By KBB.com Editors
Cars seem to be downsizing in the name of price, fuel efficiency, and perhaps, novelty. But while cars like the Scion iQ and the Smart Fortwo may be undersized afterthoughts for many car shoppers in the market for a small car, a real 5-seater like the 2013 Chevrolet Spark could be on the radars of anyone looking for an inexpensive sub-compact that can comfortably fit more than 2 people. The Spark's tiny 1.2-liter engine, eye-catching aesthetics and low price make it a gem in the new-car market, but what also makes this micro-cruiser stand out is that it's available with high-tech features that ride along with the ever-growing wave of technology.
In addition to stylish looks, the all-new Chevy Spark has a very attractive starting price and a surprising amount of storage capacity. City-dwellers will like the Spark's ability to fit into the smallest of parking spaces.
Tiny cars can get jittery at higher speeds. If your commute involves a significant amount of freeway driving, you might want to step up to a slightly larger vehicle like the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio 5-door or Chevy Sonic, which are all more high-speed stable than the Spark.
The 2013 Chevy Spark is the latest entry into the A-segment market of micro-compacts. Although it's new to the U.S. market, Chevy has actually been building the Spark in South Korea for the Asian and European markets over the past few years. America's rising gas prices have made this model more relevant. That being said, the Spark's miniscule size, edgy styling and smart packaging are what really make it stand out.
Driving Impressions On the road, the Spark drives like a glorified motorcycle: It's quick and nimble, but also loud and buzzy. The 1.2-liter engine adequately moves the sub-2,300-pound car through and around...traffic and although 83 horsepower doesn't seem like a lot, it's enough to adequately power the car up steep hills. As far as handling, the micro-car is tossable, but body roll is present thanks to the headroom-creating high roofline. We also detected a lot of wind and road noise in the cabin, but still found it easy to carry on conversations with other passengers. The Spark has a very short wheelbase, so don't expect comfortable highway cruising. If the bulk of your commute is done on busy inner-city streets where tight parking spaces and traffic merges are prevalent, however, then the Spark's diminutive size will outweigh its jumpy ride.
We like the Chevy MyLink with its 7-inch touch screen, Sirius satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming audio and telephone with voice recognition. But what we like even more is that the system doesn't have a CD player but instead seamlessly connects to the owner's smartphone for personalized integration.
MOTORCYCLE-INSPIRED INSTRUMENT PANEL
Complementing the Spark's futuristic design is the motorcycle-inspired instrument panel that displays a digital tachometer and trip odometer as well as a large, blue-illuminated analog speedometer.
The Spark's interior is small, but it's roomier than you might think. It has enough room for four adults and the rear seat is easier to get into than those in the Fiat 500 and Scion iQ. In addition to a surprising amount of space, the Spark's interior is as modern as the outside thanks to the body-colored trim pieces and motorcycle-inspired instrument panel. There are plenty of plastics and cloth surfaces in the base Spark, but things get more interesting when stepping up a trim level and opting for the available 7-inch touch screen in the center console area and leatherette upholstery. There's not much cargo room with the rear seats up (11.4 cubic feet), but with the seats folded, the Spark offers 31.2 cubic feet of volume – much more than its rivals.Exterior
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark has a lot in common with its Chevy Sonic stablemate. In fact, it's almost hard to tell the difference between the two, until closer inspection. Aside from the similar hatchback shape, the Spark delineates itself from its sibling with its sharply angled headlights and taillights and even smaller size. For the Spark, opting for higher trim levels includes a few exterior enhancements, including chrome trim pieces, body-color front and rear bodywork, fog lights, and unique 15-inch aluminum-alloy wheels.
Considering the economy-minded class it competes in, even the base 2013 Chevrolet Spark comes with a host of convenience features. Some of the most notable include air conditioning, power windows, 15-inch alloy wheels, an AM/FM stereo system with 4 speakers, OnStar, and a 60/40 split/folding rear seat. And since an extremely small car calls for extreme small-car safety features, the Spark has 10 airbags (including a driver-side knee airbag), hill start assist and Stabilitrak stability control with brake assist to keep help you panic-stop quicker.
Some of the most notable options for the 2013 Chevy Spark include a 7-inch color touch-screen radio with Chevrolet MyLink, leather seating, Bluetooth connectivity for select smartphones, a 6-speaker audio system, cruise control, and steering-wheel audio controls. These features are available when the higher trim levels are selected.
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark is powered by a 1.2-liter 4-cylinder engine good for 84 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque. While one might harbor low expectations for such a low-power engine, we found that it propelled the minicar with ease and was much quieter and smoother than we initially expected. Power is sent to the Spark's front wheels via a standard 5-speed manual transmission, but a 4-speed automatic is also available.
84 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
83 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 32/38 mpg (manual), 28/37 mpg (automatic)
By FrogLegs on Saturday, March 07, 2015
I don't own this caroverall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Easy to parallel park"
Cons: "ride, axceleration, gas mileage, handling"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"My Jeep Compass had to be put in the shop for a week. So I rented this Chev. Spark, thinking it would save me money on gas. WRONG! I filled up just as much driving this car to and from work ONLY as my Jeep Compass. The handling of this car is rough, it rides rough, the transmission drags, and it has NO POWER, it takes all it has just to pass a vehicle. I have to drive on the freeway to my work, and it makes me nervous. I've almost been sideswiped three times, because the big trucks and vehicles do not see me. If your wanting to buy a new car, try renting it first before you buy, this experience really helped me, because I was thinking of buying one of these smaller cars. This really changed my mine, especially this model."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By JHAM on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "MPG, Standard equipment, price, craftsmanship,"
Cons: "Narrow cabin"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have to admit, I was really hesitant about lookin at a chevy after years of cars like the Aveo, but I couldn't be more satisfied. The Chevy Spark won me over with it's extreme value proposition as well as it's safety, and style. After the savings I ended up spending about $12,000, not bad for a new car. So far i've been averaging at 40 mpg mixed driving with the 5 speed manual. This car is fun on a winding road or in a city. I was surprised at the amount of room the car had for being as small as it is. Comfortably you can fit two adults, in a pinch it can handle four. Safety is important to me in a car, being the sole top safety pick of the subcompact/ minicar class,it made my decision easy. The car is enjoyable to drive as well as pretty easy on the eyes (mine is black granite.) Only complaint I have is that I wish it was about an inch wider, needless to say you better be friends with your passengers. Features are great for a basic car. I had driven a 1LT and loved the MyLink but the basic radio in mine does everything I need it too. Love that Chevy gave this car standard alloy wheels, it really helps it feel more substantial than similar sized cars with just steel wheels. From behind the wheel you couldn't tell its a cheap car. The motorcycle gauges and the silver accents make the car feel much more expensive than it is. Honestly, for the money you can't beat it ans would happily recommend this car to anyone looking for inexpensive transportation. 12/10"
4 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By danny on Tuesday, February 24, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,158overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "gas mileage"
Cons: "breaks down a lot and has recall after recall"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This car has recall after recall has been a nightmare. The gas mileage is good and that is about it. I have had issues where the car wont shift or go and i take it to the dealer over and over and they always say there is no fault codes. The check engine light comes on when the problems start however you have to shut the car off and restart it just to move it out of the road and of course with all chevys restarting the car clears the codes so when the dealer finally gets it there is no code for them to see and the just give me the car back and say we cant find a problem.dont buy it."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful
By gregg on Saturday, January 31, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,200overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, gas mileage, dependability, maneuverability"
Cons: "Outside mirrors to small, cheap radio,resale value"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"For the price ($12,300 OTD), not a bad car. Mine is a manual, the gearshift is precise with short throws, nice clutch. Handles well,very predictable. Has some body lean in turns. Fairly quiet but engine could use more hp. Fuel mileage very good,, I am getting about 39mpg mixed driving. Fit and finish quite good overall. 9200 trouble free miles so far. Two complaints. One, the outside mirrors are too small and always have to check over shoulders when changing lanes on the freeway. Two, AC takes awhile to get cold and struggles somewhat here in the hot Arizona summers but is acceptable. Oh, and also, the stock radio is like something from the 70s. The car has 10 standard airbags and does well in the crash tests, even the Offset crash test. It is a small car on the outside but inside space is fine. Seats are comfortable even on longer trips. Engine is a high revving affair, runs at about 3800 rpm when cruising 80mph so a bit noisy but than again this is a $12,,000 car, not a $50,000 Lexus or whatever. All in all, not a bad little ride and cheap to insure and kept fueled up !!"
23 people out of 35 found this review helpful
By gilby on Thursday, January 08, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,600overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "gas millage, rides nice, park easy, heater great"
Cons: "seats 4,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"this car is great to drive. a lot better quality that the old metro's. although the millage is not as good. 38 in summer and 36 this winter. I recommend this car for anyone. with the manual it is quite peppy with a lot of rpm range. handles the snow a lot better than I thought it would as well."
13 people out of 23 found this review helpful
By h3rpington on Monday, January 05, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 15,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "SAFE, inexpensive, zippy in a 5spd"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"A week ago, my fiance and I were involved in a roll over collision in our 2014 Spark. Our vehicle had been struck from behind, which then caused it to roll 3 times,coming to a rest upside down. We walked away with only a bruise or two. If you are looking for a small, SAFE, easy to drive car then the Spark is the car for you!"
12 people out of 19 found this review helpful