2013 Chevrolet Sonic Preview

Jeff Youngs | May 08, 2013
FAST FACTS
  • Bluetooth phone connectivity is standard for 2013
  • Blind-spot mirror is standard on all trim levels
  • New RS trim level is performance-oriented version of Sonic
  • Subcompact car is offered as sedan or hatchback
  • "Green" techniques save energy during manufacturing process

Introduction

The Chevrolet Sonic, known as the Aveo in many international markets, is the smaller of Chevrolet's two sub-compact models, the other being the slightly larger Cruze. It's available in sedan or hatchback configurations. The Sonic was introduced to the U.S. market for the 2012 model year, and 2013 sees the debut of a higher-performance variant called the RS, available only as a hatchback. Several options have been added for 2013, and a few enhancements have been made to the menu of standard features. The 2013 Sonic is offered in four trim levels--base LS, LT, LTZ, and the premium RS--and competes with sub-compacts such as the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, and Hyundai Accent.

Exterior Features

The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic is available in five standard and three premium exterior colors. The base LS trim level features 15-inch steel wheels with all-season tires (and a spare), automatic on-off headlights, solar-absorbing glass, and daytime running lights. Upper trim levels add 17-inch painted aluminum wheels, integrated rear spoiler, fog lights, protective molding, and other enhancements.

Interior Features

The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic offers seating for 5 passengers with standard front bucket seats. Grey cloth upholstery is standard, as are power locks, manual windows, air conditioning, keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, OnStar communications, height-adjustable driver's seat, and a 4-speaker sound system with steering wheel controls. The LT trim level steps up to heated mirrors, power windows, cruise control, upgraded cloth upholstery, a more versatile 6-speaker sound system, and (with the hatchback) a cargo shelf. The LTZ trim level includes heated front seats, premium leatherette upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, and other enhancements. The RS trim level adds a sport steering wheel and leather/faux suede upholstery. The Sonic hatchback offers 19 cubic feet of trunk space, or 30.9 cubic feet with the rear seat folded down. The sedan's trunk measures 14 cubic feet.

Optional Features

The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic offers option packages that add many of the features found on upper trim levels to lower trims, and many features are available as individual options. A power sunroof is available on upper trim levels. The Sonic RS is the performance version, and it adds a turbocharged engine, all-wheel disc brakes, sport-tuned suspension, sportier 17-inch wheels, and exterior trim enhancements, as well as leather upholstery. Available options on the upper trim levels include a choice of wheel treatments, mudguards, all-weather floor mats, and other enhancements.

Under the Hood

Chevrolet Sonic models are fitted with a choice of two 4-cylinder engines, which are available with a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. The standard engine delivers 138 horsepower and produces 125 lb.-ft. of torque. The Sonic RS features a turbocharged version of that engine that raises torque output to 148 lb.-ft. This engine is optional on the LT and LTZ trim levels, and with it the manual transmission gains a sixth gear. The manual transmissions come with a hill-hold feature.

Fuel Economy

EPA fuel-economy estimates for the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic are:

  • Sonic with base engine and manual transmission: 26/35/30 mpg (city/highway/combined)
  • Sonic with base engine and automatic transmission: 25/35/28 mpg
  • Sonic with turbocharged engine and manual transmission: 27/37/31 mpg
  • Sonic with turbocharged engine and automatic transmission: 29/40/33 mpg

Safety

Standard safety features on the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic include a total of 10 air bags, integrated blind-spot mirrors, and GM's OnStar system. All but the RS feature anti-lock front disc/rear drum brakes; the RS upgrades to all-disc.

In government crash tests, the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic received an overall rating of 5 (out of 5) stars, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic received "Good" ratings--the Institute's highest--for frontal-offset and side-impact protection and for roof strength.

Technology

At the upper trim levels, Chevrolet's proprietary MyLink radio includes the latest mobile technology. It works with any compatible smartphone and Bluetooth wireless technology to stream content to its 7-inch high-resolution touch screen. It works via voice commands or touch controls to connect to Pandora or Stitcher SmartRadio or a flash drive or MP3 player through the USB port.
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