Adding color to a boring segment.
The good looks of the Sonic continue inside where you’re greeted with a nice two-tone interior that’s surprisingly spacious for a car that looks so small and, admittedly, sporty.
Starting from the dash, the speedometer, with its accompanying info panel has minimal but very effective feel to it. The RPM gauge sits in an analogue dial, with cool cyan lights showing you that you’re good to go up to 6.5K RPM before hitting the redline. The panel just to the right shows the rest of information necessary for daily driving, like fuel level, trip computer, gear position and, of course, speed. Above and below the panel are various holes that show the warning signs for the rest of the car.
The three-spoked steering wheel of the Sonic has a nice rubber grip to it with the cruise control, telephone and menu navigation keys on it. Coming to the central console we see two strangely empty storage panels where I think the A/C ducts should have been. Given the small screen of the entertainment system, the A/C ducts sit right on top of it.
The only time I spent on the in-car entertainment of the Sonic was to setup my iPhone 4 with the Bluetooth, which took just under 2 minutes to sync. Everything else is as standard as it comes. The climate control beneath is nothing to write home about; it gets the job done.
Move lower and you’ll see the 6-speed automatic gearbox. While I’ll talk about the performance of the Sonic in a bit, one cool thing was a safety feature whereby as soon as the gear is shifted to ‘D’, or even reverse, the Sonic locks all doors with a surprisingly loud clack. Many high-end cars don’t lock the doors until at least the vehicle start moving.
Now the fabric seats were fairly comfortable, albeit the padded cushions were a bit stiff. What I love about the Sonic’s interior, though, is how breathy and open it feels, especially with the sunroof. Often cars in this segment feel a bit too compact inside.
The overall look of the interior is very pleasant, especially in the night when the rest of the cyan lights on the various bits and bobs light up to give a futuristic look inside. Sound wise the Sonic is actually pretty composed and quiet when you’re under 120kmph. Over that, though, and the highway winds start howling a bit. It’s not until you’re flooring the Sonic that you’re actually reminded of the fact that this is a very small car, because the 1.6 liter just whines a whole lot over 4K rpm.
Another thing that severely reminds of how cheap (in monetary terms) the Sonic is, is the entire paneling inside on the doors, the dash and the console is just hard plastic. Pretty looking shades to be sure, but still hard plastic. There are no felt materials inside the Sonic except for the steering wheel.