I am also well aware that Chevrolet was eager to join the microcar (or mini car) segment in North America, and so after a gentle opening of the idea with the Sonic, they launched the nifty little Spark.
With room for four with the same amount of doors (despite looking like a two-door), the Chevy Spark is essentially the pudgy little puppy to the Trax’s full-grown pug mug. Economical on gas, easy to drive, and able to fit essentially anywhere in an urban setting, the Spark is a viable option for those in the market for a microcar such as this.
Is it really that good on gas?
Well, Chevrolet claims the Spark can achieve 6.4L/100km in the city and 5.0L/100km on the highway. My average hovered in the 7-8L/100km reading throughout the week, no doubt thanks to my heavier foot prompting the CVT to give me something, anything. So, yes, it can be economical if that’s what you’re after -- and the tank is so little, even with the range dwindling on a nearly empty tank, the max I paid to fill up was still under $40. That ain’t half bad.
If you’re in the market for the Spark, you’re likely a city-dweller, and that’s a good thing as it’s most content there. The CVT is responsive at lower speeds and keeps the revs low to help with those fuel efficiency numbers.
This little hatchback does not like to be pushed hard to accelerate. Its screams of protest at rapid speed changes (and I use the word “rapid” here loosely) are almost painful, and make for a very loud experience in the cabin. Music must be turned up, or conversation voices raised just to escape the drone and the wind noise, which is actually quite obvious, as well.
Attached to the well meaning CVT is an ECOTEC 1.2L 4-cylinder that’s desperately trying to push out 84 horsepower and almost as much torque. And all available power is sent to the front wheels.
Can the Chevy Spark be a family car?
The offspring and I decided it was the perfect weekend to head to a friend’s cottage. Being just under the 3-year-old mark, my son still requires quite a bit of kit, especially when visiting a cottage and lake for the very first time.
First, let me say that as an every day, to-and-from work/day care/grocery store the Chevrolet Spark is mint. The trunk is functional (though the location of the top baby seat anchor cuts into the usability of the trunk quite a bit, and my larger seat’s design made it impossible for me to use the privacy cover). And the back seat, though it only seats two, offers plenty of headroom, although legroom can be tight for taller occupants.
Now, when it came time to head to the cottage, the trunk (which offers up just 323 liters (11.4 cu. ft.) with the back seats up, and that jumps to over 883 liters (30 cu.ft.) with the seats down) did get a bit tight. A few things had to be put in the back seat. And since we were only two, I can’t imagine it would suffice for another adult and/or another child. Not without some serious Tetris skill for the trunk layout.
As a singleton car, the Chevy Spark is the ideal city-street killer, and it’ll definitely be big enough for weekend outings and shopping trips.
Little car must equal little price tag, right?
In principle, yes the Chevrolet Spark is totally affordable. Three trim levels are available (and each in either automatic or manual). To start, there’s the LS Manual which features ABS, OnStar and an ESC and traction control system for $11,945 MSRP.
With very few extras, my Chevy Spark 1LT automatic’s final price was just under the $18k mark. Interestingly enough, my mellow yellow Lemonade Spark’s interior colour bits and colour-coordinated seats didn’t cost a penny more. And the Spark’s funky exterior and interior colour options are part of the appeal or what Chevy hopes is appeal.
Do I think it costs too much for what it is? Well, the only things I thought my particular Spark lacked were heated seats. However, for what it was I would have been happier paying closer to $13-$14k.
Should this Chevy spark your interest?
See what I did there? All hilarity aside (and I mean mine, of course), the Chevrolet Spark is a nifty little city demon. It’ll be the ideal car for the single urbanite in need of something larger than a bike for weekend hobbies and evening journeys. In terms of competition, the Spark falls into the microcar category alongside the Scion iQ and Nissan Micra. Does it shine brighter? In washed out Lemonade, I’m not too sure, but the right buyer will think it’s rays of sunshine-y yellow are absolute perfection.