2015 Chevrolet Sonic

What's new for 2015? For 2015, all Chevrolet Sonic LTZ models come standard with the turbocharged engine, and 4G WiFi hotspot capability is standard across the lineup.

When considering the 2015 Chevrolet Sonic for your driveway, a bit of amnesia will help. Specifically, you'll want to forget the many subpar small cars over the years. The good news is that the 2015 Sonic makes your job easy. Score one for the home team, because this endearing American-built subcompact is fully competitive against the imports that have traditionally dominated the segment.

Offered as a sedan or four-door hatchback, the Sonic feels more refined and substantial than its size would suggest. Its well-tuned suspension provides both steady handling and respectable ride comfort, giving the Sonic the character of a miniature Volkswagen Golf. The optional turbocharged four-cylinder ratchets up this runabout's performance potential. The turbo-4 also claims an impressive combined EPA rating of 33 mpg with the manual transmission.

Inside, the Sonic has impressed us with its sensible, user-friendly control layout and standard 4G WiFi hotspot capability. The Sonic offers alluring options, too, including an up-to-date touchscreen interface, a rearview camera and advanced safety features like forward collision alert and lane-departure warning.

Exterior Highlights
Available in sedan and four-door hatchback body styles, both of which can seat five people. Available in LS, LT, LTZ and RS trim levels

The 2015 Chevrolet Sonic is available in sedan and four-door hatchback body styles. Both can seat five passengers. Four trim levels are available: LS, LT, LTZ and RS.

LS models offer 15-inch wheels, automatic headlights, manual mirrors with integrated blind-spot coverage, power locks, remote keyless entry, manual windows, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, a height-adjustable driver seat, 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a trip computer, Bluetooth phone connectivity, OnStar telematics (with 4G LTE WiFi) and a four-speaker sound system with an auxiliary input jack.

The LT adds 15-inch alloy wheels, chrome exterior accents, heated power mirrors, upgraded cloth upholstery, cruise control, power windows, remote ignition (automatic transmission only) and a six-speaker sound system that includes satellite radio.

Moving up to the LTZ gets you the turbocharged engine, 17-inch alloy wheels, foglights, simulated leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a rearview camera and the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system (optional on the LT) with a 7-inch touchscreen interface, smartphone app integration, Bluetooth audio connectivity and a USB/iPod interface.

The RS adds four-wheel disc brakes, a sport body kit with a rear spoiler, a sport-tuned suspension, unique 17-inch wheels, sportier exterior trim, leather and simulated suede upholstery and a sport steering wheel.

A sunroof is optional for LT, LTZ and RS, as is an Advanced Safety package that adds lane-departure warning and forward collision alert. The LTZ sedan also offers a "Dusk" package that includes 18-inch wheels, four-wheel disc brakes, unique exterior styling and leather and simulated suede upholstery. Powertrains and Performance

The standard engine on 2015 Chevy Sonic LS and LT models is a 1.8-liter four-cylinder that produces 138 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission with a hill-hold feature is standard, and a six-speed automatic is available as an option. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 30 mpg combined (26 city/35 highway) with the manual transmission and 28 mpg combined (25 city/35 highway) with the automatic -- below-average results for the subcompact segment.

A turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder is standard on the LTZ and RS (and optional for the LT). Although its 138-hp output mirrors the base engine, it feels more potent thanks to its 148 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard, while a six-speed automatic transmission is optional. Fuel economy in the LTZ and LT trim is rated at 33 mpg combined (29 city/40 highway) with the manual and 31 mpg combined (27 city/37 highway) with the automatic. The RS trim's sportier gearing results in lower estimates of 30 mpg combined (27/34) with the manual and 28 combined (25/33) with the automatic.

In Edmunds performance testing, a turbocharged Sonic LTZ hatchback with the manual accelerated from zero to 60 in 8.8 seconds, quick for this segment. During a yearlong Edmunds test of a turbocharged manual LTZ hatchback, however, we found it difficult to match the EPA's fuel economy estimates in real-world driving.

Attractive interior, comfortable seats with generous head and legroom, well laid out gauges and controls, MyLink touchscreen interface with voice controls

The interior of the 2015 Chevy Sonic is attractive. It earns extra points for comfort, however, as even tall drivers can find a driving position that works. Smaller adults should find the rear seats similarly accommodating by segment standards, with decent amounts of head- and legroom.

The Sonic's gauges and controls are well laid out and easy to operate. Among the more intriguing features is the available MyLink touchscreen interface with voice controls (including Siri Eyes Free for iPhone users) and smartphone integration. MyLink allows you to enjoy Internet radio apps such as Pandora, and you can also add navigation capabilities via the inexpensive "BringGo" app. However, the screen sometimes frustrates with its failure to register touch inputs. The sedan's 14-cubic-foot trunk is among the largest in the segment and can be expanded further with the standard 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks.

Every 2015 Chevrolet Sonic comes standard with traction and stability control along with antilock brakes (front disc/rear drum on the LS, LT and LTZ trim levels and four-wheel discs on the RS and Dusk-package models). There are knee airbags for front seat occupants, front seat side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags. Also standard is OnStar, which includes automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle assistance and remote door unlocking.

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