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2020 Chevrolet Sonic Pros vs Cons

Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

Are You Considering a 2020 Chevrolet Sonic? Here Are Some Reasons For and Against

Once upon a time, compact cars were the equivalent of no-frills brands at the supermarket. They had decent fuel efficiency, but that was due to the lack of any extras. A steering wheel, engine, seats, and four tires were what consumers received. Extras like air conditioning were rare or came at a higher price.

Today's consumers are more demanding with their needs, no matter the size of vehicle. Hence, the reason why the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic comes with the latest technology advancements. While it's still not at the level of a Mercedes-Benz A-Class, can these advancements keep it high in the compact market?

What's New for 2020?

The six-speed manual transmission once offered on this vehicle is now discontinued. It's automatic transmission across all styles and trims of the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic. In addition to this change, there are two new exterior colors to choose from.

Ten Reasons You May Like the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic – The Pros

1. Spacious Cabin for a Compact

Regardless if it's the four-door sedan or the hatchback, the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic has more interior passenger room than other models on the market. This is thanks to the design ideas of the engineers. They managed to plan an interior cabin that feels comfortable. Particularly in the front row.

Head room is nearly 39 inches and leg room is two inches more. Shoulder room for both the driver and front-row passenger is almost 54 inches. This definitely minimizes a feeling of being cramped.

2. Multiple Styles Available

There used to be more compact cars on the market that were sold in both a sedan and hatchback style. That is less frequent as the market has seen an influx of minivans and SUVs. Luckily, the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic still sticks with the classics.

The vehicle comes in a sedan and hatchback version. Where the sedan has three trims, the hatchback gives consumers a choice of two. All styles and trims are designed with a front-wheel-drive setup.

3. Nice Cargo Volume for a Compact

Storage capacity on the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic is even or above its competitors. When the second row is folded down in the hatchback, the full amount of space is close to 50 cubic feet. While drivers won't be able to fit a full-sized couch in there, they can certainly pack the area with all the needs to take a child to college.

An additional advantage to the hatchback is the ease too store larger items than it would be for the sedan. In addition, there's more vertical space in the hatchback to move things around.

4. Good Performance for a Compact

The powertrain of the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic isn't a wimp like other models. It has a 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder ECOTEC engine. The ECOTEC part assists to increase fuel efficiency under certain situations. In total, the powertrain produces 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. While it won't tow a lot of cargo, if any, the Sonic can pass other cars on the highway without overtaxing the engine.

5. Sporty Handling

Sporty and compact are normally seen together for luxury European compacts. Nevertheless, this is how the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic handles the curves and turns it makes. One reason for this is smooth automatic shifting between gears. The Sonic doesn't experience many clunks or misfires as it moves up the acceleration path.

A second reason is the combination of StabliTrak and touring suspension. As the former adjusts the brakes and engine torque to stay on the road, the latter increases traction. The result is a smoother and more stable riding experience.

6. Excellent Crash Test Results

There's nothing higher than an overall five-star rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Fortunately, the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic received this in the latest crash tests. Out of three tests, the Sonic got top marks in frontal and side examinations.

7. Numerous Upgrades Available

Though consumers like a bargain, they also enjoy the ability to refine their driving experience with upgrades. While the options are limited in other compacts, the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic offers them in spades.

Take mechanical upgrades as an example. Customers can order emission override certificates, suspension lowering kits, and sports suspension. Interior extras are all-weather floor mats and a suite of driver assist tools to minimize collisions.

8. Comfort Standards Across All Trims

Power-adjustable front seats might not seem like a feature that needs to be highlighted. Though that's the case for a luxury compact or upper-end trim, it is something to mention when even the lowest trim of the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic has that option. It says a lot about the comfort Chevrolet wants to provide.

In addition to this, all trims come with an air filtration system. It not only removes pollutants from the vehicle's interior but minimizes the odors from them.

9. Full Smartphone Integration

The 2020 Chevrolet Sonic does a fine job integrating smartphone capabilities into its infotainment system. First, it allows access to the internet from a built-in 4G LTE hotspot. Second, it supports Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free phone operations. Third, the Sonic is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. This permits the driver to use their favorite phone apps on the Sonic's touchscreen display.

10. An Inexpensive Alternative

At its base trim, the starting MSRP is somewhere around $16,000. Even if a customer loads up a hatchback with the Premier trim, the maximum amount paid is around $22,000. The increase in trim price is level enough that consumers might turn to the top-line model instead of the base.

Reasons You May Not Like the 2020 Chevrolet Sonic – The Cons

1. Lack of Standard Driver Assist Aids

There are very few driver assist tools built-in as standards on the Sonic. Brake assist and hill assist are the only two available for all trims. Other items, like blind zone alert and lane assist, are only available if an upgrade package is purchased. As the automotive world moves toward automatic driving, these should be mandatory.

2. Lackluster Fuel Economy

For a compact, the Chevrolet Sonic does not have the best fuel efficiency on the market. It gets 29 mpg on the highway and 26 mpg in the city. The maximum distance it can reach with its 12-gallon tank is 317 miles. Thus, not as economically prudent as other compacts.

3. Sub-par Interior Styling

When creating the interior of this model year's Sonic, the engineers did a great job a maximizing room. What they didn't do is enhance the cabin's styling. The electronically adjusted seats and updated technology are surrounded by a true no-frills setup that doesn't match up. In the end, Android Auto compatibility doesn't match up with uncomfortable seats and roughly set dashboards.

4. Cramped Second Row

While the first row of the Sonic has ample leg room, the second row lacks a bit. In fact, it decreases seven inches, from 41 to 34. Taller individuals may feel jammed up if they sit back here. Particularly if the driver or passenger has moved their seat back.

5. Inexpensive, but not That Inexpensive

The Chevrolet Sonic is a good value for its starting price point. However, it isn't the least expensive among compact models. This is definitely true when it comes to the upper-end trims. While the extras may be impressive, they don't merit a MSRP over $21,000.

How It Stacks Up to the Competition

The 2020 Chevrolet Sonic does well in roominess and technology but is behind in styling and fuel efficiency. So, when placed against other compacts, it sometimes wins, sometimes loses, and ties the rest of the time.

For instance, put up against the Honda Fit, the Sonic ties with the amount of technology and wins with handling and a capable engine. However, it loses against the amount of standard driver assist features the Fit has and the Honda's better fuel economy.

Paired against the Mazda3,the Sonic has a built-in disadvantage. It's still part of the first-generation build created in 2012. Meanwhile the Mazda3 was redesigned in the 2019 model year. So, while it ties in technology and performance, it is behind in interior quality.


The 2020 Chevrolet Sonic is a good car and should be considered by customers. Unlike other models, the compact has sporty handling, a roomy front row, and a well-balanced infotainment and connectivity setup. In addition, the hatchback style gives drivers more storage space. Furthermore, across all trims, the Sonic has an engine that isn't anemic like others.

Despite the overall positivism of the Sonic, there are still some downsides to it. First, its fuel economy falls short of other models. Even the car's ECOTEC engine can increase the amount of mileage per gallon. Add to that a small gas tank, and the vehicle requires more fill-ups during a week.

Second, it's not styled well for its price point. It has some great technology offerings, but it doesn't have the surfaces to go with it. Third, the lack of standard driver assist features is disappointing.

The best way to determine if the Sonic is right is for consumers to see it in person and take a test drive. Only then can they determine if it's the right vehicle for them.

Previous Chevrolet Sonic Buying Guides:

Why buy a 2019 Chevrolet Sonic? w/ pros vs cons