By Emme Hall.
There is just something about a little turbo that gets my heart all a-flutter. This week I’ve got a tough choice to make, as I’ve been a fan of both the 2014 Fiat 500 Turbo and the 2014 Chevy Sonic RS since their debut. Both are stylish hot little hatches that are affordable and full of zippy fun, but alas, there can be only one winner here at Autocomparison.
The 2014 Fiat 500 is available in a non-turbo, but I’m not sure why anyone would want it as this 1.4L MultiAir turbo is just a kick in the pants. It’s good for 135hp and 150 lb/ft of torque and is mated to a 5 speed heavy duty transmission. And wonder of wonders an automatic is not offered! 60 mph comes in 8.1 seconds, and EPA fuel ratings are 28 mpg in the city, 34 mpg out on the highway.
The Fiat Turbo comes standard with 16” aluminum wheels, fog lamps, chrome exhaust tip and door handles, and power heated mirrors. Inside you’ll get air conditioning, BLUE & ME hands free communication, USB port, a multifunctional steering wheel, power accessories, remote keyless entry, and a rear 50/50 split folding seat. Our test model was also equipped with the option Custmer Preferred Package 25T which includes Beats audio, satellite radio, and TomTom navigation. We also had the option leather trimmed bucket seats.
Cargo capacity in the Fiat is 9.5 cu/ft with the seats up, and 30.1 cu/ft with the seats down. Out on the road the Fiat is a blast. The short wheel based, front wheel drive is perfect for avoiding lumbering trucks and distracted drivers in the city, yet it is comfortable enough for longer trips on the highway. The steering has a nice weight to it, but I still wanted something a bit more direct to go along with the overall MarioKart feel of the Fiat, and while I’m glad the 5 speed manual is the only option, throws were a bit long for my taste.
The 2014 Chevy Sonic RS also has a 1.4L turbocharged 4 cylinder engine, this one good for 138hp and 148 lb/ft of torque. Power goes to the front wheels via a six speed manual or automatic transmission, but we fortunately had the manual. 0-60 mph takes you 8.8 seconds and EPA fuel ratings are 27 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway.
The Sonic RS comes standard with 17” alloy wheels, keyless entry, air conditioning, power accessories, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity, satellite radio, a multi-functional steering wheel, heated front seats, fog lights, the MyLink touchscreen system, a rear view camera, four wheel disc brakes, and a sport steering wheel. A sunroof is optional as well as forward collision and lane departure warning systems.
Cargo capacity in the 2014 Chevy Sonic RS is 19 cu/ft of space with the seats up, and 30.9 cu/ft of space with the seats down. Like the Fiat, the Sonic is a hoot to drive. The sport tuned suspension provides enough firmness to keep you quick through the turns, yet it still provides a comfortable ride on longer journeys. The steering is nicely weighted and offers a decent amount of feedback. However, while the gears in the RS do give better passing ability in 5th or 6th gear, the slightly sluggish throttle response means you probably won’t be the first off the line.
Our test model of the 2014 Fiat 500 Turbo comes in a $24,150, while the 2014 Chevy Sonic RS is offered at $20,650. This is a difficult call to make, as I enjoy both so much, but I have to go with the Sonic RS. It’s less expensive and gives you a bit more utility, while still providing the same amount of fun. However, I wouldn’t turn down either of these cars if they showed up in my driveway one night.