Text: Inigo S. Roces / Photos: Inigo S. Roces | posted February 06, 2013 12:50
Run a quick search on YouTube and you’re bound to find the new Chevy Sonic starring in a couple of viral videos. It’s been performing some crazy stunts, from skydiving off a plane, bungee jumping off a platform, doing a corkscrew through the air, or making music as it passes through a tunnel of pots and pans.
There’s no question about how far the car will go for views and thumbs up, but what many would certainly like to know is how it fares living the life as an adrenaline-deprived daily driver.
Just like its viral videos, the Sonic makes quite an impact at first sight. It departs from typical automotive design and takes inspiration from motorcycles and similar adrenaline-pumping machines. Circular headlights break out of their housings, the bowtie and grille sits lower on the bumper, while creases on its hood seem to accent its menacing façade. Towards the side are flared wheel arches and a high shoulder line. The high rear deck houses stacked circular headlights and a fuss-free rear.
Inside, the Sonic continues this youthful and sporty style theme. It features a similar twin cockpit interior as found in its larger sibling, the Cruze. The dashboard wraps around the front passengers like an aircraft cockpit, making you feel more like you’re inside a private plane than a car. Rather than dials, a motorbike inspired instrument cluster sits above the steering column, integrating the tachometer, digital speedometer, fuel efficiency readout, range and odometer. Take note that, just like other American cars, light controls are on a dial to the left of the wheel. Over in the center stack is an integrated stereo and automatic climate controls. It can be hooked up to an iPod via a cable. Audio and a phone connected via Bluetooth can be controlled via the remote on the wheel.
Perhaps the best part about this car’s interior is the sheer number of pockets and storage spaces. There’s one on either side of the center stack and a space just below it. On the center divider is a coin organizer just after the stick shift and cup holders in between the seats. On either door are cupholders big enough for bottles and behind is a large trunk big enough for a month’s worth of groceries.
Hauling all of this along is a 1.4 liter engine that produces up to 101 ps and 130 Nm of torque. It’s paired with a six speed automatic with manual shift buttons on the side of the stick. This, in turn, delivers power to the front wheels. MacPherson struts and a torsion beam rear suspension system keep it aloft over bumps. It rides on 16 inch wheels with 205 55 series tires. Discs in front and drums behind, equipped with ABS as standard, bring it to a stop.
As a daily drive, the Sonic rolls along fairly well. There’s enough oomph for traffic and stop and go situations. Don’t expect the same action you see in the viral videos as power kicks in later, at above 3000 rpm. Bumps and potholes are handled with little fuss while the car itself feels stable and grippy. In the city, the car managed to return 7.9 km/L and 10 km/L in the highway.
Though the Sonic may broadcast excitement in its online escapades or with its very appearance, it’s a lot more sedate and relaxed in real life. Overall, it’s a fairly fuss-free car to have. The new-style speedo takes up little visual real estate, encouraging you to concentrate more on the road ahead. Onboard conveniences like steering wheel mounted controls and Bluetooth connectivity keep your hands on the wheel. The sheer number of storage spaces makes it easy to get comfortable in the car.
The viral videos may project it to be quite an exciting car, but don’t let that make you think it’s averse to the daily grind. In fact, it makes for quite a comfortable and laidback companion, especially on the slow crawl to the office.