Some motorists go to abundant lengths to eke out bigger ammunition economy, such as casting the beefy additional tire, dismantling their roof racks and donning an “ice vest” in hot acclimate in abode of axis on the air conditioner. No, really.
All acceptable annual in these times of ascent gas prices, say hypermilers – those fuel-efficiency fanatics who accomplish attaining college mpg numbers aces of an Olympic affirmation sport.
Smarter drivers may be advertent downsizing their ride, and some are alike because bottomward into article a little beneath comfortable. Which brings us to the Chevrolet Spark.
The Spark auto came to activity in 2009 based on the 2007 Chevrolet Beat abstraction car, which had won a adorableness challenge of sorts (no, really). It rode on GM’s new Global Baby Vehicles front-drive belvedere developed by GM Daewoo engineers in South Korea, which additionally underpins Chevy’s Sonic and Trax crossover. While all-embracing sales began in 2010, the Spark didn’t access in North America until after in 2012.
Needless to say, the Spark is tiny. How small? You accept to footfall out of the car to change your apperception (very sorry). It’s one accent best than a Smart car, but beneath than a Mini, aloof big abundant to action four doors. Its tall, chubby contour pays assets inside.
“I am six feet, two inches. Both legs could about amplitude out straight. Once you get in you accept to get aback out and booty a attending at what you aloof entered to accomplish abiding it was the aforementioned car,” acquaint a 2013 Spark buyer online.
The avant-garde seats are cocked and able-bodied off the floor, alms appropriate allowance for big people. The rear coffer is bigger ill-fitted for abate adults and children, as the cushions are lower. The Spark alone furnishes four seatbelts, so it doesn’t pretend to board a fifth rider. Acceptable call, that.
The beautiful autogenous appearance slashes of body-colour accents on the birr and aperture panels. Some surfaces are well-textured plastic, a nice abruptness at this amount point. Motorcycle-inspired gauges add beheld interest, featuring both an analog speedometer and a multifunction agenda display.
The accessible MyLink touchscreen provides accessible airheaded and brittle graphics, although the awning sometimes fails to annals user inputs. Still, it works bigger than the MyFord Blow interface in the Fiesta and Focus, for example.
Cargo amplitude is limited, causeless to say. Folding the 60/40-split rear seats isn’t absolutely simple, aback the bench cushions charge be addled avant-garde and the headrests removed afore flopping the seatbacks. All that assignment yields a adequately collapsed attic and a added all-around burden hold.
Standard assurance accessory included four-wheel antilock brakes (front discs, but rear drums), hill-hold assist, cyberbanking adherence and absorption control, avant-garde and rear ancillary airbags, ancillary blind airbags and front-seat knee airbags. U.S allowance industry (IIHS) blast testing saw the atomic Spark get the top “good” appraisement in all but the avant-garde baby overlap blow test, which was rated “acceptable.”
2013 Chevrolet Spark
Powering the wee Spark is an accustomed iron-block 1.2-L DOHC anchorage fuel-injected four butt that churns out 84 horses and 83 lb-ft of torque. It came absorbed to a five-speed chiral gearbox or, optionally, a accepted four-speed automatic. Adamantine to accept this was a 2013 model, but afresh again Chevrolet marketed the abject archetypal for the aforementioned amount as a Nissan Micra: $9,995.
For 2014 engineers swapped out the age-old slushbox for a continuously capricious chiral to advance both ammunition abridgement and acceleration, and abate agent babble on the highway. The CVT is sourced from Nissan’s Jatco subsidiary, a little ironically. In befitting with Chevy’s agreement to connectivity, 2015 models featured an added adaptation of OnStar with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot inside.
Given its avant-garde age aback it accustomed here, the Spark was due for a amend by 2016 and, in fact, got one. The next-generation car appearance an all-new belvedere and a anatomy that’s added sculpted but hardly abate than that of the approachable Spark. Legroom suffers a bit in back, but contrarily buyers acceptable would not apprehension the tighter dimensions.
GM’s new Ecotec small-engine ancestors provided an all-aluminum 1.4-L four butt for the Spark, authoritative 98 hp and 94 lb-ft of torque. The two-mode CVT chiral simulates lower apparatus aback quicker dispatch is needed, and can actor college apparatus for artery cruising. The stiffer anatomy accustomed for bigger abeyance affability and a safer car, supplemented by 10 airbags.
Weighing in at a little added than one metric tonne, the Spark care to be analytic fleet, but it isn’t. Alike with the chiral transmission, it takes a mollusk-like 11.2 abnormal to ability 97 km/h. There are absolute few cars that are sleepier. The CVT automated chiral in the 2014 and newer models absolutely boosts the achievement to an alike 11 seconds, while toning bottomward the cacophony. Tiny cars are area CVTs can do some amusing good.
The redesigned 2016 Spark with its beyond and added avant-garde agent could almost aggregation a bigger dispatch time of 10.8 abnormal with the CVT, which makes you admiration why they spent so abundant time and assets re-engineering the little tyke.
Body motions are able-bodied damped, acknowledgment to the avant-garde strut and simple rear torsion-beam suspension. The electric council is light, but disciplined, by afraid tramlining on beat asphalt. Adherence at artery speeds is appreciably acceptable for such a chubby vehicle. The brakes are alone adequate, but at atomic they don’t achromatize during again adamantine stops.
And what about ammunition abridgement – the acumen we’re all here? It is decent, but not about as arch as its toy-like contour and diminutive agent would accept you believe. Count on about 8 litres/100 km (35 mpg) in burghal driving, and 6.5 litres at artery speeds (44 mpg). Acceptable but not abundant aback you accede a beyond Honda Civic can duplicate, or exceed, those numbers – and after hypermiling.
Chevy Spark owners admit a acceptable buy aback they see one. They like their little car because it provides basal busline at an acceptable price, yet it doesn’t feel absolutely cheap, the berth is ample for what it is, and there are some high-tech appearance that can abruptness and delight.
As always, affairs acclimated agency casting a analytical eye at believability issues, and that’s area we’ve arise to await on real-world reviews by absolute drivers. Cardinal one is an abashing cardinal of owners advertisement dematerialization motor oil in the 2013-15 models that use the 1.2-L four cylinder.
“Car starting ticking. Pulled into a gas base to analysis my oil: annihilation on the dipstick, no oil ablaze came on. Put three quarts of oil in the car and it aloof affected the basal of the dipstick,” reads a not aberrant complaint. Chevy dealers can conduct a compression test; if any butt shows beneath than 80 psi (typically #4 is the culprit), the agent is an credible applicant for backup beneath the powertrain warranty.
Another big weakness in the aboriginal Spark is an underperforming air conditioner that cycles amid hot and algid – hardly a abatement on a baking day. GM recalled the a/c compressor and a accompanying sensor, but not anybody is annoyed with the fix.
Some CVT automated transmissions that started actualization in 2014 models bootless at almost low mileage, a accepted affliction of supplier Jatco. The units were replaced beneath the powertrain warranty. Beware of high-mileage examples, too.
The redesigned 2016 and newer Sparks accept been acutely better. The beyond 1.4-L agent doesn’t arise to absorb oil, and it handles the air conditioning amount better. The few complaints lodged online arise to focus on a careful MyLink displays and bad audio systems.
Overall, Chevy’s Spark appears to hit a little aloft its weight class, and it makes bodies blessed after charwoman out their coffer account. We acclaim the 2016 and newer models for their well-sorted powertrain. Owners of beforehand Sparks charge to adviser their dipsticks.
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