The 2013 Sonic 5DR RS (sub-compact/economy) features an Ecotec turbo 1.4L VVT DOHC 4-Cylinder, and is a 6 speed manual. With two styles to choose from, sedan or hatchback the Sonic RS is a compact car which measures 159” in length.
With sport suspension, this zippy car was lowered with performance dampeners and boasted a few sporty design and safety features. For starters the Sonic RS is equipped with an above average amount of airbags, (10 total) and also features Stabilitrak with traction control. During my time with the Sonic we experienced a plethora of adverse weather conditions from rain to sleet, snow, and ice. With careful driving the Sonic not only held the road extremely well but kept the driver and front passenger comfortable. The rear window defroster, rear window wiper and washer helped with visibility and the heated seats kept the driver and passenger nice and warm. Heated seats and leg room are not located in the back seats however although the leg room is adequate within the Sonic’s segment.
The Sonic is comparable to a Nissan Versa, Ford Fiesta, and Hyundai Accent. The tested model included leather seats with suede accents and the front seats were manual while the back were split. Although not a lot of cargo could be found within the Sonic, the trunks interior was proportionate to its size. The RS level included a spoiler, sportier exterior and interior design lines, steering wheel and wheel. The model was also equipped with MyLink radio, USB, voice recognition, Pandora, and Bluetooth. All of which made this zippy little car a little more entertaining.
Engine made in the US and the transmission made in Austria
Overall vehicle score of the Sonic was 5 out of 5 stars by the NHTSA
29 city/40 hwy – Average mpg 30 mph
Base model starts at $14,185 per Chevrolet.com
Tested model $20,200
2013 Spark 2 LT Manual (mini-economy class) The Spark’s Ecotec 1.25L five-speed manual revved high while in fifth gear – it could have used an additional gear which would have allowed it to work a little less hard. The tested model was a hatchback which included 10 air bags (an above average amount), including knee airbags. The vehicle also featured Stabilitrak, Hill Start Assist, and Traction Control. I also noticed the hazard light button was front and center on the console, easy to find, and even blinked while activated – a helpful quality for such a necessary safety element.
Besides being equipped with noteworthy safety characteristics, this four seater also included a good amount of entertainment features such as a color touch screen with MyLink, USB, Pandora, Aux, XM, and Bluetooth. The entertainment console and its knobs and buttons were all small, easy to find, and unobtrusive. The only feature which did need a manual consult was the vehicles cruise control, which was initially a little tricky to figure out. Another faux pas in usage (and possibly design) was putting the vehicle’s On Star and emergency buttons a little too close to the interior lighting switches. An accidental call to On Star was followed by a quick hang-up in an effort to find the cabin light switches and obtain a little lighting.
The cars interior lighting though was very bright and the interior also featured elements of comfort such as heated front seats. During testing, the Spark, (like the above mentioned Sonic) was tested during extremely intense winter weather conditions and there was never a time when any wheel slippage occurred during these trips all within felt safe and secure.
Inside the car, neither the steering wheel nor the front seat were able to be raised, but the back seats (feature 60/40 split) recline so as to provide a little additional cargo room within the vehicle’s tiny trunk. Although the cargo is proportionate with the vehicle’s size it did make a great use of interior space with cup holders located within the lower door panels and a great little nook above the glove box to store pens and phones without them sliding across the dash.
The Spark is comparable to a Scion IQ, Fiat 500, and a Smartfortwo 2 door coupe.
Upgrades such as back up camera, sunroof, and blind spot detection are available
The vehicles mpg is 32 city/38 hwy with an average of 34 The length of the vehicle is 144.7”, (about a foot shorter than the Sonic)
78% of the parts are from Korea including the engine and transmission
Base model Spark starts at $12,185 per Chevrolet.com
Tested model $15,045
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