Used Car Review

2014 Chevrolet Sonic: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions November 2015

With a stiff structure, ride and handling developed by Corvette engineers and a proven powertrain portfolio adapted from the 300-lb heavier Cruze, the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic squares off against established subcompact contenders, such as the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit. Both 4-door sedan and 5-door hatchback versions are available. The hatch is 14.1 inches shorter than the sedan, providing up to 31 cu ft. of cargo space with the rear seat folded. Built in the U.S., the Sonic can deliver up to 40 miles per gallon on the highway with the optional 1.4-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine and 6-speed manual transmission. New for 2014 is a 4-door sedan version of the sporty RS model. Also new on 2014 Sonic is a backup camera, which is standard on the RS and LTZ and optional on the LT model, as well as optional forward-collision and lane-departure warning systems.

The Sonic is a good used-car choice, offering an impressive interior package, comfort and sporty handling in a fuel-efficient subcompact layout. Plus, Chevrolet parts and servicing are readily available.

What We Like

Sedan and hatchback body styles; fuel economy of 1.4-liter engine; sporty RS model; communicative steering; roomy trunk; motorcycle dash design; 10 standard airbags

What We Don't

Cramped rear seat; disappointing fuel economy with the 1.8-liter engine; hard-plastic door armrests; heavy for its size

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic has two available engines, both rated at 138 horsepower but with very different performance characteristics. On all but the new RS model, the Sonic's standard engine is a 1.8-liter dual-overhead-camshaft (DOHC) 4-cylinder with four valves per cylinder, continuously variable intake and exhaust cam-phasing. The 1.8-liter must be revved to a lofty 6,300 rotations per minute to make its 138 hp and produces 125 lb-ft of peak torque at 3,800 rpm. It burns regular unleaded gas and is the only engine available on the base Sonic LS. The 1.8-liter has Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ratings of 26 miles per gallon in the city and 35 mpg on the highway with the standard 5-speed manual transmission and 25 mpg city/35 mpg hwy with the optional 6-speed automatic.

The 1.4-liter turbo is optional on the LT and LTZ and standard on the RS. The turbocharged 1.4-liter DOHC turbo 4-cylinder also produces 138 hp but at a more accessible 4,900 rpm. It also develops a more robust 148 lb-ft of torque over a broad range of 1,850-4,900 rpm, so it doesn't have to work as hard in traffic. The turbocharger kicks in at low speed, so there is no noticeable turbo lag. It also runs on regular unleaded (although premium will help performance in hot desert climates) and is EPA-rated at 29 mpg city/40 mpg hwy with the 6-speed manual and 27 mpg city/37 mpg hwy with the 6-speed automatic.

Standard Features & Options

The 2014 Sonic is available in LS, LT, LTZ and RS trim.

The LS includes air conditioning, cloth upholstery, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver's seat, a fold-down center driver's armrest, automatic headlamps, remote keyless entry, OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation, a 4-speaker AM/FM stereo, 15-inch steel wheels with hubcaps, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, 10 airbags and power door locks. Bluetooth for phone and steering-wheel controls is now standard.

The LT adds heated power mirrors, power front windows, upgraded cloth trim, 15-in alloy wheels, cruise control and an up-level 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 stereo with SiriusXM radio. Optional on LT are wider 205/55 tires on 16-in alloy wheels, fog lamps and the 1.4-liter turbo and 6-speed manual transmission.

The LTZ comes standard with heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, the up-level 6-speaker stereo, Chevrolet MyLink infotainment, fog lamps and 205/50 tires on 17-in alloy wheels. The 1.4-liter turbo engine, remote starting, a power sunroof and a rear spoiler are optional.

The RS comes with the standard 1.4-liter turbo, short-geared 6-speed manual, 4-wheel discs, 17-in alloys, a lowered ride height, stiffer springs and shocks, aluminum sport pedals, a bright exhaust tip, a leather-wrapped shifter, a flat-bottom steering wheel and leather and suede seat coverings.

Pricing

The Chevrolet Sonic is a great small car, but it lacks the track record of offerings from brands such as Toyota and Honda. Steeper depreciation, however, means there will be some bargains out there, especially on the used-car lots of competing brands.

For an idea of the 2014 Sonic's price range, check out the Kelley Blue Book used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2014 Sonic:

Exposed wires on the optional engine-block heater risk electrical shock when the heater is plugged in.

A fuel-tank strap bracket may separate, allowing the tank to come loose, leak fuel and create a fire risk.

A loose airbag electrical connector may keep the driver's front airbag from fully deploying in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.

Recall repairs are required by law, even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed and, if not, will fix the car for free.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

NHTSA gave the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic five stars for frontal and side impacts and four stars for rollover performance.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2014 Sonic 4-door sedan a Marginal rating for small-overlap front impacts and a Good rating for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, roof strength and head-restraint and seat-crash performance. It didn't test the hatchback.

General Motors covered the 2014 Sonic with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.

Chevrolet certified pre-owned (CPO) cars cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or less. Every CPO Sonic undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those passing receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus whatever remains on the transferable, original 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage. Also included is a 2-year/30,000-mile maintenance plan with roadside assistance.

Other Cars to Consider

2014 Ford Fiesta -- Also available as a 4-door sedan or 5-door hatchback, the Fiesta delivers sporty handling, good fuel economy and the latest in infotainment and safety systems. For 2014, a 120-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder is joined by a 123-hp 1.0-liter 3-cylinder turbo economy model and a 197-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder turbo ST-performance variant. Rear-seat room remains cramped and the 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is jerky.

2014 Toyota Yaris -- This subcompact is available as a 3- or 5-door hatchback. Toyota's entry-level car delivers the basics and is powered by a modest 106-hp 1.5-liter 4-cylinder, teamed with a 4-speed automatic or 5-speed manual transmission. The latter combination is EPA-rated at 30 mpg city/37 mpg hwy.

Autotrader's Advice

Unless you need the security of a trunk, choose a Sonic hatchback. It's way shorter than the sedan, easier to park and maneuver and has more cargo space with the rear seat folded. The base 1.8-liter isn't bad, but it won't deliver the fuel economy and performance that makes 1.4-turbo Sonics fun to drive. Look for a Chevrolet certified pre-owned Sonic when available, and check with the dealer to make sure the car you're considering has had safety-recall items resolved.

Find a Chevrolet Sonic for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
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Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LT Sedan
Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic
$7,995
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LT Sedan
Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic
$7,996
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic RS Hatchback
Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic
$12,500
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
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Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LS Hatchback
Used 2014 Chevrolet Sonic
$7,900
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2014 Chevrolet Sonic: Used Car Review - Autotrader