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 Sparkster on Tuesday, October 28, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Cheap to buy and operate"
Cons: "The engine works to hard to put on the interstate"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"This is a fun car that is very inexpensive. I am actually averaging 40.6 MPG. I do not drive it on the HWY. My average speed is probably around 40 MPH. The 5 speed transmission is geared to low for 65 MPH and the fuel average falls. The engine is turning over 3200 rpm. If you need a car that is good and cheap around town, this car will get the job done. If you are looking for something to drive a long commute, this car is probably not your best choice."
7 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Owner on Monday, October 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,500overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great gas miles, easy to handle, cheap,"
Cons: "cabin noise, slow to accelerate, suspension"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"This is my first brand new car. It's aesthetically pleasing, good on gas, reasonably priced, but it is not a luxury car. Seats are very firm and can be a bit uncomfortable. There is a lot of cabin noise when you go over 30 miles an hour. you feel every bump on the road. The engine is very small and it take a lot accelerate. the A/C is decent, although it has a strange smell to it sometimes. Weird I know. It's fine for a first car. Now I know what to look for when I buying my next car."
11 people out of 18 found this review helpful
By KK on Thursday, October 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great gas milage."
Cons: "Falls apart every time it hits a bump."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This is the worst vehicle ever! The engine has fell out of it several times. It has caused me nothing but trouble. I have been stranded several times on the side of the road because of this car! DON'T GET ONE!!"
3 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By FUDYJAYE on Monday, September 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "EASY TO DRIVE, COMFORTABLE TO SIT IN GREAT STEREO"
Cons: "NEEDS ANOTHER ARMREST AND BETTER SUSPENSION"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I LOVE MY SPARK. EVERYONE IS ALWAYS ASKING ABOUT IT BECAUSE IT IS THE TECHNO PINK ONE. IT'S EASY TO DRIVE AND EASY TO GET INTO AND THAT'S GOOD FOR ME BECAUSE I HAVE PHYSICAL LIMITATION. THE ONLY THING I WISH IT HAD WAS A BETTER ARM REST ON THE DRIVERS SIDE AND ALSO AN ARMREST ON THE PASSENGER SIDE. ALSO IT NEEDS MUCH BETTER SUSPENSION IT GETS GREAT MILEAGE AND OVERALL I AM VERY HAPPY WITH IT. AS I SAID AT FIRST I LOVE MY CAR"
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By Alex b on Monday, September 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,600overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "Easy to park"
Cons: "Everything else"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"This car, much like any economy car doesn't have enough power to get out of its own way, but unlike others in this class, it is geared improperly for anything over 50 mph. On the interstate, the car drones at about 3750 rpm. The road noise is ridiculous, the steering is numb, and the seats are uncomfortable. The cabin is filled with cheap, hard plastics that make trash cans seem luxurious. Also, unless you want the dash to be scratched, don't own a dog that enjoys car rides."
8 people out of 14 found this review helpful
By Thewburt on Monday, September 15, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, value, gas mileage , easy to drive."
Cons: "no power door locks on the LS, but did you?"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Bought a demo 2014 Spark for our daughters first car, got the car with 4200 miles on it ,but was never titled and was in the Chevy Showroom. Got the car for 10, 500. We put a little down payment and made it affordable for her to make car payments and learn what life is really about to own a car. With a 3 year, 30,000 mile bumper to bumper warranty and free maintenance for 2 years, getting a new car she can take to any Chevy Dealership it was a no brainer. Perfect first car for a teen in school and going to collage. So far so good with no complaints.She Uses 89 octane to get over 40 MPG on the HWY."
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful