2014 Chevrolet Sonic LT Review: So Much Good - So Little Cost

The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LT fitted with a handful of optional accessories shows that you can have a sharp looking, fun to drive and high tech GM hatchback that you can look forward to driving without paying an arm and a leg – with a price just over $20,000 with all of the optional goodies.

The Chevrolet Sonic is arguably the best subcompact Chevy that we have ever seen with lots of space, an impressive list of available features and a lineup of spunky, efficient drivetrains that make the Sonic more entertaining to drive than any past tiny Chevy cars. Best of all, all of the most enticing aspects of the Sonic are available across the whole model line so you don’t need to buy the top of the line model to really enjoy this sporty hatch. The test subject for this review – a 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LT – is one step above being a base model but this car offers all of the fun and all of the amenities of the pricier models while doing without some expensive standard features (like heated leather seats) that budget minded buyers can do without.

My 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LT in Topaz Blue Metallic exterior paint and a Jet Black/Dark Titanium interior carried a base price of $16,380. Factory options include the 1.4L turbocharged engine mated to a 6-speed manual transmission (+$700), the Chevrolet MyLink radio (+$200), the Rear Camera Package (+$200) and the Advanced Safety Package (+$395). This particular Sonic LT also wore a set of dealer installed 16 inch black wheels (+$995), a Black Color Flash Package (+$670), fog lights (+$275) and a Borla Performance exhaust system (+$705) for a total price of $21,345. This car is very similar to the pricier Sonic RS with the exception of the RS-specific body package, the RS-specific transmission gearing (which hurts fuel economy) and the loaded leather interior.

The Exterior
The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LT doesn’t include many exterior features that you don’t get from the base Sonic LS so that means that the LT looks a great deal like the LS. The LT includes 16 inch aluminum wheels that you don’t get with the base model but my Sonic LT test car was fitted with a set of 16 inch black painted aluminum that look much sportier than standard wheels. My test car was also equipped with the Black Color Flash package that adds gloss black mirror caps, a gloss black rear spoiler and a gloss black grille treatment in addition to an optional fog lamp package – all of which work to give this Sonic LT a far sportier look than your run of the mill LT hatchback. Those features only serve to spruce up the outside of the Sonic but they do so in a way that leads me to think that they are worth every cent.

sonic lt front

Other than those features added at the dealership level, my 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LT looked a lot like every other Sonic on the road today. This includes the aggressive face with the 3D headlights that I love, the big, sporty two piece grille and the standard chin spoiler that adds style and aerodynamics. Along the sides, the Sonic LT has tons of black features that work with the dark metallic blue paint to provide a very sinister appearance with the help of the optional color flash package and the 16” Chevy Accessory wheels. Out back, the Sonic LT has the same black-trimed 3D taillights as the rest of the lineup along with the aforementioned gloss black spoiler that extends straight off of the rear roofline while the Borla exhaust tip pokes from under the driver’s side of the rear fascia.

sonic lt rear

The exterior design of the 2014 Chevy Sonic LT isnt going to blow you away with cutting edge sporty styling but the basic lines of the Sonic combined with the list of optional items added to my Sonic LT test car really make this a great looking little hatchback. I think that this particular Sonic looks like something that is ready to hit the rallycross course and while the lack of all wheel drive (and 600 horsepower) might make this little Chevy struggle on a dirt lined road course – this Sonic still has the look of the production-based Sonic rallycar.

The Interior
The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic LT falls is just one step above a base model but shy of the lack of leather seats, this doesn’t look like a base model cabin. Granted, the optional MyLink radio system and the reverse camera system help to jazz up the interior but the Sonic LT comes with the same steering wheel controls, the same power window controls and the same general interior layout as the pricier, higher end trimlines. The MyLink radio is super clean looking with only a few simple touch sensitive “buttons” for volume control, power and the home button while all other infotainment functions are controlled via the big, bright touch screen or the steering wheel mounted controls. Beyond that button clad steering wheel is the same compact gauge cluster as is found on all new Sonic models with a huge tachometer on the left side and a large digital readout on the right that includes vehicle speed, fuel economy figures, the fuel gauge, a compass and the odometer.

sonic lt dash


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I had a great time in the new Sonic. It trounces the horrible Aveo it's replacing and that six-speed manual really sells the car, but is simple enough to operate that even newbies won't have a problem shifting. It's a very fun car for the segment and we had few problems getting two child safety seats in the back and toting around the kids. http://carnewscafe.com/2013/11/2014-chevrolet-sonic-shoebox-fun/
Even with the sort of cool black out trim, I think the Sonic's styling is butt ugly which is why I won't even consider buying one while shopping for a new compact car. No argument though that the optional Turbo 1.4 liter engine's performance is stellar at this price point.
Well, Dean, nearly every car in this class has this same basic shape. It maximizes interior space without much compromise to aerodynamics. The Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa Note, etc. all look basically just like this. So if this is the segment you're shopping in, the shoebox on wheels look is likely what you'll end up with.
Years ago I drove British sports cars, now I'm much more energy conscious, and to my surprise I found the LT Sonic we bought, with the 1.4 liter turbo and six speed manual, bridges both worlds. It's plenty quick (0-60 better than a TR4, matches a TR6), and the Sonic handles very well in tight corners. I keep the rear seats folded down all the time, with black carpet we installed, and the result is a sporty little car with a lot of cargo space when needed, which gets 40 mpg on the highway. It's solid, and my wife is happy with the ride and noise level on the freeway. Totally fun to drive as far as I'm concerned, and the price was right, giving us room to do other things we want to do. I never in my life thought I'd buy a new Chevy, after years of Japanese cars, but I'm glad I did.
I second Steve's comments. The Sonic (with turbo) is next best thing to driving a MG again. Hadn't even considered the Sonic until I read a Consumer Reports recomendation. Drove a Honda Fit, CRZ, Civic SI, Mazda 2, Mazda 3, and couldn't get comfortable in any of them. Had just about given up on the idea of a small sporty car until I test drove the Sonic. Love at first drive. And the six speed is a joy. Even for an old guy with sore joints. Haven't owned a Chevy since 1969. I too was wary about owning a Chevy, but the Sonic rocks.
Add me to the list of folks who: 1. Would never buy a new car 2. Would NEVER buy a Chevy I scratched both off the list when I test drove a loaded Dragon Green LT turbo. Oh man I LOVE this car! It is the perfect balance of gas economy, comfort, price, and fun. My commute is 40 minutes each way, and I smile every day when I glimpse my car in the parking lot once I clock out.
am disturbed that when it rains there is no vision on the side mirrors they are spotted with rain and cannot get them to clear, any ideas on how to fix this or replace these mirrors with something else
Spray them with Rain-X.
I have a 2013 Sonic sedan that I bought new, it now has over 82k miles. I also never thought I'd buy a Chevy and was a little nervous about how well it'd hold up. It has been great and is still is very fun to drive, even several years later. I have the 1.4L turbo engine with the 6 speed manual, it's tuned which makes it so much more fun! I would definitely recommend one for a sporty fun commuter.