Which Chevrolet Sonic engine is more reliable?

Which is the better, most reliable Sonic motor: the turbo 1.4-liter or the 1.8? I know the turbo gets a little better mpg, but which engine will last longer and be most reliable?

Jim, San Diego

We are not aware of widespread reliability problems with either engine offered in the Sonic, which are the same ones available in the Chevrolet Cruze sedan.


The Cruze debuted for the 2011 model year, one year before the Sonic, and the engines in the Cruze suffered cooling problems the first year, according to owners who participated in Consumer Reports' annual survey.

Consumer Reports does not say which engine was the culprit or whether it was both, but the 2011 Cruze is listed as having more engine cooling problems than the average for all vehicles. All other engine-related ratings were much better than average, meaning owners experienced few problems. Owners of the 2012 model gave the Cruze high marks in all engine areas, indicating the earlier cooling problems were resolved.

For the Sonic, there is just one sample year, 2012, and owners gave high reliability ratings to the engines. The main complaint from 2012 Sonic owners was squeaks and rattles.

Though we don't know which engine had more cooling issues, service bulletins issued by Chevrolet indicate it was the turbocharged 1.4-liter because three bulletins specifically mention cooling related to the turbocharger. Service bulletins are not safety recalls but are issued by manufacturers to address operating and reliability complaints from owners. Information on these bulletins is available on the website for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

We caution that reliability is established over three years or more, and the Sonic has been on the market for just one. Time will tell how reliable the engines are in the Sonic and Cruze.

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Answered by Rick Popely on May 17, 2013 in Chevrolet , What Car Should I Buy? | Permalink

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