New GM Sonic hits the road

In 2004, General Motors imported a small and cheap car from Korea which they marketed under its subsidiary company, Daewoo.

The car was very cheap and, despite being a rather bad car, the price tag alone made it very popular.

It was a five door hatchback that could be purchased for under £10,000, and this was simply enough to shift it off the dealerships forecourts.

The car was very popular with rental companies and the nature of this business meant that the vehicle reflected even worse on the reputation of GM.

In 2010 nearly 50,000 of the car, the Aveo, were sold, slightly fewer sold in 2011 and there are even some coming onto the road for the first time this year. The Sonic is a car that GM have designed and although they are not marketing it as a replacement for the Aveo, it really is just that.

Fortunately for GM, the car is much better than its predecessor, and apart from a few minor details the car is actually very good. The design of the car is one of the first things you will notice, as it is very aggressive.

There are two major lines running from the front to the back of the car and, to be quite honest, it is one of the best Chevrolets, design wise, in years. The design of the car makes it seem quite sporty and this is particularly due to the stylish headlights.

Inside the aggressive styling continues and it becomes clear that this car is no longer being targeted towards the economical. The instrument panel looks more as if it belongs on a racing bike and there are digital displays everywhere.

Unfortunately, it seems as if GM have missed something, as there is no indicator for engine temperature, even if the engine starts overheating, there is not even a warning light present. Despite this small fault, the instrument panel really is excellent overall.

Unfortunately, other than the dashboard, the interior does feel rather cheap. Unsurprisingly there is a large amount of grey plastic and you would be forgiven for thinking that GM have made the instrument panel so aggressive so that it distracts the driver from the swaths of plastic.

The seating material is the real problem though, it is a cheap kind of fake leather that looks more as if it belongs in a budget taxi. GM should have either gone for real leather, or no leather at all.

The car comes with a choice of manual or automatic, but there are far more options if you go for the automatic version. In testing however, this version has been shown to perform rather badly and many reviewers have commented that the gear shifting seems to be far too slow. If you spend a lot of time in traffic or want a commuter car, then you should go for the automatic, but otherwise definitely opt for the manual.

The car comes with several different engine options, the standard is a 1.8 litre engine with four cylinders and is capable of developing nearly 140 horsepower. There is also a more economical engine but it does feel significantly slower.

The larger engine does an average of 29 mpg, which does seem unusually low for a car of this size, but it is far from appalling. If you are after a more efficient vehicle, then you should go for the economical engine, this is capable of getting 40 mpg on the motorway, while still managing 29 when driving in the city. When compared with other vehicles in its class, this fuel efficiency is not particularly impressive and it will encourage many people to buy the very similar, Ford Fiesta.

The best thing about the car is that it is very well balanced and everything seems to come together very nicely. It is certainly not a perfect vehicle, but it is not going to disappoint the driver either.