The Chevy Sonic certainly has made a nice job of cashing in on the Bowtie brand’s newfound small-car expertise, but what’s particularly impressive is that it has done so from a one-down position as compared to its rivals: When it was first launched, the Sonic didn’t offer customers an automatic gearbox in its premier model, the one featuring a peppy 1.4-liter turbocharged engine. But that long national nightmare for subcompact customers is finally over, as the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic Turbo is now available with a six-speed automatic transmission. Prices will start at $17,630 for the sedan and $18,430 for the hatch, including a $795 destination charge.
Of course, as mentioned, the Sonic has done relatively well volume-wise without that powertrain. The car debuted late last year and instantly became one of the segment’s top sellers, and it’s been seeing plenty of action so far this year, too. The Sonic was No. 2 in its segment in both January and February, with last month representing the car’s highest sales volume yet—some 7,900 units. The only vehicle ahead of the Sonic on the subcompact sales chart is the Nissan Versa, and that car holds nearly the same kind of dominating position in its segment that the Ford F-150 does among the full-size pickups. But Sonic sales handily topped those from the rest of its rivals, which include all-new products like the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio, as well as the venerable—but still very competent—Honda Fit.