By Paula MacPherson
This 2012 Chevrolet Sonic initially fooled me into thinking it was a two-door coupe. I wanted to place some items in the backseat, but the front seat back wouldn’t fold forward. I completely missed the back door, with its handle hidden in the post between the rear side and back windows.
I was a good sport about this subterfuge once I settled down and enjoyed the Sonic. It drives very nicely. The level of pep from the engine is surprising, the transmission is easy and fun to shift and I loved the clear display. There is a large electronic digital readout for speed just to the right of the round, analog tachometer. The gauge cluster, which Chevrolet says is motorcycle inspired, also shows fuel level, compass direction and one other performance factor. In our review car, we chose to keep it on miles per gallon. This display constantly hovered between 33 mpg in city traffic and 37 mpg on the highway. We settled on 35.1 after a full week, which is very good.
The view while backing up isn’t the best, but the view ahead is good, even for a shorter driver. I liked the double glove boxes – the top one is designed to hold your portable MP3 player, among other items – and all the interior cubbyholes. These range from console-mounted cup holders to door-mounted water bottle receptacles. There are also two handy cubbies on either side of the radio.
The controls are very easy to use. The heater is powerful and the climate controls, while low on the center of the instrument panel, are a snap to master. The windshield angle is steep enough to make a windshield mounted navigation system quite a reach.
I give the Sonic top marks. It’s fun to drive, feels solid, rides comfortably and gets very good gas mileage.