Chevrolet Sonic sedan/hatch show fresh styling and new gear

2017, Chevrolet, Sonic

The 2017 iterations of Chevrolet's made-in-Michigan Sonic subcompacts formatted as a 4-door notchback sedan and 5-door hatchback reveal fresh sheet metal styling with a revamped face featuring a new raked hood, revised fascia housing Chevy's wide-mouth grille and sweeping corner light clusters with standard projector-beam headlamps and optional LED daytime running lamps.

New paint shades for 2017 Sonic issues include Orange Burst Metallic, Brimstone, Cajun Red Tintcoat and Arctic Blue Metallic, while all trim versions roll on restyled wheels sized in 15-, 16- and 17-inch diameters.

Within the 5-seat passenger compartment, the 2017 Sonics earn a new gauge cluster with an analog speedometer. More optional comfort and convenience features, such as power controls for the driver's seat, keyless entry and start device, heated fabric-clad front seats, a heated steering wheel and 7-inch-diagonal touchscreen infotainment system supporting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot.

Also, the electronic automatic Rear Park Assist controls included in Sonic's optional Driver Confidence Package.

Chevrolet debuted the stylish and agile Sonic subcompact sedan and hatchback as 2012 models replacing the Korean-built Aveo economy subcompacts.

For 2017 models, the Sonic sedan trims out in three grades -- price-leader LS, upgraded LT, and new luxe-skewed Premier -- while the Sonic hatch comes in the two top tiers of LT and Premier.

The previous Sonic RS special edition -- rigged with a sporty air dam, rocker moldings, and tail spoiler -- on 2017 models becomes an optional RS appearance package offered on LT and Premier trims. Decorative gear in the RS package includes floor mats with the RS badge, Piano Black decor, a sporty flat-bottom steering wheel and new red cloth seat upholstery.

Sonic's two body styles vary toward the tail, where Sonic Sedan shows an arched roof concluding at a brief trunk ledge while Sonic Hatch has the roof extending beyond the lip of the back door before diving down through a liftgate to the body-colored wrap of a tail bumper.

Both vehicles ride on a rigid front-wheel-drive platform with smooth skin dressing the external package in the manner of stylish and edgy European city cars.

The standard engine for LS and LT grades is a naturally aspirated 1.8-liter Ecotech 4-pack that feels downright zippy. The inline-4 plant, with dual overhead cams and variable valve timing controls, delivers 138 hp at 6300 rpm with torque of 125 lb-ft at 3800 rpm.

EPA-estimated fuel economy numbers for the 1.8-liter plant tally to 25/33 mpg city/highway with a standard 5-speed manual shifter on Sonic LS Sedan or 24/34 mpg city/highway with an optional 6-speed electronic automatic.

A turbocharged Ecotec 4-in-line engine displacing 1.4 liters is available on Sonic LT but standard on Premier. The turbo produces 138 hp at 4300 rpm plus 148 lb-ft of torque at 2500 rpm and achieves the highest fuel economy scores when linked to a 6-speed manual transmission, although Chevy also offers the Hydra-Matic 6T40 6-speed automatic. Fuel figures reach 28/38 mpg city/highway with the 6-speed manual or 27/36 mpg city/highway for the auto 6-speed.

Sonic's wheelbase length measures to 99.4 inches long while the distance from the prow up front to the back bumper tallies to 173.9 inches on the sedan and 159.8 inches for the hatch.

Cabin dimensions are generous, despite the pint-size category of subcompacts. Passenger volume measures 90.3 cubic feet with headroom up to 38.7 inches, and legroom to 41.8 inches front, and 34.6 inches rear.

The layout of Sonic's cabin amounts to a pair of bucket seats in front of a bench for three with the seatback split and folding to add room for cargo. The cargo area runs to 14.9 cubic feet for the sedan, but 19 cubic feet for the hatch with rear seatback up or 47.7 cubic feet with rear seatback down.

For seat upholstery, Sonic lists two versions of cloth for LS and LT grades, and perforated leatherette with the new Premier trim.

Price points for Chevy's 2017 Sonic series extend from $15,145 for the LS sedan to $19,720 for a Premier hatchback or $20,415 for the Premier sedan.

By Bob Plunkett

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Images of the 2017, Chevrolet Sonic

2017 Chevrolet Sonic side view
2017 Chevrolet Sonic side view
2017 Chevrolet Sonic front row dash view
2017 Chevrolet Sonic front row dash view
2017 Chevrolet Sonic four door sedan
2017 Chevrolet Sonic four door sedan
2017 Chevrolet Sonic rear view
2017 Chevrolet Sonic rear view