The all-new Chevrolet Sonic—the only subcompact built in the United States—has earned another important distinction: Both the sedan and five-door hatch body styles have earned 5-star overall vehicle safety scores in the New Car Assessment Program, overseen by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Sonic now becomes the 10th GM vehicle to achieve a 5-star rating from NHTSA for the 2012 model year.
Certainly helping matters is the fact that the Sonic packs a substantial level of standard safety equipment into its nimble proportions, including technologies such as GM’s proven StabiliTrak electronic stability control system, full-function traction control and a “panic brake assist” feature. The latter can detect when the Sonic is in an emergency braking situation and create additional brake pressure to more quickly engage the car’s anti-lock braking system.
The Sonic also boasts 10 air bags: Driver and front-passenger dual-stage frontal air bags, seat-mounted side pelvic/thorax air bags, knee air bags, side-impact air bags for the outboard rear passengers, and head-curtain side air bags with rollover protection for front and outboard rear seating positions. According to Dayton Chevy, the latter can be activated via special sensors that can anticipate a rollover scenario and adjust the air-bag inflation duration for optimum protection.
All that and more—including GM’s OnStar technology with an Automatic Crash Response System—is then wrapped up in a robust body structure, with a vehicle safety cage that relies on the extensive use of high-strength steel.
“We developed Sonic to exceed customer expectations of subcompacts in terms of segment-leading safety features,” said Gay Kent, GM executive director of vehicle safety. “From the largest vehicles in our lineup to the smallest, we are putting overall crashworthiness and state-of-the-art safety technologies at the top of the list of must-haves.”