The Next Chevrolet Sonic, Accord vs Camry and Looking for an Affordable Snow Car? [Ask Nathan]

    • What’s happening with the next Chevrolet Sonic?
    • New Accord vs New Camry?
    • What car should a backcountry skier/climber get?

This first question comes from a viewer who wants to know what’s going on with the next Chevrolet Sonic.

Q:Why is nothing being said about the next Chevrolet Sonic?

I know you like the turbo/RS. What’s going on with it?

(via Tweet @nathanadlen)

A: Hi.

I’m sorry to say that there may not be another or “next” Chevrolet Sonic. With sales numbers slipping and GM looking to (possibly) shed some weight, the Chevrolet Sonic could be one of many models on the chopping block.

If that is the case, we will lose a sweet little car, one that deserved better in my book. I always felt the Chevrolet Sonic had gobs of potential and it would have been sweet to see how far GM could go with it.

Sadly, the sales numbers look (at best) mediocre. Last year, about 55,000 Sonics sold in the United States. Back in 2014, its best year, they sold over 93,000.

Let’s hope they save the Sonic!


This next question comes from a fan who wants my initial take on the new Toyota Camry vs the new Honda Accord.

[Photo: Honda]
Q: Hi Nathan! I’ve been watching tfl’s videos for a long time and I have always enjoyed the content so keep it up!.

I know you have not driven the new accord yet, but what are your first impressions based on what you’ve seen and read about the new accord, and how do you think it compares with the new Camry?


A:Hi Ethan!

That’s a great question and I can’t wait to try the new Honda Accord.

It looks like they are moving in different directions which is good news for consumers. Toyota is going for a more macho feel and is sticking with naturally aspirated I4 and V6 engines. Honda is killing off their V6 and sticking with 4-cylinder turbos.

Other than the hybrid models, Honda will have a 10-speed auto and a 6-speed manual. Toyota is sticking to an 8-speed auto. These automakers are looking in different directions to regain the footing they are losing to crossovers and trucks.

Still, millions of these cars will be sold and they both benefit from sharp looking, new bodies. What ever you don’t like about one, you will (usually) find salvation in the other. They are both striking, but the Honda Accord looks more youthful to me while the Toyota Camry has a sexy/mature look to it.

That same philosophy appears to be part of the drivetrain too. Honda basically used its rambunctious Civic Type-R engine and transmission in one of the Accords – which is awesome, while Toyota adds velvety-smooth power to the Camry. Love it!

I wish I could say more, but; until I drive the 2018 Honda Accord, I can’t compare the most important point – how they drive.



The last question comes from a fan who’s looking for something to take on Colorado snow country.

Q:Nathan: I’m a climber and backcountry skier in the Colorado Front Range.

I’m looking to replace a 20-year old Outback with something new. My next car must be a strong driver on snowy roads and I’d like a bit more off-road ability than my Outback (aprox 6″ ground clearance). I’m often traveling alone or with a single passenger. I’d like my new car to be trouble free, get at least 30mpg highway and cost less than $30K.

Buying another Subie (probably the Forester) would be an easy choice but is there something nicer out there? Mazda CX-5 and Jeep Renegade both look interesting.

A: Greetings!

Great question. First of all, Subaru still builds excellent snow cars. The new XV Crosstrek and Forester are top-notch in the snow. I like the new Mazda CX-5 and consider it an outstanding all-around crossover. I would recommend snow tires over the street-biased tires, but it’s the best driver in its class and it performs very well in the snow.

The Jeep Renegade is pretty good in the rough stuff, but the CX-5 is a better car for just about everything else.

Hope that helps!


Speaking of the Mazda CX-5 in the snow…

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

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