2020 Toyota Corolla Hatchback vs. 2020 Chevrolet Sonic

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

The Corolla Hatchback has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats (WIL), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WIL system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Sonic doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Corolla Hatchback has standard Pre-Collision System, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Sonic offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Corolla Hatchback has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Sonic doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Corolla Hatchback’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Sonic doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Corolla Hatchback and the Sonic have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available blind spot warning systems.

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Corolla Hatchback the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 106 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Sonic has not been fully tested, yet.

Warranty

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The Corolla Hatchback’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Sonic’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Corolla Hatchback for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Chevrolet only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the Sonic.

Reliability

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A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Corolla Hatchback’s reliability 13 points higher than the Sonic.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Chevrolet is ranked fourth.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 23rd.

Engine

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The Corolla Hatchback’s 2.0 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 30 more horsepower (168 vs. 138) and 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (151 vs. 148) than the Sonic’s 1.4 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Corolla Hatchback is faster than the Chevrolet Sonic (manual transmissions tested):

Corolla Hatchback

Sonic

Zero to 60 MPH

7.4 sec

8.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.8 sec

16.6 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

88.4 MPH

84 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

On the EPA test cycle the Corolla Hatchback gets better fuel mileage than the Sonic:

MPG

Corolla Hatchback

Manual

2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

28 city/37 hwy

Auto

SE 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

32 city/41 hwy

XSE 2.0 DOHC 4-cyl.

30 city/38 hwy

Sonic

Auto

1.4 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/34 hwy

The Corolla Hatchback has a gallon more fuel capacity than the Sonic (13.2 vs. 12.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Toyota Corolla Hatchback higher (6 out of 10) than the Chevrolet Sonic (3). This means the Corolla Hatchback produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Sonic every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The Corolla Hatchback offers a manual transmission for better acceleration, control and fuel economy. The Sonic doesn’t offer a manual transmission.

The Corolla Hatchback offers an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Sonic doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the Corolla Hatchback’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Sonic:

Corolla Hatchback

Sonic

Front Rotors

11.5 inches

10.8 inches

Rear Rotors

10.5 inches

9” drums

The Toyota Corolla Hatchback has standard four-wheel disc brakes for better stopping power and improved directional control in poor weather. Only rear drums come on the Sonic. Drums can heat up and make stops longer, especially with antilock brakes that work much harder than conventional brakes.

The Corolla Hatchback stops shorter than the Sonic:

Corolla Hatchback

Sonic

70 to 0 MPH

175 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

129 feet

130 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

140 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Corolla Hatchback has larger standard tires than the Sonic (205/55R16 vs. 195/65R15). The Corolla Hatchback XSE/Nightshade’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sonic (225/40R18 vs. 205/55R16).

The Corolla Hatchback SE’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sonic LS/LT’s standard 65 series tires. The Corolla Hatchback XSE/Nightshade’s tires have a lower 40 series profile than the Sonic’s optional 50 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Corolla Hatchback SE has standard 16-inch wheels. Smaller 15-inch wheels are standard on the Sonic LS/LT. The Corolla Hatchback XSE/Nightshade’s 18-inch wheels are larger than the 17-inch wheels optional on the Sonic.

Suspension and Handling

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For superior ride and handling, the Toyota Corolla Hatchback has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Chevrolet Sonic has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Corolla Hatchback has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Corolla Hatchback flat and controlled during cornering. The Sonic’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Corolla Hatchback’s wheelbase is 4.5 inches longer than on the Sonic (103.9 inches vs. 99.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Corolla Hatchback is .9 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Sonic.

Chassis

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For excellent aerodynamics, the Corolla Hatchback has standard flush composite headlights. The Sonic has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

Passenger Space

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The Corolla Hatchback has .2 inches more front legroom, 2.5 inches more front hip room, .5 inches more front shoulder room and 1.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Sonic Sedan.

Ergonomics

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The Corolla Hatchback’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Sonic has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

The Corolla Hatchback’s standard power windows allow the driver or passenger to lower and raise the windows without leaning over or being distracted. Power windows are only available on the Sonic LT/Premier.

The Corolla Hatchback’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Sonic LT/Premier’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the Corolla Hatchback the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (Your Toyota service department must activate this window function.) The driver of the Sonic can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Corolla Hatchback detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Sonic doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Corolla Hatchback XSE offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Sonic doesn’t offer cornering lights.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Corolla Hatchback has standard extendable sun visors. The Sonic doesn’t offer extendable visors.

The Corolla Hatchback’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Chevrolet only offers heated mirrors on the Sonic LT/Premier.

The Corolla Hatchback has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Sonic doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

The Corolla Hatchback XSE’s standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Sonic doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

The Corolla Hatchback’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Sonic doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

For greater rear passenger comfort, the Corolla Hatchback XSE has standard rear a/c vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Sonic doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Corolla Hatchback has a standard Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Sonic doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

The Corolla Hatchback XSE CVT’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Sonic’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Toyota Corolla XSE Auto offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Sonic doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Corolla Hatchback is less expensive to operate than the Sonic because it costs $27 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Corolla Hatchback than the Sonic, including $136 less for a water pump, $312 less for a muffler, $157 less for front brake pads and $259 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/23

Consumer Reports® recommends the Toyota Corolla Hatchback, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Chevrolet Sonic isn't recommended.

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Chevrolet Sonic by almost 23 to one during the 2019 model year.

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

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