There are plenty of cheap cars on the used market, but it’s hard to find one that’s also fun to drive. Thankfully, Chevrolet makes one of the best small cars you can buy with a bargain price tag. According to U.S. News, the 2014 Chevy Sonic is the best used car for under $10,000.
Inside the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic
Despite its small stature, the Chevrolet Sonic can accommodate all its riders comfortably. It’s available as either a sedan or a hatchback and can seat up to five passengers in each. The car’s wide windshield eliminates a lot of blind spots and the high driving position is especially ideal for shorter drivers.
The seats themselves are predictably narrow and don’t have many adjustability options. Cloth upholstery is standard, but the optional leatherette seating provides more support.
While the second row isn’t as spacious as the front, the high cushions give riders some comfortable padding under their legs. Both the hatchback and sedans have an excellent amount of cargo room.
The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic can also be equipped with some good technology. However, the base trim only includes an OnStar system and Bluetooth. It also doesn’t have any standard safety features, although it did receive good crash test scores upon its release.
The mid-level Sonic LTZ is more impressive on the technology front, with an infotainment screen, voice recognition, a rearview camera, and Siri Eyes Free. It also comes with power-operated windows and a USB port if you need to charge your phone.
2014 was also the first year when two much-needed driver’s aids were made available: lane-departure mitigation and forward-collision warning. The top-of-the-line Sonic RS has a sports suspension and aluminum pedals to complement its more powerful engine.
Surprisingly decent performance
The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic RS also comes standard with a more powerful version of the base engine. The turbo-four is capable of 138 hp and comes paired with a five-speed manual transmission. Both the base engine and the turbo-four can also be paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
While both cars are zippy around town, the turbo-four Sonic models undeniably have better acceleration. Even on the highway, drivers will enjoy a peaceful ride thanks to a fine-tuned suspension and excellent insulation. The brakes are also easy to modulate on both wet and dry pavement.
Where the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic falls short
While the standard version of the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic is the cheapest model, it’s not great. The weaker engine is actually worse on gas than the turbo version, fuel economy is estimated at 28 mpg combined city/highway. By comparison, a Sonic with the turbo-four and the manual transmission gets an estimated 32 mpg combined city/highway.
Both versions of the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic also have some problems with handling. Consumer Reports said the steering wheel provides quick responses, but drivers don’t get much feedback. Consumer Reports also said that the sedan feels more floaty on the highway, but the hatchback feels more secure.
Both transmissions could also use a bit of retuning. The long throws of the manual make it cumbersome to use and the automatic often pauses between shifts.
As you’d expect from a vehicle in the Sonic’s class, the interior isn’t very fancy. It has lots of hard plastic and rubber parts, plus a paper-thin headliner. The standard cloth seats also don’t provide a lot of support during longer drives.
Despite this, every component fits neatly into place and is built to last for a long time. The 2014 Chevrolet Sonic got a perfect predicted reliability score from J.D. Power. While it’s not the flashiest car on the block, its performance and functional interior make it an impressive value.