In direct opposition to GM's quickly-dying bigger is better philosophy, the Spark is a true microcar, set to do battle in Europe with the likes of the Ford Ka and Volkswagen Lupo.
Chevrolet SparkEnlarge Photo
A side view of the Spark reveals just how small it is. The truncated, aerodynamic Kammback, especially, reveals a car with a diminutive footprint and a presumably cozy interior. That rear end - pretty much a canted, flat plane - seems to herald a new generation of hatchbacks suddenly reviving the styling language of the zany old AMC Gremlin.
The front, especially in the headlights, reminds of the last-gen Honda Fit. The interior seems to have bits of second-gen Ford Festiva blended with the current Chevy Aveo; functional, but likely below the quality of interiors offered in competitive Volkswagens. The gauge cluster looks cool but the digital readouts threaten to be as hard to decipher as similar units used the new Nissan 370Z.
2010 Chevrolet SparkEnlarge Photo
When European microcars come to America, they always seem to get thirstier engines to satisfy the power-hungry. Not so from what we hear: we'll get the same unbelievably small 1.0-liter four-cylinder (66 hp) and optional 1.2-liter four (78 hp). The downside is a 0-60 mph time of 12.4 seconds (for the 1.2 liter, at that); the upside is combined fuel economy of more 47 mpg for both models (so why bother with the 1.0-liter?).