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 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."
9 people out of 18 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!"
6 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By newspark on Monday, December 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 400overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "MILEAGE, BLUETOOTH, HOTSPOT, MAYBE BACKUP CAMERA"
Cons: "SMALL ENGINE,"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Just purchased a 2015 Chevy Spark, reading owners manual and notice its wired for a RVC (rear view camera) but not offered. I have the 7" myLink system. I am looking for a rear camera to install into this system? any suggestions?"
10 people out of 20 found this review helpful
By Kassie on Monday, December 29, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great gas mileage fun driving"
Cons: "Not for a big family fits a family of 4 great"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I love the gas mileage and the hands free my link on the spark . The spark has the power I need when I need it. I have plenty of room for my shopping (i grocery shop for 8) and still have room. My girls love the XM and pluging in their iPod."
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By PinkSpark on Sunday, December 14, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,012overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price great gas milage nice avalable options"
Cons: "small size, small horse power"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Great gas mileage. The pink definitely turns heads. Great value for the money. It was the cheapest new car I could find that was not cheaply made. I love my Spark however it is only a 4 person vehicle and is not for every body. Merging on the express way with only 84 horse power takes planning and skill, but it is really easy to park, anywhere. Lots of cup holders! (my old car had none) I like the steering wheel controls for the radio and phone."
10 people out of 19 found this review helpful
By gregg on Friday, December 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Price, reliability, fuel mileage, fun to drive."
Cons: "Small outside mirrors, A/C rather weak."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7
"For the money, not a bad car. Gas mileage is great and better than the EPA estimates. Handles good, great brakes. Precise 5 speed manual transmission. Fairly quiet car. Seems to be built well, so far no issues with the car. Two complaints. The outside mirrors are way to small and the A/C could be stronger. Other than that, a decent little car although it certainly does not seem to hold its value."
8 people out of 13 found this review helpful