Facelifted Chevrolet Sonic unveiled in New York

Published: 23 March 2016

► Facelifted Sonic makes its mark in New York
► Bolder styling, modern tech and turbo power
► Not destined for UK markets, predictably

Do you remember when Chevrolet tried to make a go of it in the UK market? The move had some on-paper potential but instead of core and bespoke Chevy models lining the dealerships’ forecourts, we were faced with the likes of the humdrum badge-engineered Captiva.

From a standing country mile away we could spot that it was a Vauxhall Antara in drag and, alas, it quickly became clear that Chevrolet UK was just going to be another spin-off of the Opel/Vauxhall enterprise in Europe.

Sure, we could order a Corvette from a UK dealer – but as it was still LHD only, it remained the choice of a select few enthusiasts, who could have otherwise sourced one from elsewhere. 

It didn’t really make any sense but, despite the blatant unviability of it all, EuroChev managed to knock out some pretty decent cars – like the practical seven-seat Orlando, and the neat little Aveo hatch – cheap Morette-reminscent headlights aside.

The Aveo, badged as the Sonic in the US, is still going strong in its home market, however – and it’s just been revamped in time to strut its stuff at the New York motor show.

New Chevrolet Sonic: the details

It’s been heftily overhauled externally, primarily gaining a much more aggressive front end that emulates the look of more recent Chevrolets like the Bolt EV.

As it’s primarily designed to entice younger buyers into the arms of Chevrolet, the company’s also moved to dramatically modernise the Sonic’s kit list.

Consequently it comes with a new MyLink system that offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and keyless entry and start; Chevrolet offers a host of options, too, including a heated steering wheel, heated seats and an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot.

A range of safety systems are available, including lane departure warning and forward collision alert. You get ten airbags as standard, as well as stability control and a reversing camera.

2016 Chevrolet Sonic

Its youthful appeal is furthered with the offering of a range of wheels in 15-, 16- and 17-inch diameters, as well as a host of bright colours – including orange, red and blue, and a sporty RS trim pack.

Powering the Sonic is the ever-faithful 1.8-litre EcoTec but the prime choice will likely be the turbocharged 1.4-litre EcoTec, which produces a sensibly stout 138bhp. Yes, you can have it with a six-speed manual, too, or a six-speed automatic.

'The new styling and features of the 2017 Sonic reinforce its position as a fun, efficient small car with leading technology – all at an affordable price,' said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet’s director of marketing for Cars and Crossovers.

'This is an important segment for Chevrolet, as we really have an opportunity to introduce ourselves to new buyers and show them what we’re all about.'

Chevrolet’s new Sonic will go on sale in the US in autumn this year.

Also on display on Chevrolet’s stand in New York was the new 640bhp Camaro ZL1

Read more of CAR’s 2016 New York motor show coverage here

Click here for CAR’s A-Z guide to the 2016 New York motor show

2016 Chevrolet Sonic

By Lewis Kingston

Formerly of this parish. Inveterate car buyer and seller; currently owner of a '68 Charger project car

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