- Adds 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot capability for 2015
- Available as a sedan or hatchback
- Five-star overall crash test rating from NHTSA
The subcompact 2015 Chevrolet Sonic returns mostly unchanged but with one new trick up its sleeve: Wi-Fi hotspot capability.
An optional add-on as part of Chevy’s OnStar communications suite, the Sonic now features 4G LTE connectivity that can turn the Sonic into a Wi-Fi hotspot allowing passengers to use devices like tablets and laptop computers while traveling. Every new Sonic comes with a free trial of this service, then it switches to a monthly payment system for a set amount of data, just like a smartphone.
This is just further evidence that subcompacts are no longer the barren vehicles they once were, and beyond its technology offerings the Sonic still has a sporty character which helps it keep pace with the competition, including the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa. The Sonic’s styling borrows heavily from the larger Cruze, the two stablemates share Chevy’s split front-grille with honeycomb backing, as well as round head- and taillights. We prefer the styling of the hatchback (which also has extra cargo room) to the sedan, but that’s an entirely personal preference. 15-inch steel wheels are standard, while 16- and 17-inch alloys, fog lamps, and a rear spoiler are optional.
There are two available engines on the Sonic that both make the same horsepower, but go about it in different ways. LS, LT, and LTZ trims feature the base engine, a 138-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder that makes 125 pounds-feet of torque and pairs with either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels. The second engine also makes 138-hp, but is a turbocharged, 1.4-liter four-cylinder that makes more torque (148 pounds-feet) and is mated to a six-speed manual or automatic. This engine is optional in the LT and LTZ, but standard in the sporty RS. The turbo not only offers better performance; it’s also more fuel efficient.
The Sonic has one of the more unique instrument panels that we’ve seen; it combines a large analog tachometer flanked by a digital speedometer to the right and gives the Sonic a very modern feel. Standard features include air conditioning, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, auxiliary audio input, and cloth seating. Chevrolet’s MyLink system is optional on the lower two models and standard on the upper pair, it adds a seven-inch touch screen to the center console and also bundles in SiriusXM satellite radio capability, Bluetooth connectivity, hands-free calling, streaming audio, and use of Pandora or Stitcher Internet radio apps.
Crash test ratings for the 2015 Sonic were impressive; it earned a five-star overall rating from the NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. Ten airbags, stability and traction control, and antilock brakes with emergency braking assist are all standard. There are also several available safety technologies, including forward collision warnings, lane departure warnings, and a backup camera.