The Good The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ gets 40 mpg on the highway thanks to an efficient engine and a six-speed manual. Clever design in the cabin includes the instrument cluster and an upper glove box for electronics. Hill hold takes the stress out of stopping on an incline.
The Bad Onboard navigation is not available. The Bluetooth system does not make the phone's contact list available through voice command.
The Bottom Line The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ turbo is a competent driver with good fuel economy, but its cabin tech falls behind the compact-car competition.
2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ
After decades of driving manual-transmission cars, I like to think I know when to shift up. But the 2012 Chevy Sonic LTZ turbo had other ideas. As I drove this six-speed-manual-equipped car down a coastal highway, the up arrow icon on the instrument cluster lit up consistently before what I felt was the right time to take a higher gear. By 50 mph the Sonic LTZ turbo wanted to be in top gear.
In this new era when automakers try to eke every bit of fuel economy out of their cars, even the driver is not safe from efficiency engineering. On a flat road, the Sonic's shift suggestions were perfectly reasonable, but on any ascent the small engine just did not have the oomph to idle uphill. Despite what the car might think, downshifts were necessary.