The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic remains a good choice among subcompacts, though it’s now aging and losing some luster.
The 2018 Chevrolet Sonic earned high scores among subcompact cars when it launched seven years ago. Now, as gas remains cheap and utility vehicles have surged, it’s an aging entry in a waning segment. It’s available in base LS, mid-level LT, and high-end Premier trim levels, and changes for 2018 are minimal.
With few new subcompacts in recent years, the Sonic sedan and hatchback remain competitive—though buyers looking for small vehicles may be lured by the Trax small crossover on showroom floors next to those Sonics. Chevy updated their front styling and dashboard last year, adding active-safety features as well. Overall, we give the 2018 Sonic a rating of 6.0 points out of 10, rating it above average for design, safety, and fuel economy. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
On the road, Sonics fitted with the optional 1.4-liter turbo-4 engine are far and away the better choice than those with the slower, louder, harsher base 1.8-liter non-turbo engine. The 6-speed manual gearbox is fun to drive, though the vast majority of U.S. buyers will opt for the 6-speed automatic transmission instead. The Sonic remains quiet on the road, and the new interior that arrived last year is considerably more stylish, less economy-car, than the earlier version.
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Competitors among subcompacts offer different strengths for different tastes. The Ford Fiesta is small but fun to drive, the Honda Fit’s flexible interior is unparalleled, the Nissan Versa is huge inside, and the Toyota Yaris iA (a rebadged Mazda) is a hidden gem. The Sonic remains a good all-rounder against those cars, losing points only for a cramped rear seat. Even in its seventh model year, it holds up well—and buyers will likely find it more affordable these days, as incentives rise on less popular small passenger cars.