Cheeky, feisty, and eminently affordable, Chevrolet's Spark minicar gets a substantial makeover for the 2016 model year, enhancing style, structure, and power. Supported by a new architecture, the redesigned Spark is a little less boxy than the current car, thanks in part to a substantial 1.6-inch reduction in height (to 59.4 inches) and bodyside resculpting that carries a character crease from the front fender flare all the way to the rear of the car.

The new nose is consistent with Chevy's current family look, but the new headlights are angled a little more toward the horizontal, combining with the lowered roofline to make the vehicle look less boxy.

New platform

The new chassis allowed the design team to move the wheels out to the edges of the wheel wells, giving the new exterior a tightly wrapped appearance. It adds up to a more sophisticated look for this tiny urbanite.

And let's not forget the three new colors: Toasted Marshmallow, Kalamata, and Splash.

Although the roofline has been substantially reduced, Chevrolet says the interior team preserved headroom by lowering the H point in the seats.

The new skin surrounds a new architecture, which Chevy describes as "more robust," without rigidity specifics, and a "slightly longer wheelbase." Aside from the lower roofline, vehicle dimensions are yet to be revealed.

Also: Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards of 2015

New drivetrain

A new engine sends power to the front wheels, replacing the current 1.2-liter 4-cylinder powerplant. The replacement is a 1.4-liter 4-cylinder, from GM's new line of Ecotec high efficiency, small displacement engines. It's all aluminum, a departure from the iron block/aluminum head combo of the 1.2-liter, and is fed by a direct fuel injection system, versus the previous engine's port injection.

Prior to the show, Chevrolet was mum about the new engine's output, although it's a good bet it will exceed the 84 horsepower and 83 pound-feet of torque of the current engine.

The standard transmission will continue to be a manual, and the option is once again a continuously variable automatic (CVT). EPA fuel economy ratings are yet to be revealed, but we anticipate that they'll be substantially higher than those of the current Spark-30 mpg city, 39 highway with the CVT.

Upgraded interior

New interior features include upgraded materials, new instrument panel, new center stack with a capacitive touch display screen, and enhanced infotainment and connectivity, including GM's new 4G LTE onboard WiFi.

The new Spark is due to go on sale in the fourth quarter of this year. Pricing remains to be seen, although it's certain the Spark will continue to be Chevy's least expensive passenger car. Current Spark pricing ranges from $13,095 to $17,350.

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