Sonic without boom!

2011-11-11 08:55

Chevrolet’s new Sonic, which is positioned to fit between the Aveo and Cruze models, may be suffering from middle-child syndrome.

It is meant to be an upgrade option for those seeking a slightly bigger hatchback or sedan. It comes packed with standard features such as dual and side airbags, air conditioner, nifty nooks to store iPods and sunglasses, ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and tinted windows.

The price tag, however, is way too heavy. The Sonic will compete in the B segment, in which there are many worthy opponents, such as the Suzuki Swift and Ford Fiesta. The new kid on the block will have to prove its worth as the next best thing.

The Hyundai i20 competes directly with the Sonic when it comes to performance and pricing, but Hyundai also has the Accent, which comes with a lot more bells and whistles for the same price.

There are two petrol models available – the 1.4 and 1.6 engines with a five-speed manual gearbox. The Sonic carries interior styling features shared with its baby sibling, the Spark. The consoles have a neat layout and the black trim looks better than that of the Aveo.

On the outside, it has sharp lines and a fat body, with 15-inch alloys sitting tightly in the wide wheel arches. The swooping low lines towards the rear give the impression that the car is sitting lower than it actually is.

Chevrolet has decided to give the Sonic a 3D look in the headlight department. Each cluster has exposed dual-tube-style lights. And while that may look cool, I’m not comfortable with bare lights. The whole point of lens covers is that they’re there to protect the headlights. Fender-benders are very common on our roads.

Still, it’s pleasantly quiet inside the car and that’s thanks to the acoustic performance Chevrolet tried to achieve by isolating road and wind noise. This was done by using thicker glass for the windows, damping mats between the dash panels, a felt blanket under the bonnet liner, and pliable rubber seals along the bonnet lines and the air induction panel.

But quiet and pleasant don’t matter if the car lacks vooma. To put it bluntly, I was annoyed by the way the car drives. The gearboxes felt sticky on both models and made me feel like a student driver. I was not impressed by this new vehicle in the Chevrolet stable.

The Chevrolet Sonic has sharp lines and a fat body, with 15-inch alloys sitting tightly in the wide wheel arches

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