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Everything You Need to Know About the 2020 Chevy Sonic

The new 2020 Chevy Sonic doesn’t change a whole lot from the previous year’s model, but that’s a good thing. The Chevy Sonic has always been a solid car design with a great core suite of features. There’s really no need to change much, especially after the engine upgrade the car received in 2019.

That being said, there are still a few changes that make the 2020 Chevy Sonic unique from its previous year’s incarnation. Let’s take a look at the (lots of) good, the (not much at all) bad, and the (one but minor) ugly parts of this car.

The Overview

The second smallest car that Chevrolet offers, the 2020 Sonic is a neatly designed little vehicle that packs a lot into the space it has. While the 2020 model is still on the first-generation body that was introduced in 2012, the car is still competitive with the other cars in its class.

A silver 2020 Chevy Sonic sedan is parked in front a cement building.

Yes, as we said before, the Sonic is a small car, but don’t be fooled. No matter which of the available configurations you choose, the three available trim levels for the sedan and the two trim levels for the hatchback mean the Sonic packs some serious – and seriously customizable – pizazz in that little body.

The Good

Let’s start with the inside. The 2020 Sonic has a surprising amount of interior space, with a roomy cabin that feels even bigger than it really is due to clever window design and a vast field of vision. The seats are comfortable, and there’s an elegance to the flow of the cabin elements that make you feel like you’re sitting at the controls of a personal shuttle, rather than a car. Muted red or gray contrast stitching on the steering wheel and seats provide a nice design element that perks up the dark interior without screaming “notice me,” although it’s nothing new. Dials and controls are comfortably placed and easy to read, and the circular air vents play to that retro-future shuttle vibe.

Speaking of Space Shuttles

One of the highlights of the 2020 Chevy Sonic is the technology package. The Sonic comes with Chevy’s famous infotainment system; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, which is to be expected, but the Sonic also boasts a nice roomy 7” color touchscreen as the infotainment panel. We all know that our cellphones are an indispensable part of our lives, and the Sonic is actually designed to work directly with phones.

Its infotainment system offers two USB ports, a four-speaker sound system, Bluetooth audio streaming for two active devices, and voice command pass-through on compatible phones. If you’re worried about reception, don’t be, the built-in 4G LTE WiFi hotspot will boost your cellphone signal when your actual service provider is slithering by with only one bar. And yes, that’s all standard, but you’ll have to pay the subscription fee for the WiFi hotspot.

What Else is Standard?

Well, a decent amount of power. No matter what configuration you choose, the 2020 Chevy Sonic comes with a FWD 1.4L turbocharged ECOTEC engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission. That gives the Sonic a solid 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque to maneuver through whatever the roadways throw at you, and it gets EPA estimated fuel efficiency of up to 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the Chevy Sonic is all flash and dash; this little gem has excellent crash test ratings. Its NHTSA Overall Rating is a solid five stars, with full marks in front, side, side barrier, and combined side barrier and pole crash ratings.

The front black and grey interior of the 2020 Chevy Sonic is shown with an infotainment system.

The Sonic is also the first car in its class to come with ten (yes, ten!) standard airbags. Additional safety options also include front pedestrian braking, forward automatic braking, adaptive cruise control camera, a rear-view camera, and rear cross-traffic alert to prevent backups from becoming breakups, available lane change alert with side blind zone warnings, and available lane departure warning alerts. Clearly, Chevrolet and the Sonic take passenger safety very seriously

Did we mention that the 2020 Chevy Sonic won J.D. Power’s “Most Dependable Small Car” award in 2016? Well, we should… that’s an award based off real owners and their real-time, real-life scenario evaluations of their Chevy Sonics over the course of a full year. So when Chevy says that the Sonic is reliable, that’s not just words… that’s just the truth.

All these safety features, amenities and a peppy engine are wrapped in an eye-catching styled exterior with sleek lines and a unique front fascia. The 2020 Chevy Sonic comes in 9 colors, including the new Oasis blue. Orange Burst Metallic and Shock have been retired to make way for the fresh new Cayenne Orange Metallic and Cajun Red Tintcoat, making the Sonic really stand out on the road.

The “Bad” (If You Can Call It That)

Really, our only real nitpick is the gas mileage. We said it before, but the Sonic boasts an estimated up to 26 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. While that isn’t anything to sneeze at, there are other cars in its class with a bit better fuel economy.

It might help to know that the Sonic’s lackluster fuel economy rating is due to the fact that the gallons it does carry go directly into a more powerful engine than its competitors. It makes sense that your fuel economy dips a bit when you’re powering a 1.4L engine that fits 138 horsepower and gets 148 ft-lb of torque. Since it’s that power that makes the Chevy Sonic so darn much fun to drive, the mpg tradeoff seems worth it.

The second nitpick point isn’t necessarily bad, so much as it’s not pretty. Which brings us to our next section…

The Ugly (But Still Great)

The 2020 Chevy Sonic hasn’t significantly changed its interior or exterior style in several years. That’s not necessarily good news when you take into account the perennial owner complaint about interior materials that look cheap. However, the surprisingly spacious cabin and technology features more than makeup for this.

A red 2020 Chevy Sonic hatchback is parked in front of large glass windows in a house.

We mentioned previously that the cabin design itself is nicely flowing and gives the feeling of being surrounded by a streamlined shuttle cockpit, and that’s still true. The problem lies in the less-than luxurious fabric that all but the higher trim levels get. If you want to upgrade to the Sonic Premier sedan, you can get 17-inch wheels and some nice leather upholstery that shows up nicely with that contrast stitching we mentioned earlier. And if you want to go all the way and get the Convenience Package, you can also snag heated front seats and a power-adjustable driver’s seat just in case you don’t want to go full-retro and do it manually.

However, it’s pretty obvious where Chevy’s chosen to put their money when it comes to the Sonic, and that’s under the hood and in the basic amenities list, which is pretty darned extensive. If sub-par fabrics and nice but not really outstanding interior styling is the price of getting solid performance, excellent safety scores, and an extensive suite of amenities… Well, isn’t it worth it?

The 2020 Chevy Sonic is a Great Buy

The 2020 Chevy Sonic is a solid choice for a commuter car or anyone who doesn’t have to haul more than one or two kids around. It provides solid performance, decent gas mileage, and the best safety scores in its class in one classy, easily affordable package. You can’t go wrong with choosing a 2020 Sonic.

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