2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late (2023)

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late (1)
2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late (2)
2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late (3)



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2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late

by Gabe Beita Kiser

While there has been no official confirmation of the Chevy Sonic's demise in the US as yet, the mechanical vultures are certainly beginning to circle. With the familiar six-speed manual gearbox completely removed from the lineup for the 2020 model year, it's clear that Chevy has begun cutting down on costs, a possible sign that the Sonic won't see the 2021 model year. The front wheels of the Sonic Hatch are once again powered by a 1.4-liter turbo Ecotec four-pot engine with outputs of 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, now serviced purely by a six-speed automatic gearbox. The Sonic has never really managed to measure up to its competition, with the Kia Rio offering better fuel efficiency, and the Honda Fit boasting superior practicality overall. Even with the Sonic's many updates over the past few years, it's clear, when compared to its rivals, that it has all been too little, too late.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 8 /10
  • Performance 7 /10
  • Fuel Economy 9 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 8 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 8 /10
  • Reliability 8 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 7 /10

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late (4)

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late (5) 8.1

What is BuzzScore?

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2019 Sonic Hatchback?

The Sonic Hatchback carries over predominantly unchanged for the new model year, only having the six-speed automatic gearbox made standard with the removal of the manual gearbox from the Sonic Hatch lineup altogether. Two new exterior color options join the palette for the 2020 model year as well, labeled Oasis Blue and Cayenne Orange Metallic, the latter replacing the prior year's Orange Burst Metallic.

(Video) Is the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic RS a hatchback BARGAIN or a BUST?

Pros and Cons

  • Nimble city commuter
  • Winning cargo capacity
  • Decent passenger room
  • Top-notch safety scores
  • Full smartphone integration
  • Ten airbags is class-leading
  • Middling cabin quality
  • No manual gearbox option
  • Below-average fuel economy

What's the Price of the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback?

The Sonic LT carries an MSRP of $19,420, while the more luxurious Sonic Premier comes in at $21,520, which prices the 2020 year model Sonic Hatches identically to the automatic-equipped models of last year. Chevrolet does charge a destination fee of $895 and does not include tax, registration, or any licensing fees in the recommended prices for the Chevy Sonic. That makes the Sonic Hatch one of the more expensive vehicles in the class, though dealerships often offer cash allowances and incentives.

Best Deals on 2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late (6)

2020 Chevrolet Sonic LT Hatchback


42,046 miles

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late (7)

2020 Chevrolet Sonic LT Hatchback


38,162 miles

Fair Deal

$1,000 above

(Video) 2020 Chevrolet Sonic RS Review, Full Tour, And Test Drive

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late (8)

2020 Chevrolet Sonic LT Hatchback


71,577 miles

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late (9)

2020 Chevrolet Sonic LT Hatchback


21,062 miles

See All Sonic Hatchback For Sale

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
LT Hatchback

1.4L Turbo Inline-4 Gas

6-Speed Automatic

Front-Wheel Drive

Premier Hatchback

1.4L Turbo Inline-4 Gas

6-Speed Automatic

Front-Wheel Drive


See All 2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Trims and Specs

Handling and Driving Impressions

Equipped with a standard suspension and with its fairly taut chassis, the base Sonic LT strikes an impressive balance between handling poise and ride quality. The steering feedback and road feel are clearly communicated through to the driver, and the Sonic exhibits no significant levels of body roll when flung around corners. At the same time, the setup absorbs most road imperfections and typical undulations reasonably well, altogether making for a vehicle that offers impressive agility and suitable levels of comfort for pleasurable daily driving.

The Premier model, however, is equipped with a tighter-sprung sport suspension. Although it delivers a lot more stability and control as opposed to the standard suspension, it drastically diminishes ride comfort. Lesser road imperfections and bumps are felt more prominently through the cabin, making for a notably harsher ride then warranted from the everyday commuter. The appeal of this model will rely on how much comfort you're willing to sacrifice for added sportiness.

Overall, the Sonic is a vehicle that's easy-going and rather fun-to-drive; it's a pleasure to trundle around town with its nippy attitude and nimble maneuverability. Getting around traffic couldn't get any easier than in the Sonic Hatch, and every parking spot is made a trouble-free option.

Verdict: Is the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback A Good car?

While the Sonic Hatchback is a very modern, capable, and comfortable vehicle, it's beaten in all of those areas by almost all of its rivals. Many offer more contemporary interiors, way better performance and fuel-efficiency, and greater practicality overall. The one area we could argue that the Sonic has the upper hand in is in terms of infotainment, offering one of the only systems fully inclusive of smartphone integration as standard. It's stylish, too, but that's something that only runs skin deep. With no more manual gearbox on offer, there isn't all that much enjoyment offered anymore, with driver engagement limited to enjoying the Sonic's nimbleness and communicative steering. The Sonic Hatchback is otherwise an easy-going, easy-to-drive daily commuter offering what any routine everyday family car should. There are many better alternatives available, though, such as the Honda Fit and Kia Rio, offering all of the above and a little more.

What 2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Model Should I Buy?

We suggest opting for the range-topping Premier as, at only $2,000 more than the LT, it comes comprehensively outfitted with additional features and upgraded materials, such as the leatherette seating, which improves the Sonic's otherwise bland cabin impression substantially. It also gets push-button start and heated front seats, which are nice touches to the interior, too, along with the enhanced driver information display. With this model, we recommend including the optional Driver Confidence Package to equip park assist, forward collision warning, as well as lane departure assist.

(Video) Please Do NOT Buy a Car with This Engine

Check out other Chevrolet Sonic Styles

Sonic Sedan Compare

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Comparisons

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late (11) Nissan
2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late (12) Kia

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback vs Nissan Versa Note

The Nissan Versa is a lot cheaper than the Sonic Hatch, with a base price of $14,730. It comes with a slightly less powerful naturally aspirated engine with outputs of 122 hp and 114 lb-ft. It's slower with that engine, but significantly more fuel-efficient, returning 27/35/30 mpg with its five-speed manual gearbox and 32/40/35 mpg with its Xtronic CVT. That's right, the Versa offers a manual, already a winning element for some, as the Versa becomes the more enjoyable vehicle to drive. It does offer far less cargo capacity, however, at 14.7 cubes in the trunk. The Versa is also a sedan-only offer as of the 2020 redesign, so if its a hatchback you want, the Sonic is the only bet. But with it being an all-new model, the Versa is the more refined option in modern comfort. The Sonic takes the cake in terms of its standard safety consignment and infotainment, though, but at the Versa's pricing point, it's a tough one to beat in terms of value. Overall, the Versa would be our pick from the two, as the model that offers a more enjoyable drive with its manual gearbox, a more efficient powertrain overall, and the refinements of a brand new design for 2020 at a lower price.

See Nissan Versa Note Review

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback vs Kia Rio5

Not only does the Rio5 come in at $2,730 less than the Sonic Hatchback, but it also comes with a class-leading ten-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, which dwarfs the Sonics five-year/60,000-mile coverage, in comparison. Arguably, the Rio carries a sportier, more appealing aesthetic than the Sonic as well, and on the inside, the Rio also offers a far more premium impression than most vehicles found at its price point in the segment. The Rio comes standard with a few more appealing features, too, like a USB charge port located in the rear cabin, remote keyless entry with trunk release, and bi-function LED headlights. The Sonic's engine is slightly more powerful than the Rio's, but a lot less fuel-efficient, with the Rio's naturally aspirated four-cylinder returning an impressive 33/41/36 mpg. Though the Rio offers marginally less cargo capacity, with 17.4 cubes offered behind the rear seats, it one-ups the Sonic in every other regard and is the more sensible, higher value, and superior car overall.

See Kia Rio5 Review

2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback:

Discontinued 2019 Fiat 500 $16,495 - $19,995 Price (MSRP)


Discontinued 2019 Ford Fiesta Hatchback $15,790 - $17,625 Price (MSRP)


(Video) I Left Houston and Got a Chevy (Goodbye Celica)

Discontinued 2020 Honda Fit $16,190 - $20,620 Price (MSRP)


Discontinued 2020 Toyota Yaris Hatchback $17,750 - $18,750 Price (MSRP)


Discontinued 2019 Fiat 500 Abarth $20,745 Price (MSRP)


Discontinued 2019 Ford Fiesta ST $21,340 Price (MSRP)


Discontinued 2019 Nissan Versa Note $15,650 - $18,360 Price (MSRP)


Discontinued 2019 smart fortwo Electric Drive $23,900 - $26,740 Price (MSRP)


Discontinued 2019 Toyota Prius c $21,530 - $22,955 Price (MSRP)


Discontinued 2020 Hyundai Veloster $18,800 - $28,350 Price (MSRP)
2020 Kia Rio5 $16,790 Price (MSRP)
2020 Mitsubishi Mirage $13,995 - $17,295 Price (MSRP)

See All 12 Comparisons

Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback News

Motorcycles 6 New York Just Made It Easier To Drive The Polaris Slingshot Is it a bike? Is it a car? It's kinda both, and the legislation now reflects that. Design 6 This Is What The Chevy Sonic Could Have Looked Like It looks pretty cool, but would anyone buy it? Video 3 Drag Race: C8 Corvette Vs. Modified Shelby GT350 Power doesn't always equal victory.
(Video) 2020 Chevrolet Sonic LS P.O.V Review


2020 Chevrolet Sonic Hatchback Review: Too Little, Too Late? ›

The Sonic has never really managed to measure up to its competition, with the Kia Rio offering better fuel efficiency, and the Honda Fit boasting superior practicality overall. Even with the Sonic's many updates over the past few years, it's clear, when compared to its rivals, that it has all been too little, too late.

Are Chevy Sonic hatchbacks reliable? ›

Overall the Chevrolet Sonic reliability is 45.3 and that makes it not very reliable. The chart below illustrates exactly how this ranks compared to some other cars, but the average overall rating is 57 as some comparison.

Is the 2020 Chevy Sonic reliable? ›

How Reliable Is the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic? The 2020 Chevy Sonic has a predicted reliability score of 93 out of 100. A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the Best, 81-90 is Great, 70-80 is Average, and 0-69 is Fair and considered below average.

Why is my Chevy Sonic struggling to start? ›

The most common reasons a Chevrolet Sonic won't start are a dead battery, an alternator problem, or failed starter.

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 %.

How long do Chevy Sonic engines last? ›

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 most common problem with the Chevy Sonic? ›

Chevrolet Sonic Common Problems: Most of the problems are related to the engine and electrical systems. Cooling system problems and leaks, oil leaks are Check Engine light issues are common. It's a good car when it runs, but it will need some repairs here and there and some repairs could be costly.

Is Chevy Sonic cheap to insure? ›

How much does Chevrolet Sonic car insurance cost? On average, Chevrolet Sonic drivers spend $90 each month on state minimum car insurance and $168 per month for full coverage. Compared to other popular cars like the Honda CR-Z, Genesis G70, and Infiniti QX60, the Chevrolet Sonic is -- expensive to insure.

Why does my Chevy Sonic rattle? ›

The most common reasons a Chevrolet Sonic has a rattling noise are the ball joints, struts or strut mount, or a problem with the sway bar links. Search our network of RepairPal Certified shops near you to speak with a technician about your issue. Oops! We got lost!

Is there a recall on Chevy Sonics? ›

General Motors LLC (GM) is recalling certain 2018 Chevrolet Sonic vehicles. A joint in the driver's seat-back frame may not be properly welded, reducing the strength of the seat-back frame.

Why is my Chevy Sonic sputtering? ›

The most common cause of engine sputtering are issues with the fuel system. These can range from bad fuel filters, fuel pump issues, or fuel injector issues. The other possible source of the problem would be due to poor ignition - think spark plugs or ignition coil problems.

Why is my car cranking slowly without start? ›

The battery could be weak or bad, unable to supply the sufficient voltage when needed to start the vehicle. The starter could also be bad and is drawing improper voltage and/or the starter can not turn it's gear to crank the vehicle. I suggest that you have the starter and the battery checked by a technician.

What would cause my car to start slowly? ›

Causes can vary from weather conditions to battery health, wiring issues, starter motor concerns and fuel-pump health.

What car replaced the Sonic? ›

Instead, they will take the Chevy Bolt and produce a new Bolt Crossover in the place of the Sonic. Autoweek tells us, “The Bolt crossover, scheduled to go on sale next summer as a 2022 model year vehicle, will rely on the Bolt's underpinnings while offering a body about the size and shape of the Chevy Trax.

What model replaced the Chevy Sonic? ›

Sources tell Autoweek that the Orion, Michigan, plant that produces the Sonic and the mechanically unrelated Bolt EV hatch will produce a new Bolt crossover a year from now to replace the Sonic.

Is the Chevy Sonic hatchback being discontinued? ›

The Chevy Sonic, in both sedan and hatchback configuration, was terminated in October 2020 following the 2020 model year. Despite being long since discontinued, GM dealers still managed to sell a few leftover units in the 2022 calendar year.

Is a Chevy Sonic a good reliable car? ›

When rating reliability, consideration is made regarding frequency, severity, and cost of repairs. According to RepairPal, the Chevy Sonic reliability rating is 4.0 out of 5.0. The Sonic requires repairs about five times a year, with an annual maintenance and repair cost averaging $536.

Is Chevy Sonic expensive to maintain? ›

The Chevrolet Sonic Reliability Rating is 4.0 out of 5.0, which ranks it 14th out of 21 for subcompact cars. The average annual repair cost is $536 which means it has lower than average ownership costs.

Is Mini Hatch a reliable car? ›

The MINI hatchback was given a reasonable score for reliability in our 2021 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey of cars currently on sale in the UK. Overall, it placed 59th out of the top 75 cars listed; running costs and practicality let the car down. MINI finished in 19th place on our list of 29 manufacturers.


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