The Sonic is Chevy's new compact car, replacing the Aveo. It comes as a hatchback or sedan, with two engine choices. Back to review.
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The Sonic uses Chevy's current grille arrangement, crossed laterally by a bow-tie bearing bar. As with most cars today, the Sonic features a high beltline. The sides feature a clean design and the roof is rounded for internal headroom. Back to review.
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The base engine on the Sonic is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder, but this turbocharged 1.4-liter is available as a $700 option, bringing fuel economy up by about 5 mpg. Back to review.
4 of 17 Josh Miller/CNET
The front seats offer plenty of room, but rear-seat legroom suffers if there are taller front-seat occupants. Back to review.
5 of 17 Josh Miller/CNET
The suspension is very basic, and the Sonic only uses disc brakes on the front wheels, with drums on the rears. But the ride quality is good, engineered well for a compromise between rigidity and comfort. Back to review.
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The trunk has some depth to it, easily fitting one standard CNET editor. Back to review.
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Although interior quality has been improving across the board, the Sonic still features plenty of hard plastics in the cabin. Onboard navigation is not an option, but the Sonic does have OnStar, which can provide turn-by-turn route guidance. Back to review.
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The Sonic uses an electric power-steering system, taking load off the engine. It is slightly overboosted, so the wheel turns very easily. Back to review.
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Controls for the stereo and voice command system are embedded on the right steering-wheel spoke. Back to review.
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This instrument cluster is a unique design, taking up little space yet providing all necessary information. Back to review.
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This six-speed manual transmission comes with the turbocharged engine option, helping the Sonic achieve its 40 mpg highway EPA number. With the 1.8-liter engine, the choices are a five-speed manual or automatic. Back to review.
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The radio interface is easy to use, although the circular buttons for audio source choices are more stylish than practical. Back to review.
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The radio maintains the "left knob volume, right knob tuning" paradigm. With satellite radio, the right knob scrolls through a list of stations. Back to review.
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A convenient hatch above the glove box has a USB port, and works well for storing electronics. Back to review.
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With the USB port, iPod integration comes standard. The stereo will also read MP3 tracks from a USB thumbdrive. Back to review.
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The six-speaker audio system is not very good, but the stereo includes equalizer presets for different types of music. Back to review.
17 of 17 Josh Miller/CNET
The Bluetooth phone system is primitive compared with those found in vehicles from other carmakers. It does not read a phone's contact list, instead requiring digits. Back to review.