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Sonic: You’ll like the car & the price

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Sonic: You’ll like the car & the price

Performance from the Chevy Sonic 1.4-liter turbo is energetic – 0 to 60 mph in 8.2 seconds – and the manual transmission has a hill-holder that brakes the car for up to two seconds as the driver sl...

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POSTED September 5, 2012 6:18 p.m.

There’s a little game I like to play when I first get into a test car. It’s called “Guess the Price” – and it can influence the first impression. It’s the dollar number that I’d pay for the vehicle – and often I’m wrong, on the low side.

The bright red 2012 Chevrolet Sonic test car had the upgrade to six-speed manual and 138-hp, turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder, alloy wheels and a rear spoiler. I was seeing dollar signs. Looking around inside, I noted the two-tone treatment (light gray and black), found the manual seat-height adjuster and set the tilt and telescopic steering wheel with cruise, phone and radio controls. There are covered vanity mirrors, a fold-down driver armrest, dual glove boxes and power mirrors-windows-locks – all uplevel extras. The audio system included satellite radio and Bluetooth phone connection. And the good-looking seat fabric had to be “deluxe.”

I knew that pricing started at about $15,000 and the competition includes the Ford Fiesta, Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent and Nissan Versa. I placed my bet at $18,000, then looked at the pricing sheet. To my surprise, the Sonic won at $17,735 as tested, including the $795 freight charge from Lake Orion, Mich.

I liked the pricing and I liked the car.

The sedan has a starting price of $14,660 and the five-door hatchback starts at $15,560. All models come with 10 air bags, remote locking, air conditioning, power locks and 15-inch alloy wheels. The standard transmission is a five-speed manual and the six-speed automatic adds $1,070. The top-line LTZ with all the big options (sunroof, bigger wheels and turbo engine) just brushes $21,000. A sport-tuned 2013 Sonic RS Turbo hatchback goes on sale later this year with a sleek aero treatment and such trim extras as sport seats, flat-bottom steering wheel, tuned exhaust and 17-inch wheels, but no power increase.

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