New & Used Chevrolet Spark: In Depth
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The Shevrolet Spark is the smallest car that GM offers in the U.S., but it’s more sophisticated than you’d expect from a subcompact hatchback. It competes with the MINI Cooper, Smart ForTwo, Fiat 500, and the Scion iQ.
For more on the current model, including pricing with options, see our full review of the 2014 Chevrolet Spark.
Some buyers will also cross-shop inexpensive three-door hatchbacks like the Honda CR-Z, Hyundai Veloster, and Scion tC--and, for cool image and digital connectivity, perhaps the very successful Kia Soul "tall box" car or the quirky Nissan Juke hatchback.
Setting it apart from the tiny Smart ForTwo and Scion iQ, the Spark comes in an array of colors, including several sherbert ice-cream shades: yellow, pink, lime green, and sky blue. For buyers who aren't impressed by size--who want minimal but cheerful wheels to use mostly around town--the little Chevy occupies a niche almost its own.
One note of warning to buyers, however: A simple four-speed automatic transmission is a $925 option--but we don't recommend it. The five-speed manual version of the Chevy Spark is fun to drive while being not only easy to park, but usable in a far wider array of circumstances than the Scion or Smart.
Because it's a five-door hatchback, entry and exit is easier with the Chevrolet Spark--despite its small door openings--than it would be for the even-tinier rear seats of the three-door MINI or Fiat. You can fit four adults into the Spark, though they will sit upright, close, and with the knees of back-seat riders touching the slim front seats. But passengers ride high, so there's little of the vulnerable feeling of more low-slung small cars. The dashboard is simple, but the Spark comes standard with the Chevrolet MyLink connectivity system, offering apps for Pandora internet radio and Stitcher Smart Radio..
In its first year on sale, Chevy offers the Spark in three trim levels, starting at about $13,000. The base LS model comes standard with air conditioning, power windows, rear wiper, trip computer, 15-inch alloy wheels, a flip-forward 60/40 split folding rear seat, and Onstar built in.
The mid-level 1LT model includes power locks, power mirrors, cruise control, an audio system with a 7-inch color touch screen, steering-wheel audio controls, Bluetooth pairing, and satellite radio. The top-of-the-line 2LT level adds different alloy wheels, trim upgrades, and even heated seats. Chevrolet plans to add the GogoLink embedded navigation and real-time traffic application later in the model year.
The 2014 Chevy Spark EV is what our sister site Green Car Reports calls a "compliance car"--an EV built to satisfy coming California clear-air regulations that either require automakers to sell battery-powered electric cars, or to stop doing business in the state. That means that while you may see a disproportionate volume of media and advertising on the all-electric Spark, you shouldn't pay it a great deal of attention.
GM hasn't yet given official specifications on the Spark EV's battery or efficiency rating, and hasn't estimated its potential driving range, but has let some media drive the vehicle--including Green Car Reports. Despite failure of battery maker A123, the Spark EV appears to remain on-schedule for its U.S. arrival.