Vehicle Type: Mini-car
History/Description: Though small and thrifty, the Chevrolet Spark packed more passenger and cargo room than competitors like the Smart Fortwo, Scion iQ and Fiat 500. In fact, with its little rear seats folded down, Chevrolet’s first mini-car for the U.S. and Canada provided owners 884L of space – which is enough to hold a Samsonite laptop backpack, a rolling luggage bag, an upright suitcase and a golf-bag. So, small as it is, Spark was big on being larger than it looked, and to many will prove a more functional alternative to some competitors.
There’s an all-new Spark coming for model-year 2016, which puts the original-generation model, which launched here in 2013, squarely into used car territory. With only a few years of data available, it’s too soon to tell how reliable Spark looks as a used-car bet with absolute certainty – though shoppers looking to save some small-car dollars through clear-out dealer incentives, or purchase of a slightly used model with plenty of remaining warranty may wish to consult the following information and tips ahead of their shopping process.
Infotainment buffs will appreciate the available MyLink infotainment system, which includes a 7.0-inch touchscreen and advanced Smartphone connectivity enabling remote start, GPS trackdown of your Spark in a crowded parking lot, the ability to check fuel range remotely, and plenty more.
Power windows were standard fare on all models, keyless remote was available, and satellite radio could be specified.
Spark offered up 10 standard air bags, including dual-stage frontal air bags, seat-mounted side air bags and side curtain air bags that extend over the front and rear seats. That’s a lot of airbags, and as a global car, several were added for use in North America to meet our safety regulations. Spark features a structure which includes high-strength steel, and safety features including stability control and the OnStar safety and communications system.
Engines/Trim: Under the hood, all Spark models get a 1.2L four-cylinder engine from Chevrolet’s award-winning ECOTEC powerplant range, making 84 hp in this application. Shoppers can select a slick-shifting five-speed manual transmission, or a four-speed automatic, later models got a CVT. Drivers can expect combined fuel consumption around 6 L/100 km of regular-grade fuel – not the pricey premium gas required by the Fiat 500 and Smart Fortwo. Various maintenance-reducing measures, including a maintenance-free timing chain and filled-for-life transmission, are applied throughout the Spark’s powertrain, helping save money, too.
Note that the Spark LS opened the model range, with 1LT and 2LT models comprising mid-range and full-jam where feature content is concerned.
What Owners Like: No surprises with owner-stated positives here. Most say the Spark is a well-rounded car that’s easy to park, easy on fuel, fun to drive, and ready for even long-distance driving where required. Headroom and legroom are reported to be relatively abundant, several owners comment on a powerful air conditioner system, and unique and stand-out styling, as well as plenty of technology, helped round out the package.
What Owners Dislike: Limited rear-seat and cargo space for larger items, generous levels of road noise, and a rubbery feel to the Spark’s suspension are among the most commonly-reported gripes.
Here’s a look some owner reviews.