New & Used Chevrolet Spark: In Depth
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The Chevrolet Spark is the smallest car sold by General Motors in the U.S. today. It's a city-sized hatchback that's more than a foot shorter than the next-smallest Chevy, the Sonic--which makes it a rival for vehicles like the Fiat 500, Mitsubishi MIrage, and the tiny Smart ForTwo and Scion iQ.
The Spark is powered by an 84-horsepower, 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine, with a five-speed manual gearbox standard and a continuously-variable transmission (CVT) as an option.
One note of warning to buyers, however: The first year of Spark, the 2013 model, offered a simple four-speed automatic transmission as a $925 option--but it's so slow that we don't recommend it. If you must have a small car that shifts for you, the continuously variable transmission (CVT) offered for 2014 and later is by far the better choice. The five-speed manual version of the Chevy Spark is the most fun to drive, though.
The 2014 Chevy Spark EV is what our sister site Green Car Reports calls a "compliance car"--an electric car 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. It's by far the most powerful Spark, and its lack of a transmission delivers the electric power in one single rush of acceleration, but volumes are very low--only about 100 cars a month.
Although the Spark occupies about the same amount of space as a MINI three-door or Fiat 500, its five-door layout make it much easier to get people and things in and out, adding a nice dose of practicality to an otherwise efficiency-minded car. Four adults will fit inside, although quarters are tight, and they'll rub elbows. It's fine for errands in urban areas, which is what the Spark is best suited for anyway. And because the Spark is taller than most of its competitors, passengers sit up high, which is a nice change and provides a safer feeling while in traffic.
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 dashboard is simple, but the Spark comes standard with the Chevrolet MyLink connectivity system, offering apps for Pandora internet radio and Stitcher Smart Radio..
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.
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.