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Chevy Sonic Towing Capacity: What You Need to Know

Towing Capacity

The Chevy Sonic is a fun, fuel-efficient subcompact car that offers great value. With its nimble handling and peppy powertrain options, it’s a great choice for zooming around town. But can the Sonic handle towing a trailer or cargo carrier when you need extra hauling abilities?

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Chevy Sonic’s towing capacity, including:

  • Official tow rating from Chevy
  • Real-world towing experiences
  • Hitches and wiring to enable towing
  • Towing tips and best practices
  • Alternative hauling options

What is the Official Tow Rating for the Chevy Sonic?

Unfortunately, Chevrolet has not published an official tow rating for the Sonic. The owner’s manual states that the Sonic is not designed for towing.

However, just because there is no official tow rating doesn’t necessarily mean the Sonic can’t tow anything. Owners have successfully added aftermarket hitches and towed small lightweight trailers with no issues.

Based on owner experiences, hitches designed for the Sonic, and the fact that European versions of the Sonic have a published 1,100 lb (unbraked) to 1,800 lb (braked) tow rating, a safe towing capacity for a properly equipped US Sonic seems to be around 2,000 lbs.

Real-World Chevy Sonic Towing Experiences

While Chevy doesn’t recommend it, some ambitious Sonic owners have added aftermarket hitches and towed small trailers with success. Here are a few real-world towing reports from Sonic owners:

  • “I towed a 600 lb trailer load with my older Civic hatchback with no issues. I plan to tow the same load with my Sonic.”
  • “Towed a lightweight 250 lb motorcycle trailer with my Smart ForTwo coupe. The Sonic should handle something similar with no problem.”
  • “Used my Sonic to tow a small utility trailer with a washer/dryer weighing around 250 lbs. Also towed a snowmobile to Vermont a couple times.”
  • “Added a hitch and towed a 30 ft, 255 lb popup camper. The Sonic handled it fine at 65 mph.”
  • “Towed a motorcycle on a trailer weighing about 600 lbs total. Got 30 mpg while towing and had enough power.”

While towing something lightweight like a small trailer, motorcycle, or popup camper seems to work fine, most Sonic owners recommend keeping the total tow weight under 1,000 lbs for best control and stability. And you always want to drive conservatively and avoid excessive speed when towing.

Adding a Hitch to Your Chevy Sonic

Since the Sonic doesn’t come equipped with a hitch from the factory, you’ll need to have an aftermarket hitch installed if you want to tow anything.

There are two main types of hitches available:

Class 1 hitches are designed for light duty towing up to 2,000 lbs gross trailer weight. They work great for adding a bike rack or cargo carrier and for pulling very small trailers. A class 1 hitch has a 1-1/4″ receiver size.

Class 2 hitches have a larger 2″ receiver and are rated up to 3,500 lbs gross trailer weight. This gives you more towing capacity for slightly larger trailers.

Reputable hitch manufacturers like CURT, Draw-Tite, and Hidden Hitch make specific class 1 and class 2 hitches engineered to properly fit the Chevy Sonic:

  • CURT class 1 hitch part #11258 – Custom fit for the Sonic hatchback, rated for 2,000 lbs towing and 200 lbs tongue weight. Retails around $130-$190.

  • Draw-Tite class 1 hitch part #24876 – Also rated to 2,000/200 lbs. Retails around $115-$180.

  • Hidden Hitch class 2 hitch part #60295 – 2″ receiver rated to 3,500 lbs towing. Retails in the $160-$220 range.

Installation of a hitch requires drilling holes into the Sonic’s frame to bolt on the hitch. So it’s highly recommended to have a professional shop or mechanic install the hitch to ensure proper fitment, wiring, and operation. Plan on spending $100-$200 for parts and professional installation.

Adding Trailer Wiring to Your Sonic

In order to power taillights, turn signals, and brake lights on a trailer, you’ll need a dedicated trailer wiring harness.

Convenient bolt-on T-One connectors like the Curt #118555 plug right into the Sonic’s tail light wiring to provide a 4-pin flat trailer connector. Installation takes 30-60 minutes for a handy DIY-er.

For full 7-pin RV connectivity, a custom wiring kit like the Curt #56042 taps into the Sonic’s wiring and adds a 4-flat and 7-pin blade connector near the hitch. This costs more and requires professional installation but gives you maximum capability.

Tips for Safe Chevy Sonic Towing

Here are some important tips to keep in mind to tow safely and avoid damage to your Sonic:

  • Don’t exceed 2,000 lbs total towing capacity
  • Take it easy on acceleration and braking
  • Increase following distance for slower stopping
  • Reduce speed and drive conservatively
  • Load trailer tongue weight properly (10-15% of total weight)
  • Use tow/haul mode for better transmission cooling
  • Check transmission fluid and coolant levels regularly
  • Inspect tires for proper inflation before towing
  • Consult your owner’s manual for any towing related warnings
  • Carefully read hitch and trailer manual for usage guidelines

Following the hitch and trailer guidelines and driving carefully will allow you to safely tow small loads and expand the capabilities of your Chevy Sonic. Always use caution and common sense when towing.

Other Hauling Options for the Chevy Sonic

If you don’t want to tow a trailer but still need extra storage, there are a few handy options that work great with the Sonic:

Hitch-Mounted Cargo Carrier: A cargo tray or enclosed cargo carrier bolts into your hitch receiver to provide additional storage space. Perfect for luggage, camping gear, coolers, cargo bins, and more. Just be mindful of the hitch’s 200 lb tongue weight rating.

Roof Rack Cross Bars: Adding cross bars to the Sonic’s factory side rails allows you to mount a cargo basket or container for increased roof storage. Just watch out for low clearance in garages.

Hitch Bike Rack: Carry bikes, e-bikes, scooters, and more by installing a platform or hanging bike rack into your hitch receiver. Most hold 2-4 bikes securely.

Cargo Liner: A weatherproof cargo liner protects the Sonic hatch area from dirty and wet gear. Some have built-in organizers to keep things from sliding around.

Cargo Net: A simple cargo net keeps groceries and loose items from flying around the cargo area while driving. Inexpensive and versatile.

The Bottom Line on Chevy Sonic Towing

  • The Chevy Sonic has no official tow rating from the factory
  • With a proper hitch and wiring installed, owners have towed up to 1,000 lbs successfully
  • For best control and stability, keep total towing under 2,000 lbs
  • Drive slowly and carefully when towing with a Sonic
  • Alternatives like cargo carriers and bike racks can add storage without the complexity of towing

Hopefully this guide has provided you with a realistic picture of the Chevy Sonic’s towing abilities. While it’s not built primarily as a tow vehicle, a Sonic can handle occasional light duty towing when equipped properly. For heavy regular towing needs, it’s better to step up to a truck or full-size SUV that’s purpose-built for towing. But for the average Sonic owner who needs to tow a small trailer or carry some extra gear once in a while, it’s definitely doable with the right preparations.


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