Blogging is fun, and sometimes you never know what will happen. How I got this opportunity to test drive and experience a Chevrolet Sonic for a week is still a bit of a surprise to me, especially since it’s such a far stretch from my main topics of food and photography. As part of the invite to the Chevrolet Year of the Dragon Tasting Event, I was offered an experience in a Chevrolet for a week and so with the thought that an open mind equals open doors, I took it and ran. Okay, I drove.
A big part of me was really hoping for a Hedgehog Blue just so I could say “Hey it’s Sonic the Hedgehog”, but the Inferno Orange Metallic works as well, since it’s one of my favourite colours. It’s a very interesting car, because when you look into the history of it, it’s evolved from the Chevrolet Aveo, also known as a Pontiac Wave or a Suzuki Swift+.
The Sonic is the only subcompact car sold in North America that is built in the United States at the Orion Assembly in Michigan. Americans, take pride.
For what it’s worth, almost everyone who’s seen this car has said either “It’s cute” or “It looks sporty/aggressive”. I’m in the second camp, but do have to admit it’s a looker. With the slanted trapezoidal shape of the headlights, it almost looks like it should be a Mitsubishi.
Although it still has quite a bit of plastic, this one had perforated leatherette seats, an absolute joy in the winter, but an absolute horror in the summer. Ladies, your thighs will burn.
I like the large analog tachometer and digital speedometer. Inside you’ll also find there’s a lot of little storage compartments, handy for storing away things. If there’s one thing I find kind of strange, it was the arm rest for the driver. Placed too high and too short to be of any use, it was just annoying.
As for the cargo space, it is a hatchback, so it’s a bit limited. Will it fit a golf bag? Probably not, but I did manage to squeeze in a mid size cooler and a duffle bag. The option to rearrange the space back here with a clever shelving system and even tuck away the cover is very smart.
The base LS model comes with A/C, power locks, remote keyless entry, tilt/telescopic steering wheel and 17″ alloy wheels. The next trim, LT, adds a 6 speaker sound system + XM Satellite radio, power heated mirrors and driver’s side auto-up/down. The LTZ which I tested had all the above plus heated leatherette front seats, cruise control and fog lamps.
A Bluetooth hands-free interface, steering-wheel audio controls, and a USB port for iPod music access are part of a ‘Connectivity Package‘ available only for the LTZ. Oh speaking of the steering wheel, it felt great with nice padded nodules at the 10 and 2 position.
As fun as it was to drive, it felt a bit disappointing when the turbo engine never really kicked in. It sounds loud and fast, but it’s got a bit of a lag whenever I put the pedal to the floor, which takes away from the sporty feel of the Sonic. I’m not going to pretend I know much about cars and engines, so I’ll just say that overall, it was a joy to drive and also economically-smart, $40~ for a fill up!
This particular model, priced with the colour and sunroof, came out to approximately $25,000. A bit expensive, but cheaper than others in its class such as the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, etc.
Photos: Alvin Lee