2014 Chevrolet Sonic RS

Economical, eco-friendly urban turbocharged small sedan.

  • Likes
  • Large trunk
  • MPG
  • Forward Collision Alert System
  • Dislikes
  • Somewhat rough ride

Aimed at millenials on a budget, the Chevrolet Sonic RS sedan is a smart and efficient city car that comes loaded with a host of cool modern amenities. Recognizing the needs of plugged-in young adults, the Sonic RS boasts buzzy connectivity features including Chevy's MyLink with voice-recognition for Pandora and other apps. Bluetooth for streaming audio is also standard. Beyond the savvy spec sheet, the Sonic RS is an economical and even somewhat sporty small car. It has decent room for four. The cabin, thanks to a long dashboard and plenty of window area, feels airy and spacious.

Our test car's leather seats, steering wheel and shifter trim were a pleasant surprise, showing genuine attention to detail. On the opposite side of the spectrum, the center stack's expanse of shiny hard plastic reminded us that the Sonic is still an economy car. The dash, with its motorcycle-inspired analog tachometer/digital speedometer combination, is a cool idea, but the design leaves something to be desired.

Our Sonic RS came with lots of things we enjoy, like a turbocharged engine and six-speed manual transmission, so we had high hopes for an entertaining drive. The transmission shifts nicely, with a well-defined action reminiscent of older sports cars. Plus, we loved how you pull up on a ring around the shift lever to activate reverse, just like in an old Volvo.

Compared to other trim levels of the Chevy Sonic, the RS gets several small adjustments geared toward sportiness. The six-speed manual gets closer gear ratios, the dampers get slightly firmed up, and rear disc brakes replace the drums found on other Sonics.

The Sonic has a good turning radius, but its electric power steering feels a little numb and disconnected. Turn-in is sharp, and though the Sonic RS has plenty of body roll, it's tossable and fun in a way that will feel familiar to anyone who's driven an older hot-hatch like a 1990s Civic Si. The 1.4-liter Ecotech engine is fuel-efficient, but it sounds thrashy and seems to make more noise than power.

While the Sonic may not be the most fleet-footed of cars, it is a relatively good-looking, well-equipped urban runabout. If style and communications technology are your priorities in a small city car, and you don't mind trading a little outright performance for some savings at the gas pump, the Chevy Sonic RS could make a great choice. It’s also a worthy consideration for teenagers, thanks to the available manual transmission, easy parking and a five-star NHTSA safety score.

Warranty/Service: 5-year, 100,000 mile powertrain warranty. 3-year/36,000 mile limited warranty. 2-year/24,000 mile scheduled maintenance

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Sonic RS is featured on

Specs

Base Price: $19,705

As Tested: $19,705

  • 27 / 34 mpg
  • EPA
  • 8 sec
  • 0-60
  • 138 hp
  • Horsepower
  • 125 mph
  • Top Speed
  • Engine: 1.4-liter turbocharged inline-4
  • Horsepower: 138 hp
  • Torque: 148
  • Transmission: 6-speed manual
  • Curb Weight: 2,811 lbs
  • Wheelbase: 99.4 in
  • Length: 159 in
  • Width: 68.3 in
  • Height: 59.3 in
  • Turning circle: 36.1 ft
  • Brakes: Front and rear disc brakes with ABS
  • Suspension: F/R: MacPherson strut, coil spring, anti-roll bar, torsion beam, coil spring, anti-roll bar
  • Traction: Electronic stability control standard
  • 0-60 mph: 8 sec
  • 60-0 mph: 118 ft.
  • Top Speed: 125 mph
  • EPA City: 27 mpg
  • EPA Highway: 34 mpg
  • Combined MPG: 30 mpg
  • Seating Capacity: 5
  • Safety: Dual-stage front airbags, seat-mounted side airbags, curtain side airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, forward collision alert and lane departure warning

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