The Chevy Sonic RS is by far the coolest and sportiest in the Sonic compact lineup from Chevy. A relatively unexpected hit with buyers, the Sonic line from about $15,000 comes as standard with a naturally-aspirated 1.8-liter engine.
Uplevel trims bring the much quicker, much more tune-able and slightly more powerful on-paper 1.4-liter Turbocharged engine upgrade.
With the RS package, the Sonic Sedan now benefits from the RS Hatchback’s exclusive style, handling and equipment enhancements. All good news – and great to see the sedan benefit from some cool style. This is an area where the Ford Fiesta sedan is still extremely uncool – making the Sonic RS four-door a stand-out with its pricing from about $20,000 with almost everything standard.
The 2015 Sonic models are tipped to arrive as soon as August to US showrooms nationwide, with the Dusk LTZ package a month or two later.
The 2014 Sonic RS includes the components of LTZ and adds these RS-specific features:
1.4L turbocharged engine
6-speed manual transmission with performance oriented gear ratios
Chevrolet MyLink† with 7-inch diagonal screen
4-wheel disc brakes
Sport exhaust with chrome outlet
6 premium speakers
Pandora® Internet Radio and Stitcher SmartRadio™† compatibility
17-inch Midnight Silver-painted aluminum wheels
Front fascia with new foglamp design
RS-specific grille, new rear spoiler, rocker moldings, exterior RS badging, and unique mirror cap finish
Leather-appointed sport seats with sueded inserts and a new leather-wrapped sport steering wheel with a racing-inspired design
RS-specific interior trim color for the instrument cluster
2015 Chevy Sonic RS Sedan
New for 2015
- OnStar with 4G LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot (includes 3GB/three-month data trial)
- 1.4L turbo engine now standard on LTZ models
- Exterior color: Blue Velvet
2015 CHEVROLET SONIC ENHANCES
CONNECTIVITY WITH ONSTAR 4G LTE
The Chevrolet Sonic has made a big impact on Chevrolet’s successful small-car lineup, which is bringing new customers to the brand every day. Collectively the lineup in America – also including Spark, Spark EV, Cruze and Volt – saw an 11-percent increase in retail sales in 2013.
In fact, Chevrolet’s overall share of the small-, compact- and mini-car segments has jumped 221 percent since mid-2010, with nearly half of the customers new to Chevrolet.
New for 2015 is OnStar with 4G LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, which provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the car is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial.
Sonic’s youthful design, fuel efficiency, spirited driving experience and unexpected features for the segment are bringing new, younger customers to the Chevrolet brand, along with industry and government awards for value, design and safety. Thirty percent of Sonic buyers are under 35, and nearly half of buyers trade in a non-GM brand.
An advanced safety package including forward collision alert and lane departure warning – crash-avoidance technologies typically found on cars costing more – is available on all but base Sonic models, as well as a rear vision camera.
Ten standard air bags and Bluetooth phone connectivity across the Sonic lineup, as well as standard remote vehicle start on automatic transmission-equipped LT, LTZ and RS models, further enhance Sonic’s value.
The Sonic lineup
Sonic customers can choose between two body styles: a four-door sedan and a five-door hatchback in LS, LT, LTZ and RS models.
Sonic RS sedan and a Dusk package for the LTZ sedan joined the lineup midway through 2014 and return for 2015, giving customers more choices for high-style, performance-oriented sedans. The RS sedan delivers all of the performance-oriented features of the hatchback, while the Dusk package brings a higher level of sophistication to the segment, with distinctive exterior features and premium interior appointments.
Each Sonic model delivers class-leading rear-seat roominess and cargo space. Standard and available features include:
- Standard Ecotec 1.8L engine (non-RS models) paired with five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmissions that deliver an EPA-estimated 35 mpg highway
- Available 1.4L Ecotec turbocharged engine that, when paired with the six-speed manual, achieves an EPA estimated 40 mpg highway (non-RS models)
- Standard electric power steering and StabiliTrak electronic stability control with rollover sensing
- Sedan offers more trunk capacity (14.9 cu. ft. / 422 L), than the larger Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla; and the hatchback and sedan offer better rear-seat room than Ford Fiesta. With a rear seat that folds nearly flat, the Sonic hatchback has greater cargo capacity (47.7 cu. ft. / 1351 L) than Fiesta
- Connectivity includes Chevrolet MyLink radio (standard on LT, LTZ and RS), standard OnStar with six months of Automatic Crash Response, Directions and Connections service, Turn-by-Turn navigation and MyChevrolet mobile app. SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with three trial months of service) is standard on all but the base Sonic, along with USB and Bluetooth streaming audio functionality
- Remote start, heated front seats and sunroof – all rarities in the segment
- Ten standard air bags, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and brake assist.
Sporty, youthful exterior
From every angle, the Sonic sedan and five-door hatchback convey sportiness, strength, stability and refinement. Performance-themed design elements include its wheels-at-the-corners proportions, fender flares and motorcycle-inspired round headlamps.
Those design cues blend with Chevrolet global design hallmarks such as a dual-element grille and round taillamps. The leading edge of the hood forms a character line above the headlamps, which flows in a sleek side profile characterized by uninterrupted body side lines, a high beltline and low roofline. The side mirrors carry the same shape as the car and seemingly disappear into the profile.
Other details that reinforce Sonic’s quality and attention to detail include chrome grille surrounds and matte black honeycomb grille inserts on all models. A range of wheel sizes, including 18-inch alloy wheels, reinforces its sporty demeanor.
Sonic Dusk – offered exclusively on LTZ sedan – includes an Ashen Gray Metallic exterior color, a unique ground effects styling package, satin aluminum-style trim and 18-inch aluminum wheels with a Pearl Nickel finish.
Exterior colors include: Blue Velvet (new for 2015), Red Hot, Ashen Gray Metallic, Silver Ice Metallic, Black Granite Metallic, Summit White and Mocha Bronze Metallic. For an additional charge, customers of LTZ and RS models may choose White Diamond, Crystal Red Tintcoat and Dragon Green Metallic. Crystal Red Tintcoat and Dragon Green Metallic are also available for an additional charge on LT models.
Contemporary, roomy interior
Sonic’s cabin complements its motorcycle-inspired exterior with a detailed instrument cluster featuring a large, round analog tachometer set within an asymmetrical LCD readout, with a large digital speedometer display.
Depending on the trim level ordered, Sonic offers two varieties of cloth (LS and LT) as well as perforated leatherette (LTZ) and leather-appointed (RS) seating surfaces. Interior colors and combinations include Jet Black/Dark Titanium; Jet Black/Brick; Dark Pewter/Dark Titanium and Jet Black (RS).
The Sonic Dusk package is offered in an exclusive combination, with Jet Black leather-appointed seats featuring Mojave tan sueded microfiber accents.
The mid-instrument panel surface flows seamlessly into the upper doors, with premium, low-gloss finishes. The automatic shift knob has a “cobra head” design, while the manual shifter has a chrome-finished knob.
The interior is functional, too, with storage compartments in the center stack and doors. The rear seats fold virtually flat for carrying larger items such as sports gear. Front bucket seats are standard and heated front seats are available.
Chevrolet MyLink and OnStar with 4G LTE
MyLink is standard on Sonic LT, LTZ and RS. It features a seven-inch diagonal touch screen, AM/FM/SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with three months of service) stereo with seek-and-scan, digital clock, Bluetooth streaming audio for music and select phones, voice recognition for compatible smartphones and six speakers.
On Sonic, MyLink operates by integrating the owner’s compatible smartphone and stored media – via Bluetooth, plug-in outlet or USB – with the radio. This lets owners enjoy simple, safe and personalized connectivity while their smartphone is stowed. It also makes it easy to accommodate new apps.
MyLink is simple to use: The owner selects from options projected onto the touch screen: Audio, Pictures & Movies, Telephone, Smartphone Link and Settings. Each menu selection takes the user though a list of easy-to-select functions.
The Chevrolet Sonic and Spark were the first vehicles to offer Siri Eyes Free integration. Through the cars’ available Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, customers with a compatible iPhone* running iOS6 or iOS7 can direct Siri to perform a number of tasks while they safely keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel.
Also, the available BringGo navigation app, the most affordable navigation system in its class, offers easy-to-use features that included 3-D maps with lane suggestions, live traffic data and more. In MyLink-equipped Sonics, owners can use Siri in Eyes Free mode to:
- Make voice-activated, hands-free calls to Contacts on their iPhone
- Play songs in the iTunes library, and even switch music sources automatically from AM/FM/XM radio to iPod mode
- Listen to, compose and send an iMessage or text message to a phone number or anyone in saved Contacts
- Access Calendar and add appointments
- Minimize distraction even more by keeping the screen of the iPhone from lighting up, even when Siri answers simple questions
- While in Eyes Free mode, Siri will not provide answers to complex questions that require displaying a web page.
The available BringGo app provides full-function, in-dash navigation via MyLink, as well as live traffic updates and other features:
- Emergency information such as police, fire and the nearest hospital
- Thousands of points of interest
- Local Search via Google
- Where am I? locator
- Live traffic functionality provides crash reports and lane closures, and with alternative routes
- 3-D maps
- Ability to store native maps to the customer’s compatible smartphone, giving them access to locations and turn-by-turn directions even when phone signal quality is poor. Many GPS-enabled apps do not do this
- Available for download on iTunes or Googleplay for compatible smartphones.
The TuneIn app connects Sonic customers to live local, international and Internet radio. Users can search for programming by location, genre, sports team name, station type or call sign.
Complementing MyLink to enhance Sonic’s connectivity is new OnStar with 4G LTE and standard built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. It provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/three gigabyte data trial.
4G LTE is the most current and fastest mobile data network – 10 times faster than 3G and 100 times faster than the previous generation of OnStar hardware. And with OnStar, it also offers stronger, broader coverage than smartphones on the same network and it’s easy to use: If the vehicle is on, the connection is on.
At the time of purchase, six months OnStar Directions and Connections includes all of OnStar’s advisor-based safety and security features, including Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Assistance, as well as turn-by-turn navigation.
Five tears of OnStar Basic Plan includes RemoteLink Key Fob Services, allowing owners to remotely start and lock/unlock a car (if properly equipped), and activate the horn and lights from anywhere with a data connection. It also includes OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics, which runs monthly checks of a vehicle’s engine, transmission, anti-lock brakes and more, and Dealer Maintenance Notification, which sends a diagnostic report directly to a preferred dealer simplify service scheduling.
The Sonic driving experience
Sonic LTZ, Dusk and RS features a Ecotec 1.4L turbo rated at 138 horsepower (103kW) and 148 lb-ft of torque (200 Nm) of torque between 1,850 and 4,900 rpm. The engine is also available on LS and when matched with the six-speed manual transmission, it helps LS and LTZ models and achieve an EPA-estimated 40 mpg highway.
The wide rpm range for the maximum torque – a specific trait of turbocharged engines – helps the engine deliver a better driving experience and performance. The turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold, for reduced weight and greater packaging flexibility. A reinforced crankshaft and stronger connecting rods deliver additional strength to support the engine’s pressurized power and torque over a wide rpm band.
Sonic’s standard engine, the naturally aspirated Ecotec 1.8L engine, has many of the same features of the Ecotec 1.4L turbo, including:
- It is a compact and durable four-cylinder engine designed for low maintenance, low emissions and fuel efficiency.
- Its two-stage variable intake manifold allows approximately 90 percent of peak torque to be available from 2,400 rpm to 6,500 rpm.
- It is rated at 138 horsepower (103 kW) along with 125 lb-ft of torque (170 Nm) at 3,800 rpm.
Several transmissions are available: a five-speed manual and six-speed automatic with the 1.8L; and a six-speed manual and six-speed automatic with the 1.4L turbo.
Sonic’s ride and handling is tuned for a more direct feel, while balancing the vehicle for the broad range of driving conditions in North America. Its standard hill start assist feature makes it easier to pull away from a stopped position when the vehicle is on an uphill or downhill slope.
Sonic RS turns up the volume
The performance-themed Chevrolet Sonic RS amplifies the Sonic’s youthful appearance and driving experience with unique exterior and interior features matched with the Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine. Buyers can choose between six-speed manual or automatic transmissions, both featuring more aggressive final-drive ratios.
One of the most dramatic Sonic RS cues is its front fascia, which has a deep air dam design that enhances the car’s road-hugging stance. Vertical intakes at the edges of the fascia reinforce the wide, low proportion and house the fog lamps. Other features include:
- RS-specific grille
- Rear fascia
- Rear spoiler
- Rocker moldings
- Bright exhaust outlet
- Unique 17-inch five-spoke wheel design
- Lowered and stiffened suspension with performance-tuned dampers
- RS badging.
A power, tilt-sliding sunroof with express-open and wind deflector feature is available. Inside, a Jet Black interior is exclusive to RS. Features include:
- Leather-appointed front bucket seats with sueded microfiber inserts and red RS accents
- Sport three-spoke, leather-wrapped steering wheel with contrasting stitching and racing-inspired flat-bottom design
- Leather-wrapped shifter knob with red stitching (manual transmission)
- Aluminum sport pedals
- Specific instrument panel cluster graphics.
Sonic safety and security
Sonic is designed to help drivers avoid crashes, while protecting the occupants in the event a crash occurs. Its strong body structure is designed to absorb crash energy and provide a protective “safety cage” around occupants. More than 60 percent of the body structure is composed of advanced steels.
Two available crash-avoidance technologies on all but base Sonic models – Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning – help warn drivers when they are approaching the vehicle in front of them too quickly; and when they venture outside of a marked roadway lane.
Additionally, a rear-vision camera – available on LT when MyLink is ordered and standard on LTZ, Dusk and RS – provides a view of stationary objects behind the vehicle. Other safety technologies include:
- Ten standard air bags include side curtain air bags, which provide head protection for outboard passengers in the event of a side-impact or rollover crash
- StabiliTrak electronic stability control system helps reduce the risk of rollover crashes by keeping the vehicle in the driver’s intended path by applying throttle, braking or a combination of both
- Power-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes are standard; front and rear disc brakes are standard on RS
- Four-channel anti-lock braking is standard and incorporates electronic brake force distribution, which balances braking performance based on such factors as road conditions and the weight of passengers and/or cargo
- Pretensioners minimize forward movement during a collision, and are standard on the front safety belts. Load-limiting retractors cinch the belt more tightly
- LATCH (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren) child seat attachment system, which is included in all second-row seating positions
- Tire pressure monitoring system on all models
- Standard OnStar.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.