The Chevrolet Sonic is a small car beloved by thousands of Americans, thanks to its roominess, nice tech features, and decent storage space.
Make sure to also check our list of most common issues with the Sonic models – You need enough information about the Sonic to make an informed choice before buying.
This guide will provide details about the Sonic models, including product sales, recall info, fuel economy, and many more. Let’s start!
Table of Contents
How Many Chevrolet Sonics Have Been Sold in the US Per Year?
On its arrival in the US, the Chevrolet Sonic proved to be a hit among buyers.
In its first model year (2012), over 81,000 Sonic models were sold to American buyers.
By 2013, Chevrolet was selling more than 85,000 Sonics in a year.
Annual sales peaked around 2014, with a total of 93,518 Sonics sold that year.
However, the prevalent decline in small-car sales affected Sonic’s sales performance in the following years.
Sales dropped from an all-time high of 90,000+ units sold in 2014 to 64,775 units sold in 2015.
Since then, the downward trend in Sonic annual sales has continued. In fact, 2020 saw the lowest number of Sonics sold in a year (13,007).
As of the time of writing this article, Chevrolet’s owner GM has discontinued the Sonics owing to low sales.
This is also part of a larger strategy to switch to higher-selling SUVs and trucks.
We have compiled annual sales figures for the Sonic since it arrived the US market in 2012:
|Year||No. of Sonics Sold|
What Year Did Chevrolet Start the Sonic Model?
Before coming to the United States in 2012, the Sonic had been on sale in Asia since 2002, where it was called the Chevrolet Aveo.
It was the brainchild of Daewoo, a South Korean automaker under General Motors’ ownership.
The second-generation Sonic launched in the US (and the North American region) in 2012.
The original US-market Sonic was available in both 4-door and 5-door hatchback styles, powered by a 1.8-liter inline-four engine.
Production started at the Orion Township assembly in 2012, making it the only subcompact produced in the US.
However, low sales forced Chevrolet to stop Sonic production after the 2020 model year.
How Is the Fuel Economy of Chevrolet Sonic?
All models in the Sonic lineup use a fuel-sipping 1.8-liter V4 engine that gets great gas mileage.
So, if you’re looking for a fuel-efficient city car, the Sonic is a good place to start.
The base Chevrolet Sonic earns 26 mpg during in-city driving and 34 mpg on highway drives. Meanwhile, the other Chevrolet Sonic 5 model gets the same fuel economy figures (26 mpg, city; and 34 mpg, highway).
Both models have a combined gas mileage rating of 29 mpg.
How Quickly Do Chevrolet Sonics Depreciate?
The Chevrolet Sonic doesn’t have the best depreciation rate out there. Compared to rivals like the Honda Fit or Toyota Yaris, the Sonic loses more of its value over the years.
Most estimates suggest that a new Chevrolet Sonic will depreciate by 58% over a five-year period.
This means that the Sonic will lose over half of its residual value five years after you bought it.
The Sonic’s poor resale value is likely due to it being a low-demand model; high-demand models tend to command better resale values.
Also, the Sonic’s discontinuation means buyers are wary of buying used models. This is because finding parts for out-of-production models can be very difficult.
Did Chevrolet Recall Any of the Sonic Models?
Using figures from the NHTSA database revealed that the US Sonic has had 15 recalls issued in its brief history.
The 2012 Chevrolet Sonic ranks as the most-recalled model year, with 7 recall orders.
The best advice we can give is to evaluate recall information for any Sonic model year before buying it.
Make sure the recall-related issues have been fixed. Or you could end up having a lemon vehicle that will cost thousands to fix.
The table below shows recall figures for the Chevrolet Sonic models:
|Model Year||No. of Recalls|
How Much Do the Sonic Models Pollute?
The Sonic models use a small, fuel-efficient engine, so they have a smaller-than-average carbon footprint.
This is a car we’d recommend for anyone who’s interested in buying an environmentally friendly car.
Both the regular Sonic and the Sonic 5 models emit 308 grams of CO2 per mile, which is better than the average.
Also, the Environmental Protection Agency gives the Sonic a 6/10 smog rating.
You can get more environmentally friendly hatchbacks like the Prius. However, the Sonic is also a great option for reduced carbon emissions.
Make sure to also read our article about the Chevrolet Sonic in snow and winter driving.
How Much Do the Sonic Models Tow?
The Sonic is a hatchback with a relatively weak engine, so you cannot tow with it.
Chevrolet has no official towing capacity for the car, and you’d likely void your warranty if you ever use it for towing.
What can happen if you tow with a Sonic? Your transmission could overheat and fail, just as the engine could also fail.
How Reliable Is a Chevrolet Sonic?
The Sonic has lower-than-average reliability rates—at least according to online reliability ratings.
So, you should probably be wary of reliability issues when buying used Sonics.
RepairPal gives the Chevrolet Sonic a reliability rating of 4/5 and ranks it 14th out of 21 subcompact models for reliability.
Annual maintenance costs on Sonic models add up to $536 per year.
The 2020 Sonic also gets a 3.5/5 reliability rating, which is about average.
Like most hatchbacks, the Sonic has a basic three-year/36,000-mile warranty.
Nonetheless, how reliable your Sonic turns out to be will depend on your use and maintenance of the vehicle.
If you abuse your Sonic’s engine, the components will experience strain and break down early.
Moreover, you should endeavor to maintain your Sonic if you want it to last long. This means you have to change the oil, replace filters, top up the coolant, etc., frequently.
Please also read our article about how long Chevrolet Sonics last.
How Safe Is a Chevrolet Sonic?
The Chevrolet Sonic might be a small vehicle, but it can rival larger cars in terms of safety.
In fact, the 2019 Sonic only missed out on an IIHS Top Safety Pick award because it lacked more driver-assist features.
The 2020 models (hatchback and sedan) both received a perfect five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA).
As is common with most Chevrolet models, the Sonic comes with the high-tech StabiliTrak stability control feature. This feature helps improve vehicle stability, especially when you’re driving in adverse road conditions.
Even so, Sonic buyers can choose from a plethora of available safety features to bolster safe driving. These features include:
- Lane-departure warning
- Forward-collision warning
- Rear parking sensors
Also check our article about where Chevrolet Sonics are made.
What Is the Typical Buyer Demographic For this Model?
For the most part, the Sonic was targeted at car buyers who need a small car that’s perfect for navigating cities/urban areas.
It has a small body, which makes it easy to maneuver around crowded urban streets or park in tight parking lots.
We must also note that budget-car buyers who want an affordable and fuel-efficient car form a big part of the Sonic’s buyer demographic.
At under $20,000, the Sonic is affordable for most American families.
Some also suggest that the Sonic is targeted at younger individuals. This includes young adults looking for their first car or those starting new families.
Chevrolet Sonic Theft Numbers
The NHTSA Theft Rate Database has very little theft information on the Sonic, as it’s a relatively recent model.
Nonetheless, the limited theft data we found showed that thefts of Sonics are few and far between.
The low theft rate for the Sonic is likely due to its low sales.
Only high-volume models tend to have higher-than-average theft figures, as they are hotly demanded.
However, you should equip your Sonic with additional safety equipment to protect it from thieves. Some safety equipment you can buy for your Sonic include:
- Steering locks
- GPS tracker
- Engine immobilizer
- Kill switch
- Wheel locks
Here are theft figures for the Sonic models during 2012-2014 years:
|Year||No. of Models Stolen|
Was this article helpful?
Click to share...
Did you find wrong information or was something missing?
We would love to hear your thoughts! (PS: We read ALL feedback)
They can last for 200,000 miles or longer, so the mileage of your friend's car will help you determine how reliable it will be for you. Typically, newer cars are more reliable. If your friend's Sonic is pretty new, it will last for much longer than a car that's been around the block a few (thousand) times.What is the code 52 on a Chevy Sonic? ›
The Chevy Sonic code 52 indicates that the timing belt is due for replacement, which usually happens when the car hits the 100K miles mark. While using the timing belt at this point does not necessarily lead to damage, you should prioritize replacement early on. If it brakes, the engine will cease functioning.How fast does a Chevy Sonic go from 0 to 60? ›
The car takes 7.1 seconds to reach 60 MPH from a standstill while it is able to run a quarter-mile in 15.5 seconds. The Chevrolet also offers another engine. It is an 1.4-liter Gas that spills out 138 hp @ 4900 rpm and 148 lb.What was the Chevy Sonic called before? ›
Similarly, the Chevy Sonic began under a different model name, the Aveo. Introduced in 2002, the Aveo was always sold under the Chevrolet brand, until it was renamed the Sonic for the compact's second generation in 2011.Is Sonic a reliable car? ›
It's about the middle of the pack in terms of overall reliability. According to withclutch.com, the Chevrolet Sonic has a reliability rating of about 45.3. Compared to many other subcompact cars, it's not very reliable; the average overall reliability rating is 57.Why did Chevy discontinue the Sonic? ›
The new car is a larger version of the Chevrolet Bolt EV, which the plant currently produces alongside the Sonic. GM decided to axe the Sonic “due to declining demand,” according to Soule. Since selling nearly 100,000 Sonics in 2014, sales have declined every year by between 15% to more than %.