Pecheles Automotive Compares 2018 Toyota Corolla VS 2018 Chevrolet Sonic Near Greenville, NC

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2018 Toyota Corolla

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2018 Toyota Corolla

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2018 Chevrolet Sonic

Safety Comparison

The Corolla 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 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’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 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 and rearview cameras.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Toyota Corolla is safer than the Chevrolet Sonic:







5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Compression

45 lbs.

60 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Toyota Corolla is safer than the Chevrolet Sonic:





Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.6 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

106 G’s

184 G’s


Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

13 inches

14 inches

Spine Acceleration

35 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

868 lbs.

885 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” to “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Corolla the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 88 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Sonic was last qualified as only a “Top Pick” in 2016.

The Toyota Corolla has a better fatality history. The Corolla was involved in fatal accidents at a rate 7.3% lower per vehicle registered than the Sonic, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Warranty Comparison

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

Reliability Comparison

A hardened steel chain, with no maintenance needs, drives the camshafts in the Corolla’s engine. A rubber belt that needs periodic replacement drives the Sonic 1.8 DOHC 4 cyl.’s camshafts. If the Sonic’s cam drive belt breaks the engine could be severely damaged when the pistons hit the opened valves.

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’s reliability 28 points higher than the Sonic.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Chevrolet vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota second in reliability. Chevrolet is ranked 15th.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

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








27 city/35 hwy

26 city/35 hwy

1.8 4 cyl./Manual


LE Eco/Auto

30 city/40 hwy

27 city/35 hwy

1.4 turbo/Auto


LE Eco 16” Wheels/Auto

29 city/38 hwy





28 city/36 hwy

25 city/34 hwy

1.8 4 cyl./Auto



28 city/35 hwy



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

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Corolla’s standard brakes have 73% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the Sonic (286 vs. 165.3 square inches), so the Corolla has more braking power available. The Corolla SE/XSE’s brakes have 127% more swept area (the area covered by the brake pads) than the Sonic (376 vs. 165.3 square inches), so the Corolla SE/XSE has more braking power available.

The Corolla SE/XSE has standard antilock 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 which work much harder than conventional brakes.

The Corolla stops shorter than the Sonic:





70 to 0 MPH

180 feet

184 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Corolla SE/XSE’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sonic (215/45R17 vs. 205/55R16).

The Corolla SE/XSE’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sonic’s optional 50 series tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Corolla has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Corolla 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’s wheelbase is 6.9 inches longer than on the Sonic (106.3 inches vs. 99.4 inches).

The Corolla’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (60.4% to 39.6%) than the Sonic’s (62.5% to 37.5%). This gives the Corolla more stable handling and braking.

Chassis Comparison

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

Passenger Space Comparison

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Corolla is rated a Mid-size car by the EPA, while the Sonic Sedan is rated a Compact.

The Corolla has 7.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Sonic Sedan (97.5 vs. 90.3).

The Corolla has .5 inches more front legroom, 1.6 inches more front hip room, 1.4 inches more front shoulder room, 6.8 inches more rear legroom and 1.8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Sonic Sedan.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Corolla’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 has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Sonic doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

Consumer Reports rated the Corolla’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Sonic’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

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

The Corolla LE/XLE/SE/XSE 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 LE/XLE/SE/XSE’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 has standard rear heat vents to keep rear occupants more comfortable. The Sonic doesn’t offer rear vents.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Corolla 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 (except L)’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.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The Corolla will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Corolla will retain 46.66% to 47.64% of its original price after five years, while the Sonic only retains 37.23% to 39.56%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Corolla is less expensive to operate than the Sonic because typical repairs cost much less on the Corolla than the Sonic, including $67 less for a water pump, $233 less for an alternator, $45 less for front brake pads and $255 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Toyota Corolla and the Chevrolet Sonic, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Toyota Corolla outsold the Chevrolet Sonic by almost 11 to one during 2017.

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