2018 Chevrolet Sonic vs. 2018 Honda Fit

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 1 point, IIHS rates the frontal crash prevention system optional in the Sonic as “Basic.” The Fit scores zero, and is rated by the IIHS as having no effective frontal crash prevention.

Compared to metal, the Sonic’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Honda Fit has a metal gas tank.

The Sonic has standard OnStar®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Fit doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Sonic and the Fit have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Chevrolet Sonic is safer than the Honda Fit:

 

Sonic

Fit

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

152

251

 

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.3 inches

.6 inches

Neck Stress

166 lbs.

191 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

200/219 lbs.

326/375 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Chevrolet Sonic Sedan is safer than the Fit:

 

Sonic

Fit

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head injury index

92

651

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

n/a

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Max Chest Compression

21 cm

25 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Tibia index R/L

.52/.41

.82/.51

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Chevrolet Sonic is safer than the Honda Fit:

 

Sonic

Fit

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

104

206

Abdominal Force

184 G’s

217 G’s

Hip Force

366 lbs.

391 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

81 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

197

305

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sonic the rating of “Top Pick” for 2016, a rating granted to only 133 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Fit is not a “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Sonic’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Fit’s (6 vs. 5 years).

Chevrolet pays for scheduled maintenance on the Sonic for 2 years and 24,000 miles. Chevrolet will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance (up to 2 oil changes). Honda doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Fit.

There are almost 3 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Honda dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Sonic’s warranty.

Reliability

The Chevrolet Sonic’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Fit’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Sonic has a standard 438-amp battery. The Fit’s 340-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sonic first among small cars in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The Fit was rated third.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are better in initial quality than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 17 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 20th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Honda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Honda is ranked 7th.

Engine

The Sonic’s standard 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 10 more horsepower (138 vs. 128) and 12 lbs.-ft. more torque (125 vs. 113) than the Fit Auto’s standard 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Sonic’s 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 8 more horsepower (138 vs. 130) and 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (125 vs. 114) than the Fit’s standard 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Sonic’s optional 1.4 turbo 4 cyl. produces 8 more horsepower (138 vs. 130) and 34 lbs.-ft. more torque (148 vs. 114) than the Fit’s standard 1.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Chevrolet Sonic 4 cyl. is faster than the Honda Fit (130 HP engine) (automatics tested):

 

Sonic

Fit

Zero to 30 MPH

3.2 sec

4 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

9.3 sec

10 sec

Quarter Mile

17.1 sec

17.7 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

The Sonic has 1.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the Fit (12.2 vs. 10.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certifies the Chevrolet Sonic as a “Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle” (PZEV). The Honda Fit is only certified to emission levels ranging from “Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (ULEV) to “Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle” (SULEV) standards.

Transmission

To help the driver achieve optimum performance and fuel economy, the Sonic has a standard up-shift light to indicate when to shift based on power needs and conditions. The Fit doesn’t offer an up-shift light.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Sonic’s brake rotors and drums are larger than those on the Fit:

 

Sonic

Fit

Front Rotors

10.8 inches

10.3 inches

Rear Drums

9 inches

7.9 inches

The Sonic stops much shorter than the Fit:

 

Sonic

Fit

 

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Sonic has larger standard tires than the Fit (195/65R15 vs. 185/60R15). The Sonic LT’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Fit (205/55R16 vs. 185/60R15).

The Sonic’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Fit Sport/EX/EX-L’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sonic offers optional 17-inch wheels. The Fit’s largest wheels are only 16-inches.

The Chevrolet Sonic’s wheels have 5 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Honda Fit only has 4 wheel lugs per wheel.

Suspension and Handling

The Sonic has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Fit’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Sonic is 1.2 inches wider in the front and 1.5 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Fit.

The Sonic RS Hatchback handles at .84 G’s, while the Fit EX pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Sonic Premier Hatchback goes through AutoWeek’s slalom faster than the Fit EX (42.1 vs. 41.9 MPH).

The Sonic Premier Hatchback executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.3 seconds quicker than the Fit EX-L (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .64 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Sonic LS/LT’s turning circle is .6 feet tighter than the Fit’s (34.5 feet vs. 35.1 feet).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Sonic Hatchback is rated a Mid-size car by the EPA, while the Fit is rated a Small Station Wagon.

Cargo Capacity

The Sonic Hatchback has a much larger cargo area than the Fit with its rear seat up (19 vs. 16.6 cubic feet).

Ergonomics

The engine computer on the Sonic automatically engages the starter until the car starts with one twist of the key and disables the starter while the engine is running. The Fit’s starter can be accidentally engaged while the engine is running, making a grinding noise and possibly damaging the starter and ring gear.

The power windows standard on both the Sonic and the Fit have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Sonic is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Fit prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Sonic LT/Premier’s front and rear power windows all open fully with one touch of the switches and its front windows also automatically close, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Fit’s passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

The Sonic’s variable intermittent wipers have an adjustable delay to allow the driver to choose a setting that best clears the windshield during light rain or mist. The Fit’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent.

Consumer Reports rated the Sonic’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Fit’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

On extremely cold winter days, the Sonic’s optional (except LS/RS) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Fit doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Model Availability

The Chevrolet Sonic comes in sedan and station wagon bodystyles; the Honda Fit isn’t available as a sedan.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Sonic owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Sonic with a number “1” insurance rate while the Fit is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sonic is less expensive to operate than the Fit because typical repairs cost much less on the Sonic than the Fit, including $257 less for a starter, $137 less for fuel injection, $109 less for a fuel pump, $213 less for front struts, $301 less for a timing belt/chain and $92 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

The Chevrolet Sonic has won recognition from these important consumer publications:

 

Sonic

Fit

Consumer Reports® Recommends

TRUE

TRUE

Car Book “Best Bet”

TRUE

FALSE

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sonic second among small cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Fit isn’t in the top three.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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