THE SELL: Chevy brings a sporty turbo engine to the budget-minded commuter vehicle. THE TEST: On Orange County freeways, the pint-size 138-hp, four-cylinder Sonic -easily zipped up to and held 80 mph. The front end, from the grille to the driver’s seat, felt like a much bigger car, but the stubby, lightweight rear end felt less than stable at speed. Inside, the car fit four six-foot adults and, in the rear hatchback, a large duffel bag—impressive. And it still delivered a combined 33-plus mpg, thanks to a sixth gear on the stick shift. THE VERDICT: Spaciousness, a gunning engine, and 40-plus mpg for less than $16K makes the Sonic arguably the most impressive economy car Detroit’s ever produced. 29 mpg city/40 hwy
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