2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ sedan

April 6, 2012

Bottom line: The Chevrolet Sonic compares favorably with any subcompact car sold in the United States. That includes all models from Japan and South Korea.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Excellent marks in all three.

Head-turning quotient: Cute, hip, attractive.

Body style/layout: The Chevrolet Sonic is an all-new, front-engine, front-wheel-drive subcompact automobile available as sedan or hatchback. It is offered in three trim iterations — base LS, midgrade LT, and top-grade LTZ.

Engine/transmission for tested 2012 Chevrolet LTZ: The test model came with GM’s optional ECOTEC Turbo 1.4-liter, 16-valve, gasoline fuel injection engine with variable valve timing (138 horsepower/148 foot-pounds of torque). The engine was linked to an optional six-speed manual transmission.

A 1.8-liter inline four-cylinder engine is standard (138 horsepower/125 foot-pounds of torque) is standard, as is a five-speed manual transmission.

Capacities: Seats for four people with the smaller riders best relegated to the rear quarters. Cargo space with rear seats up is 14.9 cubic feet. With rear seats folded, cargo space improves considerably but still falls below that of the comparable Honda Fit, which also gets two-thumbs up from this column.

Safety: Standard safety equipment for the 2012 Sonic includes 10 air bags, including knee bolsters; ventilated front disc brakes, rear drums; four-wheel antilock brake protection; emergency braking assistance; electronic stability and traction control.

Price: The base price for the Chevrolet Sonic LTZ is $16,665. Dealer’s invoice price on that model is $15,832. Price as tested is $18,610, including $700 for the ECOTEC Turbo four-cylinder engine and six-speed manual transmission; and a $795 destination charge. Dealer’s price as tested is $17,243.

Tourist note: The 2012 New York International Auto Show, which opened to the public over the weekend, is underway through April 15 at the Javits Convention Center. For those of you lucky enough to attend, I’d like to know what YOU think about the new Ford Escape, Hyundai Santa Fe, Mazda CX-5 and Chevrolet Impala. Thanks. Happy holidays to all of you celebrating Easter and Passover.

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