2013 Chevy Sonic

The Chevy Sonic could be the answer for parents who want their kids to be driving in a car that’s safe, affordable and gets good mileage. Got a kid going off to college or driving to high school? Take a good look at the Chevy 2013 Sonic.

Here’s what a conversation between parent and student might look like:

Parent: I want you to be in a car that’s safe. It needs to have lots of airbags. It should be equipped with stability and traction control systems and have 4-wheel anti-lock brakes. I want you to have a car that has gotten good reviews and one that gets excellent gas mileage because I don’t want you hitting me up for gas money all the time. And I have to be able to afford it, so it can’t cost an arm and a leg. And it’s important for your car to have OnStar so if you get into an accident you can get help. What were you thinking about for a car?

Student: I want a cool car.

With the Chevy Sonic, especially in the RS trim, this interaction between parent and student can be a win-win proposition.

The parent wins because the 2013 Sonic gets up to 33 miles per gallon on the highway (manual transmission), because it’s a “Top Safety Pick” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and it gets 5 stars in the government’s safety tests.

The young driver wins because it’s a pretty cool looking car.

The Sonic is powered by a 1.4-liter turbo engine that produces 138 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque. A 6-speed manual and a 6-speed automatic are the transmission choices.

EPA estimated mileage figures for the Sonic RS are 27 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with the manual transmission. The automatic gets 25 city and 33 highway miles per gallon.

The Sonic is offered in four-door sedan and hatchback models. Our test car this week was the Sonic RS hatchback, a sporty little number wearing a “Victory Red” coat of paint.

The RS package keeps the same engine but adds other features to enhance vehicle appearance and performance. It lowers the car’s ride height 10 mm, stiffens the suspension, adds a sportier grille, adds RS and turbo badges and also adds 5-spoke 17-inch wheels.

Inside the Sonic RS, we found the seats remarkably comfortable, the dash layout convenient and intuitive, and decent headroom at 38.7 inches.

The front passenger compartment was roomy, but when the front seats were pushed back the rear seats were cramped with 34.6 inches of legroom.

Chevrolet’s MyLink infotainment system is standard in the Sonic RS and LTZ, and available on LS and LT models. The system enables drivers to connect to their smart phones to play music and display videos and photos on the screen. MyLink uses Bluetooth and USB ports for connectivity, and the system is compatible with Pandora Internet Radio and Stitcher Smart Radio.

The Sonic has 10 standard airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability and traction control systems, and it gets top marks from government and insurance test groups.

Our 2013 Sonic 5-door RS test car had a base price of $21,470 and the test car had no options. Add $810 in freight and the out-the-door sticker price was $22,280.

Chevy has had great success with the Sonic, and it’s easy to see why. It’s good, affordable transportation, and it looks cool enough even for teen-agers.

2013 Chevy Sonic

5-door RS

Engine:

1.4-liter turbo 4-cylinder

Transmission:

6 speed automatic

Horsepower:

138

Test model base price:

$21,470

EPA mileage rating:

25 mpg city / 33 mpg highway (automatic)

27 mpg city / 34 mpg highway (manual)