The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

2012 Chevrolet Sonic Draws 5-Star Safety Rating

January 04, 2012

DETROIT – The 2012 model-year Chevrolet Sonic has received a 5-star overall vehicle safety score from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

NHTSA tested the vehicle under the agency’s revised New Car Assessment Program, implemented starting with the 2011 model year. The Sonic brings to 10 the number of General Motors 2012 models with 5-star overall vehicle scores for safety.

The Chevrolet Sonic's performance in NHTSA crash tests draws a 5-Star rating.
The Chevrolet Sonic's performance in NHTSA crash tests draws a 5-Star rating.

The overall rating is based on frontal and side crash tests in addition to rollover resistance testing. The three test conditions are combined mathematically into an “overall vehicle score.” 

The Sonic achieved an overall vehicle score of 5 stars -– the highest rating possible -– even though the vehicle received 4 stars for rollover. NHTSA applies the results for the Sonic sedan to the 5-door hatchback model because of the same safety equipment and performance.

“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. 

The body structure incorporates a single welded side ring unit, and more than 60 percent of the vehicle safety cage consists of high-strength steel. Other standard safety features include:

Driver and front passenger dual-stage frontal air bags, seat-mounted side pelvic/thorax air bags, knee air bags and head curtain side air bags with rollover protection that cover front and outboard rear seating rows. The Sonic also has side impact air bags in the outboard rear seating positions for a total of 10 standard air bags.

Rollover sensors, which can activate the head-curtain side air bags if sensors determine an imminent rollover. In a rollover, the air bags stay inflated longer to provide increased occupant protection.

StabiliTrak electronic stability control helps the driver maintain control by comparing the path being steered by the driver with the actual response and, when necessary, applying the brakes or adjusting the throttle or a combination of both.

Power-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes with ABS, full-function traction control and panic brake assist that activates when an emergency braking maneuver is detected. The system automatically develops additional brake pressure to more quickly engage ABS.

Front safety belt pretensioners to reduce forward occupant movement and load-limiting retractors to help manage forces during a collision

OnStar, which features the Automatic Crash Response System that uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event that a crash is detected.

Starting with 2011 models, NHTSA introduced tougher tests and more rigorous requirements for its 5-star ratings that provide more information about safety feature performance and crash-avoidance technologies. Changes included a new side pole test simulating a 20-mph side-impact crash into a 10-inch-diameter pole or tree at a 75-degree angle just behind the A-pillar on the driver’s side.

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Please note that comments may be moderated. 
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  1. 1. Chris Burgeson [ January 05, 2012 @ 07:18AM ]

    Was this rating given for Sonics with or without brake pads?

  2. 2. tom [ January 05, 2012 @ 08:46AM ]

    @Chris, what do you mean with or without brake pads?

  3. 3. Chris Burgeson [ January 05, 2012 @ 11:42AM ]

    My comment was a little tongue-in-cheek, but it refers to the recall that was just announced for 2012 Sonics because some of them were actually shipped with missing brake pads. See


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