Chevrolet Sonic Earns 2015 Top Safety Pick
Small in stature doesn’t always mean a car is unsafe, and that couldn’t be more true than with the 2015 Chevrolet Sonic. The IIHS solidified this recently by awarding the small econobox its coveted Top Safety Pick award after a disappointing showing initially.
“They sure don’t build them like they used to,” and it’s a dang good thing too. Years ago, folks thought the bigger and stronger a car was meant it was a safer car. More recently, automakers found that strategically positioning weak spots in cars, known as “crumple zones,” helped keep passengers safer by using the energy of a crash to fold these spots like an accordion instead of causing trauma to the passengers.
Crumple zones are old news though, as automakers have to deal with new and changing safety tests with each passing year. One such test is the controversial and hard-to-pass small overlap frontal crash. The 2015 Sonic initially did below average on this test, netting it a “marginal” rating from the IIHS and leaving it one “good” rating shy of the Top Safety Pick award.
Well, Chevy went to task improving the front-end structure, the doorsill, and the door hinge pillar on the 2015 Sonic in February 2015. With these improvements in place, the IIHS noted that intrusion into the driver’s space dropped from 6 inches to just 4 inches, resulting in a lower likelihood of injury. Additionally, the front and curtain airbags protected the crash-test dummy’s head better than in the previous test. In the previous test, the airbag deployed late, resulting in an increased potential for injury.
Those improvements were enough to jump the Sonic two levels in its small overlap test, earning it a “good” rating.
The 2015 Sonic also received “good” ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraint tests on its way to the Top Safety Pick award.
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Why it matters
With folks stretching to make ends meet, these small sedans and hatchbacks have become staple family cars. Therefore, the safety of these cars is super important. Add to this recent NHTSA research showing that these small overlap crashes (less than 33 percent overlap) make up 22 percent of fatal car crashes in the U.S., it is obvious why it was important for Chevy to improve this rating. Not only will this help sell more Sonics in the future, but it will also keep occupants safer on the road.
Read our full review here.