Ace of Base: 2019 Chevrolet Sonic LS Sedan

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Our always (sometimes) reliable Ace of Base meter loves a good econocar, one that deigns to a low monthly payment but still doles out features like a benevolent reverend doles out candy at Easter. The diminutive Sonic has never been featured in this series, primarily due to the presence of its little brother — the Chevy Spark.

American auto-buyers seem to have shunned the Sonic as well, with the current model set to sail off into the twilight after this model year. Compared to the popular and evergreen Hyundai Accent sedan, can it secure an Ace of Base parting gift?

For starters, price has generally been a problem for the Sonic. Its base model, shown here as the LS, stickers at $15,420 which represents a 3-percent hike over the $14,995 Accent. That might not sound like a lot but any sort of price disadvantage at the instant ramen end of the scale is worth talking about.

Speaking of, we generally do no mention incentives in this series as they can vary wildly among regions and eligibilities. An exception is being made here thanks to some largesse on the part of General Motors who have slapped $2,000 on the hood of base Sonic sedans. This brings the pre-freight price to a much more palatable $13,420. As a ratio, that’s like getting $6,500 off a truck stickered at fifty grand.

Base LS Sonic sedans — indeed, all Sonics — are powered by a 1.4L turbo making 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque, the latter of which comes online at 2500rpm. It is lashed to a six-speed manual with a hill holder, great for new drivers. The late and unlamented 1.8L has been binned.

Inside, the Sonic has wind-up manual windows compared to the Accent’s power units, and the whole interior vibe in the Korean car feels much more modern and up to date. That’s largely thanks to the Chevy’s cabin, save for some minor tweaks two years ago, being left the same since its introduction in 2011. The driver gets an all-important armrest on which to lean but the passenger has to do without. There is no centre storage but twin gloveboxes help make up for that omission. Air conditioning is standard, a near-prerequisite around here, as are a decent 7-inch touchscreen display paired with items like CarPlay and USB ports.

GM is thankfully choosing to use up its remaining stock of paint allocated for the Sonic, allowing even this base LS to be slathered in interesting hues. This is refreshing, since it is usually only shades of grey permitted to be applied to these cheap seats. In terms of styling, the Sonic’s nose is pleasant enough but its rear looks like it has been given a giant wedgie thanks to vertical tail lamps placed on a tall but thin body.

Avec incentives, the 2019 Chevrolet Sonic LS sedan — in its final lap around the sun — earns its first and only Ace of Base trophy.

[Images: GM]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments and feel free to eviscerate our selections.

The model above is shown with American options and priced in American Dollars. Your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • DeadWeight DeadWeight on Jul 10, 2019

    Bravo Guangzhou Motors! This POS manages a #38 on Made In America with....get this... A whopping 50% of its components made in The United States, and the other 50% made overseas (cough..China...cough). Sree the USA in your Chebroret!

    • ToddAtlasF1 ToddAtlasF1 on Jul 10, 2019

      I'm amazed the North American content is that high. Remember when these were new and they were delivering cars with no front brake pads? That was because the cars were practically CKD kits from Korea, with entire strut/spindle/brake assemblies sent over preassembled.

  • Festiboi Festiboi on Jul 10, 2019

    I own a 2015 Chevy Sonic LT hatch that we bought brand new. We love the car and it's probably the best car we've ever owned. No problems or issues, and a quiet refined ride for an economy car. So much better than the '15 Honda Fit we owned previously. Ours has the 1.8 litre with the manual transmission. It's not the quickest, but we felt it'd be more reliable than the turbo. We bought the Sonic due to: -Being the only subcompact built in the U.S. -The quirky styling with exposed headlights and digital gauges. The look is distinctive (we call it "The Angry Birds car") and the funky gauges are easy to read at a glance and look cool -Roomy comfortable seats -It comes with a spare tyre -Stable handling, quiet ride, and solid feel -5 star crash test rating -Generous rebates from GM -Availability of a manual transmission Honestly, there's no regrets and I still have yet to find any newer subcompact that I like more I feel the '17 refresh was a blunder and much prefer ours. The new design is much more generic and gone are the cool gauges. The interior is a mismatch of the former design (the doors, centre console) mixed with forced, incohesive updates. It doesn't appeal to me nearly as much, but I'd probably would still choose it over most subcompacts Lastly, that sedan is so awkwardly proportioned. The pre facelift sedan and all the hatches look so much better

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    • HotPotato HotPotato on Jul 11, 2019

      Agree on all counts, festiboi. I drove a Sonic RS hatch a couple of years ago and was impressed. It went down the road as quiet, straight, solid and sure as a VW Golf, the perennial gold standard for small-car excellence. Headroom was great fore and aft. The hybrid digital-analog display, and interior design in general, was fun and sporty. The only letdown was the engine -- my previous cars were a V6 and a hybrid, so I was accustomed to an off-idle torque wallop that the 1.4T decidedly did not have.

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