While foreign automakers have dominated the compact vehicle market in years past, such is not the case for 2012. Both Ford and Chevy have re-entered the ring with a compact vehicle that reviewers routinely rank towards the top of the heap. Keep reading to compare the 2012 Ford Fiesta and 2012 Chevrolet Sonic to determine which of these American offerings is best for you.
2012 Ford Fiesta vs. 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
Styling: 2012 Ford Fiesta vs. 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
Both the Fiesta and Sonic are available as a hatchback or sedan. As might be expected, sedan models are a bit more buttoned-down when compared to the sportier hatchback variants. However, both Ford and Chevy paid extra attention to exterior styling on both trim variants. As a result, all models have a fun personality that helps them stand out from the pack.
Overall, the Fiesta may win you over with its slightly more refined fit and finish. Interior quality of the Chevy Sonic is far from disappointing. However, there are a few more hard plastics in the Chevy option that aren't present in the Ford. That being said, the Sonic offers a bit more storage space (30.9 maximum cubic feet compared to 26 cubic feet for the Fiesta). Also, the Fiesta's rear seats don't fold completely flat – fact that may earn the Ford a demerit if hauling is important to you.
View more 2012 Ford Fiesta photos
View more 2012 Chevrolet Sonic photos
Performance: 2012 Ford Fiesta vs. 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
Reviewers are generally pleased with the spry maneuvering of the Ford Fiesta and Chevrolet Sonic. However, neither models could be mistaken for a sports car. Looking strictly at the spec sheet, the Sonic wins out with a base 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 138 horsepower. In comparison, the base Ford Fiesta delivers a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that musters 120 horsepower.
The flip coin of that smaller engine, however, is better fuel efficiency. The 2012 Fiesta comes rated at 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. The 2012 Sonic, while certainly no slouch, comes up a bit short with 26 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway.
It should also be mentioned that the Sonic is the only vehicle in the affordable compact market to offer an optional turbocharged engine.
Review full 2012 Ford Fiesta specifications
Review full 2012 Chevrolet Sonic specifications
Safety: 2012 Ford Fiesta vs. 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
The Ford Fiesta comes standard with side curtain airbags, driver's knee airbag, four-wheel antilock brakes, electronic brakeforce distribution, hill start assist and tire pressure monitoring system. The Chevy Sonic includes all these features, and adds rear side airbags, a front passenger knee airbag and OnStar technology. These extra features help make the 2012 Sonic a "Top Safety Pick" for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Ford Fiesta also fares well in crash tests, earning a best-possible rating of "Good" in all categories.
Pricing and Features: 2012 Ford Fiesta vs. 2012 Chevrolet Sonic
The base MSRP for the Ford Fiesta undercuts the base price of the Chevy Sonic by $500 ($13,995 vs. $14,495). Base features available on the Fiesta that aren't standard on the Sonic include height-adjustable driver's seat, power mirrors, rear defogger and center console. However, the Sonic offers more standard features overall, including keyless entry and alloy wheels (along with the additional standard safety features).
Available options for the Chevrolet Sonic include 17-inch alloy wheels, foglamps, heated front seats, vinyl upholstery, sunroof, steering-wheel mounted audio controls, Bluetooth, remote engine start and more. Exclusive offerings available on the Ford Fiesta include leather seats and GPS navigation. Top-of-the-line models for both contenders come with a price around $17,500.