The 2014 Chevy Sonic will add a trio of top safety technologies for the new model year, as the hot-selling subcompact looks to end the reign of the Nissan Versa as the segment’s No. 1 player. Now, that’s unlikely to happen this year, as the Versa owns a 20,000-unit volume advantage over the Sonic through the first eight months of 2013, but the Bowtie entry did score a notable upset in the August rankings.
At the end of July, the Versa had been the subcompact leader for 21 of the past 24 months, and also captured the annual segment sales crown going back to at least 2010—which is as far back as I checked. Yet in August, the Chevy Sonic led the way with 11,354 sales that were up 30.5 percent and nearly 1,400 units ahead of the Versa’s total last month.
Then, for the new model year, the 2014 Chevy Sonic will add to its benefits by offering owners a rearview camera, lane-departure warning and forward-collision alert, the latter two of which are particularly rare among the other mainstream subcompacts. Similarly, the Sonic is the only car in its class to earn a 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and was the first to come standard with 10 airbags; it’s a Top Safety Pick of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), too.
But even if the new safety features don’t give the 2014 Chevy Sonic a long-term sales lead over its rivals, it provides something even better for its owners.
“While airbags and other passive safety technologies are indispensable, the active safety system now can help even more Sonic drivers avoid collisions from the start,” said Dongseok Kim, managing director of safety, regulations and product investigations for General Motors Korea, where the 2014 Chevy Sonic was first developed.
Just remember, although the Chevy Sonic was designed in South Korea, it also remains the only subcompact currently being built in the United States, at GM’s facility in Lake Orion, Mich.