2020 Chevrolet Spark

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The Car Connection Expert Review

The Car Connection The Car Connection
June 16, 2020

Buying tip

To get active safety tech, you’ll have to upgrade to the 2020 Chevrolet Spark 2LT.

features & specs

4-Door HB CVT LS
4-Door HB CVT LT w/1LT
30 city / 37 hwy
30 city / 38 hwy
30 city / 38 hwy

The 2020 Chevrolet Spark is modern basic motoring: simple features and a low price tag.

The 2020 Chevrolet Spark is cheap and small, traits buyers find endearing when gas is costly. As far as affordable new vehicles go, the Spark has its virtues, but not without compromises, and it’s eagerly awaiting the next spike in fuel prices. We give it 4.0 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The 2020 Spark is unchanged and offered in LS, 1LT, 2LT trims, and as the faux-rugged Spark Activ. This mighty mini is well-equipped and reasonably affordable at the top of the range, so steer clear of the bargain basement version. The Spark even offers low-speed automatic emergency braking on the 2LT trim. A 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is standard and comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility as well as two USB ports.

All Spark models come with a 1.4-liter inline-4 with just 98 horsepower and front-wheel drive. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard, but most Sparks on dealer lots come with a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) instead. Despite its diminutive size, the Spark can handle itself well in a variety of situations, but naturally is better suited around town than on the highway.

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Inside, the Spark is spacious given it is 7 feet shorter than a Chevy Suburban, but front-seat passengers will be much more comfortable than those in the rear.

Despite solid features, decent safety scores and tech, and plenty of interior space, there’s hardly a reason to justify choosing the Spark over the larger and more fun Sonic, but we commend Chevrolet for continuing to offer pint-size cars.


2020 Chevrolet Spark


The 2020 Chevrolet Spark is cutesy but far from eye-catching.

There’s not much flair to the 2020 Chevrolet Spark, but one could say the same of most economy cars. We give it 3 out of 10 in the looks department, though the Activ trim does up the rugged intrigue.

Last year, the Spark got a mild visual refresh to keep it current, but there are no changes this year. The Activ model is the most visually interesting, sitting about an inch higher and wearing plastic body cladding and other rugged pieces. With no all-wheel drive though, this is no off-roader.

Inside, the Spark is basic but not drab. Thankfully, a 7.0-inch touchscreen comes standard on every model. Chevrolet’s designers mounted it high on the dashboard. Interesting upholstery patterns and plain plastic trim make this interior more fun than some of the bargain-basement cabins typically associated with low-cost cars.

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2020 Chevrolet Spark


The 2020 Chevrolet Spark is one of the few new cars for sale with less than 100 horsepower. Enough said.

The 2020 Chevrolet Spark is slow, droning, and has a busy ride quality. Unfortunately, there’s not much upside, so we give it 3 out of 10.

All Sparks come with a 1.4-liter inline-4 that makes a paltry 98 horsepower. A 5-speed manual transmission is standard on all trims and does allow drivers to squeeze more performance out of the Spark, but most leave the dealer with a CVT that is loud and unpleasant.

A short wheelbase and tight suspension make for some fun in the corners, but mostly, the Spark is tedious to drive over imperfect roads, especially those with potholes and big bumps.

In a busy urban environment, however, the puny Spark comes into its own, making parking easy and zig-zagging through traffic a breeze.

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2020 Chevrolet Spark

Comfort & Quality

Bigger inside than it looks, the 2020 Chevrolet Spark makes good use of interior space.

The 2020 Chevrolet Spark is small, no doubt, but the interior is more spacious than one would expect. We give it 3 out of 10 for the tight rear seats and limited cargo capacity, though.

Front seat occupants have good visibility and firm seats wrapped in a variety of interesting fabric and synthetic upholsteries. Chevy only classifies the Spark as a four-seater though, so there’s no need to try and squeeze a third person in the tiny back seat. With only 33 inches of leg room, it’s best suited for kids, or adults for only very short distances.

Unfortunately, the Spark’s tiny footprint had to be felt somewhere, and that’s in the cargo hold. With the rear seats in place, it only holds 11 cubic feet of stuff. However, that number grows to 27.2 cubic feet with the rear seats folded flat, about the same as you’ll find behind the rear seats of any compact hatchback.

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2020 Chevrolet Spark


The 2020 Chevrolet Spark doesn’t have updated safety scores, but does offer collision-avoidance tech.

The 2020 Chevrolet Spark has never been fully crash-tested and doesn’t have updated scores for this year, so we can’t give it a score here.

Fortunately, the Spark does offer low-speed automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warnings as part of the extra-cost Driver Confidence package on the 2LT trim. The package costs just $295, though it’s only available with the CVT.

Other than that, you get 10 airbags, anti-lock brakes, and stability control as well as a rearview camera, and rear parking sensors are available for those not comfortable parallel parking even the smallest of cars.

Last year, the Spark received a “Good” rating in the front and side crash tests from the IIHS, but the federal government has never seen fit to rate it fully.


2020 Chevrolet Spark


The 2020 Chevrolet Spark is well-equipped for a budget car if you’re willing to shell out a bit more than base price.

The 2020 Chevrolet Spark has some impressive features on upper trims, but the base version is as sparse as they come. We give it 5 out of 10, peeling a point back for the basic Spark LS trim that we return due to a quality infotainment setup.

The Spark LS acts as the base model, and includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, and two USB ports as standard. The rest is discouraging: roll-up windows, manual door locks, and plastic hubcaps. At around $14,000, it’s hard to expect more, however.

Stepping up to the 1LT trim adds power windows and locks, plus keyless entry and alloy wheels. We’d stop here except that active safety gear we recommend is available only on the Spark 2LT with the CVT. So-equipped, the Spark 2LT rings in at less than $19,000, and it’s often discounted considerably.

The Activ trim looks the part of an SUV, and includes heated front seats and a raised ride height without any real increase in capability. We’d pass.

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2020 Chevrolet Spark

Fuel Economy

Despite its low power and light weight, the 2020 Chevrolet Spark could improve in the fuel economy department.

The 2020 Chevrolet Spark is one of the smallest, lightest, and least-powerful new cars you can buy, but it’s not necessarily a fuel miser. We give it 6 out of 10 here.

Regular Spark models make 29 mpg city, 38 highway, 33 combined with the 5-speed manual and 30/38/33 mpg with the CVT equipped. The Activ trim comes with a slight penalty for both transmissions, resulting in 29/37/32 mpg for the manual and 30/37/33 mpg for the automatic. That’s better than most vehicles in general but not particularly impressive for such a small car. Subcompacts from Toyota and Nissan are rated at 40 mpg on the highway or better.

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Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 3
Performance 3
Comfort & Quality 3
Safety N/A
Features 5
Fuel Economy 6
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