Proving that being ultra-green also can be ultra-fun — and still deliver outstanding long-term value — the Chevrolet Spark EV charged off with our 5-Year Cost to Own honors in the Best Electric/Plug-in category. Currently available in California and Oregon, the most eco-friendly member of Chevy's smallest vehicle line packs a big-time personality into its mini-scaled package and rounds things out with an impressive selection of standards and an IIHS Top Safety Pick rating.
Motivation for the Spark EV comes from a 140-horsepower motor that develops a heady 400 lb-ft of torque — sufficient muscle to send this diminutive 5-door/4-passenger hatchback scrambling from 0-60 mph in about 7.5 seconds. A compact, rear-mounted battery pack gives the car an estimated 82-mile range and lets it reach a top speed of 90 mph while bespoke suspension tuning and StabiliTrak stability control also endow the Spark EV with a decidedly sporting feel when the going does get twisty.
Leatherette upholstery with heated front seats plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel are about all that differentiate the Spark 1LT from its upline 2LT sibling. Both variants come with a cool Volt-like programmable instrument display, Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system that has a 7-inch color touchscreen, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, OnStar, cruise control, driver-selectable Normal/Sport operating modes, a full complement of power assists and 10 airbags.
As for battery replenishment, plugging the Spark EV into a 120V outlet will take about 17 hours using the standard cord and on-board charger, while a dedicated 240V wall unit requires less than seven hours to complete the task but the optional DC Fast Charger setup will refill the battery to 80 percent capacity in just 20 minutes.
Benefitting from a $5,000 price drop for 2014, the groundbreaking Chevrolet Volt range-extended plug-in now makes an even stronger case with buyers still concerned about range anxiety.
The greenest member of the Honda Accord family earns a stellar 115 MPGe rating from the EPA making it the most fuel-efficient sedan sold in America.