 148 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic is optional.
In performance testing, the 2018 Chevrolet Sonic hatchback with the manual transmission accelerates from zero to 60 in 8.4 seconds, which is a quick time for a car in this segment. EPA fuel economy rating with manual transmission at 30 mpg combined (27 city/35 highway) and 31 mpg combined (27 city/37 highway) with the automatic.
The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic interior is quite attractive, but its cheap price justifies the sheer amount of hard plastic used throughout the cabin. It earns extra points for comfort, as even a tall driver can find an ideal driving position. Smaller adult passengers will find the rear seat equally accommodating by segments standard, with a decent amount of headroom and legroom.
The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic controls and gauges are well positioned and easy to use. Standard on all trims is a 7-inch touchscreen with the latest Chevy MyLink interface, which also includes smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. MyLink menu is intuitive, so it doesn’t take long for you to master its controls and functions. The only complaint is that it sometimes takes a few taps for inputs to be recognized.
The Sonic sedan 14.9-foot cubic-foot of trunk space is one of the largest in the segment and can be expanded by folding the standard 60/40 rear seatback. The hatchback version boasts 19 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 47.7 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. But it still falls compared to the Honda Fit (52.7 cubic feet) and the Kia Rio (49.8 cubic feet).
Release date and price
The official price for the base LS sedan starting at $16,170 (include $875 destination charge), while the LS sedan with the six-speed automatic starts at $17,370. The LT sedan manual starts at $18,570 and goes up to $20,020 with the automatic transmission. The Premier manual starts at $20,670, while the automatic variant is priced from $21,370.
The LT hatchback with the manual transmission starts at $18,670, while the automatic variant costs $20,070. The Premier hatchback manual starts at $20,670 and the automatic gearbox costs $22,170.