CleanMPG Reviews the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by xcel, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    If I owned one of these HB, I would store the false floor and the privacy deck permanently in the garage.. keep them from getting dinged up :)
     
  2. basjoos

    basjoos Well-Known Member

    If I owned one of these HB, I would build a boattail on the back and gain better mileage AND increased cargo space behind the back seat.

    My Aerocivic's boattail bumped the mileage up 5-6mpg and gives me over 2 and a half feet of additional cargo space over that of the stock vehicle, yielding over 6 feet of cargo space with the back seatbacks lowered (I can sleep in the back and watch the stars out through the rear glazing). There is enough length inside the vehicle to carry 10 foot long 2X4's completely inside the car.
     
  3. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    I looked up the 2011 Fiesta- just 41mpg at 60 mph- .

    Charlie
     
  4. lightfoot

    lightfoot Reformed speeder

    FWIW, the Gen-3 Prius has a pair of slots in the plastic tray which is underneath the flooring in the rear hatch area. The cargo cover fits perfectly into those slots. But you're right, I will just take it out and leave it at home, pointless to haul it around when I rarely use it (the dog rides back there).
     
  5. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    An area where I thought the Sonic would do better.

    The rear seat room after setting the seat up for me up front is no larger than the Fiesta unfortunately. A lot of headroom but the leg room for rear seat passengers is strictly small B-Segment. This is one attribute where the Honda Fit excels.

    2012 Chevrolet Sonic

    [​IMG]
    Front and Rear Seat room.​

    Wayne
     
  6. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Carcus:

    For colder temperatures, both the Sonic and Cruze did well. You can add another 4 to 5 mpg to the average in 70 degree temps from the 20’s and 30’s the Sonic was subjected to during its steady state tests. A rule of thumb is approximately 2.5% for every 10 degrees above 20 or below 70 degrees F.

    I also performed a 60 mph steady state coming back from the airport early this morning in 26 to 27 degree F temps with a 43.5 result. Averaging, we have 45 mpg result in temps right around the freezing mark.

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  7. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    And two last beauty shots as the press fleet handlers are on their way to pick it up as I type :(

    2012 Chevrolet Sonic

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Wayne
     
  8. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    And about the accident avoidance maneuvers this morning?

    I am not sure what Chevrolet did but this is one of the first small cars Chevrolet has ever done that I felt to be near or at the top of the class. A lane change from 40 mph was handled without a thought with little body roll and only a hint of turn in hesitation. There was only a small amount of understeer at the limits while taking the Sonic through the decreasing radius turn until it broke. All of this with pressures at 35 all around. We are talking about 28 degree F cold temp driving and on cold tires that had been driven < 1 mile before I began. Add to it the front and rear composure when taking the Sonic through the entryway curb at 23 mph that you can see in the vid and Sonic buyers are going to be pleasantly surprised.

    Wayne
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  9. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    2011 Kia Optima Hybrid 7/21/2011

    Temperatures ranged from 87 to 89 degrees F with winds out of the south at 10 to 15 mph. With the tail winds when northbound and headwinds when south, I averaged the two to come up with the following:

    50 mph - 59.95 mpgUS
    55 mph - 53.30 mpgUS
    60 mph - 48.90 mpgUS
     
  10. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    From what I'm taking in, ..I would aaaalmost conider the Sonic Sedan 1.4 6mt as a poor man's hybrid. (the hatch's price takes it out of consideration for the "poor man", imo)

    /would be interesting to see nose to tail mpg compo runs between the Optima Hybrid and the 1.4-6mt sonic

    For once, looks like GM's got a car whose MPG is under-represented in the EPA combined. Any average driver would surely be exceeding 33 mpg tank to tank in this car.

    //GM prolly held the numbers down so they didn't screw up Cruze/Cruze eco marketing.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  11. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Carcus:

    The Sonic is a larger B-Segment offering while the Optima Hybrid is a far more expensive D-Segment touring car that provides even better FE, more passenger volume, far more comfort, features and amenities. Both have approximately the same straight line performance which is pretty impressive for the diminutive Sonic in that comparison.

    Overall and where the Sonic truly excels is that it is so far beyond the Aveo that it replaced to be almost laughable. Considering safety, it buries the entire segment and unless Toyota, Honda, Hyundai/Kia and Ford decide to up their own game with dual front knee airbags and dual outward rear seat passenger side airbags, there is nothing that can touch the Sonic.

    In addition, it is still competitive with the best in class Fit with its superior interior room and versatility along with the Rio with its superior interior/exterior design and content for the price. The Sonic offers a refreshing domestically built choice that a perspective new customer will not regret.

    The LTZ Sedan with the 1.4L and 6-speed stick plus two grand on the hood would take the Sonic to the overall top pick on a value and competitive enough in every other category basis imho. It is that $2K that will be a while and when it does arrive, it will unfortunately harm the residual of current and near term future Sonic owners.

    Wayne
     
  12. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Hi Wayne,

    My main point was:

    In a carefully executed and measured nose to tail compo involving let's say 3 tests, combining the 3 results (city, urban, highway) with the cars driven exactly the same way (average conservative, but not advanced hypermiling) .. the as tested Sonic would exceed the Cruze Eco and would be very close to the Optima Hybrid. In spite of what the EPA has listed for combined MPG on these cars.

    Do you disagree?


    /I had thought about the rebate scenario as well, .... I think $2G's on the hood and these things go flying out the door.
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  13. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Carcus:

    Sort of.

    The Sonic would match the Cruze ECO mpg to mpg if not outright beat it out on the highway. The Optima Hybrid has a few more mpg's on top over a more varied range of topography and conditions.

    In a light city or suburban environment when driven to its limits, the Sonic will easily take down both the KOH and Cruze ECO.

    The item of note here is that the Sonic is a B-Segment entry level car, not a fully equipped super cruiser like the KOH and any other number of D-Segment vehicles. Between the Sonic, the Cruze or the KOH, which would you rather drive across the country? That answer is key as to why D-Segment automobiles still sell as well as they do and bury B-Segment sales month after month.

    Wayne
     
  14. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    Building a car in Michigan with the UAW ain't cheap compared to Korea (Aveo, Accent, Rio) or Mexico (Fiesta, Fiat 500), and I suspect the MSRP reflects this.

    GM's "Ally" (nee GMAC) is offering 2.9 for 60 months on the Sonic, and that saves quite a bit in interest for buyers who typically put 5% or less down on the loan.

    I don't see them tossing cash on the hood for some time to come.

    But I have a GM Card (credit card) with a boatload of "earnings". And it seems that every January, they round the earnings up - in effect adding maybe $1k to the amount available to buy a car. That's about as close to a bonus-cash scenario as buyers are likely to see until the Sonic has been around for a couple of years.
     
  15. Carcus

    Carcus Well-Known Member

    Understood.

    I guess I'm a little doom and gloom in my thinking, but. ....

    I forsee continued hard economic times and elevated fuel prices in the coming years. I can envision that many U.S. households will hang on to one of their older SUV's/pickups (sometimes there is no substitute) and look to replace one of their vehicles with the best low cost high mpg option they can find.

    IOW, I think the B segment market will grow. The Sonic (especially a $2g discounted Sonic) looks like it could be a player in a gloomy forecast.



    / Oh,. .. and was that "sort of agree" or "sort of disagree" ? lol
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2011
  16. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Not bad-45 mpg,and you figure it will get another 5 mpg at 70 degrees with 45-50 psi.
    A $15000(soon) car that gets 50 mpg and isn't a little death trap like the Metro-
    The economy is sooo poor and there is sooo much competition I figure it will be $1500 off in a year or so.
    Thanks
    Charlie
    PS Hmmm Wayne has (sorta')suggested it has performance potential- wonder if GM will sell a hotrod version of it.They sold a Hotrod Cobalt and it wasn't a notably good handling vehicle.
    Maybe the tuner crowd will fall in love with it?-Cheap, light, good handling-dial up the boost-93 octane -strip off the sound deadening, back seat off you go! Should be able to make 180 hp easily enough?
    Is it good handling in a Honda sense or just good for a Chevy?
     
  17. MaxxMPG

    MaxxMPG Hasta Lavista AAA-Vee Von't Be Bach

    Just as the Sonic inventory starts to build by the middle of next year, Chevy will be importing the Spark city car and that will be the new price leader in the showroom. With that in mind, I'm not sure the Sonic transaction prices will fall quite as far or as fast as those of past Chevy small cars. If the Spark arrives stickered at $11-$14k as most are estimating, the Sonic can exist comfortably between the A-segment Spark and C-segment Cruze without much overlap.

    My best guess - the year end 2012 leftover Sonic inventory is more likely to roll out with some sort of summer clearance event that offers 0% @60 financing but with little or no bonus cash. On an $18k loan, no-interest financing saves just over $1350 vs the existing 2.9% rate. Sure, GM has to subsidize that loan behind the scenes, but it preserves resale by not offering $1350 cash off the sticker while keeping the existing 2.9% loan rate.
     
  18. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Carcus:

    Just “Sort of” :D

    Chris, it remains to be seen if anything in the B-Segment can stand $18K + price tags. It is not a lot of car for a lot of money kind of thing.

    For $18,450, you can purchase the 30/40 mpgUS city/highway rated Rio 5-door in SX trim with the AT that offers over and above the Sonic, 4 wheel discs, power folding mirrors, locking fuel door, UVO with rear camera, center console with sliding armrest, dual map lights, leather wrapped steering wheel and shifter. IIRC, it also had a damped door sunglass holder near the upfront dual interior seating lights in addition to the map lights beneath the sun visors.

    The Rio is a much better looking 5-door although it has 2 cu. ft. less passenger volume and 4 cu. ft. less cargo cap. The Rio’s rear seat room however allowed more as the following comparison should provide.

    2012 Sonic 5-door Hatch Review

    [​IMG]
    Much easier rear seat ingress/egress (see the structure cutouts) and more head room but I simply did not fit.

    2012 Kia Rio 5-door Hatch Review

    [​IMG]
    More leg room but ingress/egress and headroom were a bit tight.​

    Within the 12 Rio 5-door, I actually fit in the rear seat with the front seat adjusted to my size. The 12 Sonic was surprisingly not equipped for the same even though it has better specs on paper.

    In addition, the new 2012 Accent 5-door SE with AT and 90.1/21.2 cu. ft. of passenger and cargo room along with everything else at just $17,650 is the real B-Segment value leader. It incorporates a sunglass holder (a minor addition but something I always reach for when driving) but it lacks a telescopic wheel which is baffling?

    I should add that the new Yaris 5-door SE runs $18,140 when similarly equipped but the pathetic 4-speed AT, 103 HP ICE, 30/35 mpgUS city/highway ratings and $195 floor mats (can you believe Toyota charges more than double what Hyundai does for floor mats :rolleyes:), and possibly no telescopic wheel (I will have to look this up sometime…) are non-starters. Ford’s Fiesta SES at > $19K just like the Fit Sport when similarly equipped are $20K vehicles out the door and simply too far out there. Start talking $20K and the far superior 12 Hyundai Elantra Ltd. would find its way into my drive.

    The 12 Rio, 12 Accent and 12 Fit all need more airbags to be truly competitive on the safety front which is the one item that the Sonic truly dominates the field. If I had my family loaded up in any of the above and were to have the unfortunate circumstance of being sideswiped or in a head on, I would rather be in the Sonic than any of the rest. Safety adds a quality all its own and the rest can only look up to the Sonic for guidance on that front.

    Future pricing? It will be interesting. The Fit is still the class leader in versatility and size but its lack of content and sky high pricing are too far up the ladder to be competitive with the new B-Segment crop imho. It is what Kia does with the Rio that will make or break future pricing. Kia can go toe to toe with anyone when the $dollars from heaven begin to fall on the hood and while that has not occurred in the B-Segment ranks yet given all of these are 2011 and 2012 new redesigns (other than the Fit), the first manufacturer to do it will see the rest follow.

    Wayne
     
  19. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi All:

    My own poor attempt to match a front passenger side profile shot of the 12 Rio taken with a $7,000 + USD Nikon D3. I used a $125 Canon A590IS for the 12 Sonic pic in a USPS parking lot in Gurnee, IL :rolleyes:

    2012 Kia Rio SX 5-door Hatch

    [​IMG]

    2012 Chevrolet Sonic LT 5-door Hatch

    [​IMG]

    Darn it, I should have left the parking lights on and turned the wheels inward a few degrees... And used a much better backdrop and a much better camera ;)

    In either case, the Rio is really a sharp looking B-Segment hatch and no matter if you were to choose the Sonic or the Rio, both offer class leading features and value depending on what particular attribute you are considering.

    And as you can tell by this conversation, these are my two top picks amongst the B-Segment field due to value, content, safety, ride, handling and fun to drive quotient.

    While the Fiesta was fun to drive and fuel efficient when pushed to its limits and the Fit’s versatility, actual roominess and possibly 250,000 miles later quality is unmatched, both are a bit too pricy or lack the content to compete amongst the latest B-Segment leaders. Those being the Rio and Sonic.

    Then again, who am I to say what is or is not a better value?

    Wayne
     
  20. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    With the Cruze-stripper model but decently equipped CC and such- selling for $15,500 already- it will be tough to sell these smaller cars for $2000 more.
    Wayne is right-"It is not a lot of car for a lot of money kind of thing" in the USA to some extent-we buy by the foot or lb.The stripper Cruze 1.8 gets "good" mpg by most folks -USA-standards
    Besides if the 1.8 stripper is $15,500 the 1.4 AT will be under $18500-how are you going to sell one of these B's for as much? No one will buy the MT of course-not in the USA.
    I guess it is too expensive to put a AT MT no torque converter MT in one of these under $20,000 cars.
    Many folks who used to by strictly foreign- because the Big 2 had such poor QC- are changing their minds-they will buy Ford/GM (GM should thank Ford for that- car buyers see them as near equivalents in quality)
    Ford is selling Chevys-they have rescued the reputations of USA branded vehicles.
    People won't pay the big premiums for Honda Toyota anymore.
    The crude 1998 GM hulk I own changed my mind- it is reliable with a well developed drivetrain.I was strictly Toyota/Honda for 30 years.
    Charlie
     

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