2017 Chevrolet Sonic gets Camaro-inspired facelift for NY debut

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Chevrolet is bringing an updated Sonic to the 2016 New York Auto Show, and in the process of facelifting the new hatchback, we're worried the new look loses some of the character from one of the sub-compact segment's most charming entries. Naturally, we'll wait until we see the car on the floor of the Javits Center before making our final judgment, but it's fair to say we're not blown away by this update.

The new look ditches the four inset headlights that gave the Sonic such a memorable face, and goes with what could best be described as a Camaro-inspired look (we know it sounds crazy, but check out the face of the Camaro and compare it with the image above). The single-unit headlights and their LED running lamps are attached to the latest version of Chevrolet's grille. The upper grille is slim and wide, and the lower could be called gaping. In back, Chevy has retained some flashy taillights, but has again gone with a single-unit design, rather than the inset shapes with the black surrounds found on the old car.

The hatchback model will now be limited to the RS trim level. There will be two versions here – the RS LT and RS Premier – while the sedan will be offered in LS, LT, Premier, and RS. Like the current car, there will be 15-, 16-, and 17-inch wheel options, although based on the RS shown above, even the largest wheel option looks underwhelming, especially compared to the current Sonic RS.

There are some positive new additions, of course. There's a new seven-inch MyLink-equipped touchscreen display (which is compatible with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), heated seats and a heated steering wheel, keyless opening and a push-button start, and a segment-first power driver's seat. Chevy hasn't been quite as progressive under the hood, where the standard 1.8-liter four-cylinder and 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder remain unchanged. Two- and three-pedal six-speed transmissions will continue to be offered. We'll have more on the new Sonic when it makes its debut next week at the New York show.

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Fresh look, segment-first Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility lead changes

NEW YORK – Chevrolet today introduced the 2017 Sonic – a more expressive, sporty take on the brand's fun-to-drive small car. It offers big technologies such as a new MyLink system with segment-exclusive Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, and a fresh exterior with new LED signature lighting.

The updated styling complements new comfort and convenience features such as an available heated steering wheel and a standard 7-inch-diagonal color touchscreen for the new MyLink system. Rear Park Assist is also new, adding to one of the most comprehensive safety packages in the segment.

"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, director of marketing, Chevrolet 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."

Like the new Trax, Sonic brings new, younger customers to the brand, with more than 20 percent of them younger than 35 – and nearly 30 percent trading in non-GM vehicles. It is also Chevrolet's top vehicle for first-time new buyers.

The 2017 Sonic goes on sale this fall, offered in LS, LT and Premier trims on sedan models. The hatchback returns exclusively in RS guise, offered in LT and Premier trims. An RS package is also available on the sedan.

Refined design

Sonic's athletic exterior has an entirely new, expressive look echoing the global Chevrolet cues seen on vehicles such as the Cruze, Bolt EV and 2017 Trax.

It is a richer, more detailed design, with the front end featuring a new hood, new front fascia and new lighting elements. Projector-beam headlamps are standard, along with available LED daytime running lamps. Likewise, the rear fascia is new.

"With its trademark wheels-at-the-corners stance, the dramatic changes to the Sonic's design give it and even sportier stance and attitude," said Justin Thompson, exterior design manager.

There are also new 15-, 16- and 17-inch wheel designs and four new exterior colors offered in 2017: Orange Burst Metallic, Brimstone, Cajun Red Tintcoat and Arctic Blue Metallic (late availability).

Interior and technology enhancements

Sonic's thoughtful interior retains its focus on delivering comfort, convenience and technology. A new, detailed gauge cluster incorporating an analog speedometer adds a higher degree of refinement to the cabin, complementing addition new comfort and convenience features.

For 2017, Sonic becomes the first in its segment to offer a power driver's seat. Additional new features include:

Keyless Open and Start
Available heated cloth seats with new heated steering wheel
RS trim includes RS-logo floor mats, piano black décor, RS-badged flat-bottom steering wheel – with new, red cloth seating available.
Also new is a 7-inch-diagonal infotainment system designed to support the latest connectivity technologies, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot. With the available 4G LTE connection, Sonic provides a Wi-Fi hotspot that allows passengers to connect up to seven compatible devices such as smartphones, laptops and tablets, to high-speed wireless Internet.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is subject to their terms, privacy statements and data plan rates, as well as a compatible smartphone.

Safety first

Sonic offers safety features designed to alert drivers to potential crash situations. Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning are available active safety features. Sonic also offers 10 standard air bags, Stabilitrak electronic stability control and an antilock braking system to help provide peace of mind. Rear Park Assist is new for 2017 and a rearview camera is now standard on all models.

Turbocharged performance

The Sonic's standard Ecotec 1.8L engine is estimated to deliver similar fuel economy numbers for the 2017 model year, however official EPA estimates are not yet available. Sonic's fun-driving spirit returns with an available Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine, backed by a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. Rated at 138 horsepower (102 kW).

About Chevrolet

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 115 countries and selling around 4.0 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at

Chevrolet Sonic Information

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