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2014 Chevrolet Spark Review

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2014 Chevrolet Spark Expert Review

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The Spark is Chevrolet's U.S. entry into the minicar market, a niche that's slowly growing as more buyers look for high-mileage, low-cost vehicles that feel at home in crowded cities. Though it only debuted in 2013, Chevy has enhanced the Spark for 2014 with a new automatic transmission that increases fuel economy to 39 mpg in an effort to top rivals such as the Scion iQ, Fiat 500, and Smart Fortwo. For those never wanting to visit a gas station, there's the all-electric Spark EV initially for sale in California and Oregon. With two rear seats and slightly larger dimensions than its rivals, the Spark is easier to live with. It's at home in the city, but those who log many highway miles should look to something larger.

You'll Like This Car If...

Numbers are appealing here, specifically a sub-$13,000 starting price and 39-mpg highway fuel-economy rating. Equally appealing are the Spark's style and a size that's big enough to hold four passengers yet tiny enough to park where other cars can't.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Tiny cars often get nervous at higher speeds. If you spend a lot of time on the highway, take a look at slightly larger but still budget-friendly and fuel-efficient cars like the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio, or the Spark's larger sibling, the Sonic. All feel more stable on freeways.

How It Ranks

#2

out of 2

Fuel Economy

#2

out of 2

Horsepower
View all rankings

Consumer Rating

8.4 out of 10
View all
consumer ratings
2014 Chevrolet Spark Low/wide front photo What's New for 2014

A more efficient CVT (continuously variable automatic transmission) replaces the 4-speed in models with an automatic transmission, and all Spark minicars gain automatic headlight control. Navigation is now available through a smartphone-enabled app. The all-electric Spark EV is new for 2014 and has a range of 82 miles.

Driving the Spark
2014 Chevrolet Spark Front angle view photo

Driving Impressions Thanks to its small size and low weight, the Chevy Spark feels zippy and nimble. The Spark's 83 horsepower from its tiny 1.2-liter engine may not sound like much, but...

... it's enough to move this sub-2,400-pound car in and around traffic. The Spark is tossable in corners, but body roll is present. Wind and road noise are apparent in the cabin, but we didn't have to shout to carry on conversations. At higher speeds such as freeway driving, the Spark can feel jumpy. The Spark EV packs a powerful punch with a whopping 400 lb-ft of torque coming from its electric motor. That kind of oomph is enough to make the electric car zip to 60 mph in just 7.6 seconds, while its heavier curb weight and sport-tuned suspension make it feel more planted.

CHEVROLET MyLink
Chevy's MyLink telematics system boasts a 7-inch touchscreen, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth streaming audio and telephone with voice recognition. Those with iPhones can even use a specialized version of Siri voice command with it.

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 analog speedometer illuminated by a blue glow.

2014 Chevrolet Spark Details
2014 Chevrolet Spark Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

The Spark's cabin is small, but there is enough room for four adults. The rear seats are easier to access and offer more legroom than those of the Fiat 500 and Scion iQ (the Smart Fortwo seats just two). The 11.4-cubic feet of cargo room behind the rear seat isn't vast, but it's more than what's offered in the 500 and iQ. Fold the 60/40-split seats, and that space nearly triples. Style-wise, the Spark aims for hip with a motorcycle-like instrument panel and luminescent dials. Plastic and cloth are the materials of choice in base models, but visual and tactile pop can be gained with colorful trim kits, a 7-inch touchscreen display and faux leather seating. EV models have an additional high-resolution screen in front of the driver to show range and other pertinent info.

Exterior
2014 Chevrolet Spark photo

From a distance, you may have trouble telling the Chevy Spark apart from its Sonic hatchback sibling. Like that also-diminutive car, the Spark is has a wedge-like design and unique details such as hidden handles in the rear doors. Step closer, though, and you'll notice the Spark's taller profile, larger headlight housings, and even-smaller dimensions. We think the Sonic has the edge in aesthetics among Chevy's subcompacts, but it's also over $2,500 more. Spark EV models have a chrome 2-tier grille that is closed to reduce airflow, a rear spoiler, and aero-optimized mirrors for the greatest efficiency.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark isn't as Spartan as some may surmise. Even a base Spark minicar comes with air conditioning, power windows, a 4-speaker AM/FM radio with auxiliary input, and 15-inch wheels. Higher trims add a 7-inch touch-screen command center, cruise control, power door locks and mirrors, and leatherette on top trims. Missing in action on all forms of Spark is a telescoping steering wheel. And sadly for those among Gen X or beyond, a CD player isn't even an option as younger drivers store music on devices, not discs. Spark EV models have a DC fast charging unit that allows an 80 percent charge in 20 minutes. Safety features include 10 airbags, traction and stability control, and OnStar emergency services.

Optional Equipment

The options list is rather short for the 2014 Spark, with major additions linked to the car's six trim levels. Add-ons available are an engine block heater and dealer-installed accessories such as fog light kit, sport grille, and colorful interior trim kits. Navigation is now available in the Spark, purchasable via the downloadable BringGo app that works with smartphones.

Under the Hood
2014 Chevrolet Spark Engine photo

2014 Spark models use a 1.2-liter inline 4-cylinder engine that makes 84 horsepower and is linked to a 5-speed manual transmission or a new CVT automatic. All Spark models are front-wheel drive and can run on regular unleaded gasoline. Spark EV models use an electric motor that makes 130 horsepower and a prodigious 400 lb-ft of torque. On a full charge it has a rated range of 82 miles. Charging times range from a mere 20 minutes using a scarce (for now) DC Fast Charging unit, to 20 hours on a standard 120-volt outlet. In between is a more reasonable 7 hours on a 240-volt line.

1.2-liter inline-4
84 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
83 lb-ft of torque @ 4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 31/39 mpg (manual), 30/39 mpg (automatic)

Electric motor
21kWh lithium-ion battery pack
130 horsepower
400 lb-ft of torque
Projected range per charge: 82 miles

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark has a tantalizing Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) price starting just under $13,000. That's not the very lowest price for a new car, but it's close. (The 2014 Nissan Versa sedan wears the budget crown with a starting price of $12,780.) Go for a top-line Spark with automatic transmission, and you're still looking at a number just over $17,000, which enters the territory of the larger Chevy Sonic. The Spark's starting price is a couple hundred less than that of the Smart Fortwo and about $3,000 less than the Fiat 500 and Scion iQ. A Spark EV also looks like a bargain among electric vehicles, with a starting price of $27,497 that drops to $19,995 when factoring in the $7,500 federal income tax credit. The Spark's resale value is expected to be slightly above that of the Fiat 500, but below the leader in this tiny class, the Scion iQ.

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2014 Chevrolet Spark Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.4
Out of 10

Based on 119 Ratings for the 2013 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    8.2/10
  • Comfort
    8.4/10
    Styling
    8.8/10

Decent car for the price

By on Thursday, July 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I bought this car in a rush before winter was to hit. It drove fine, I was able to afford the payments and keep up with whatever it needed. However, I do wish that I had purchased a car with a bit more speed, but that is okay because the gas mileage really makes up for it. In the future I am definitely planning on a prius because if i decide to stay with the fuel efficient vehicles over power then I mine as well get even better gas mileage doing it and having to pay more for it seems reasonable as well. Overall it has been a good small car that has gotten be places!"

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

crawling up the mountain

By on Saturday, July 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,600

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "fun to drive, great little car"

Cons: "no power driving up hill"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I really like this little fuel efficient car. I t gets good milage on the highway and even through town. It takes a little time to get up to speed but eventually it makes it there. The Spark hits 4000 rpm at about 75 m/hr. I love the funky green color which is used inside of the Spark as well. The only problem is when I go home and have to drive up the mountain. I have to drive about 3 miles with a constant incline. After the first 500 feet the car slows down to about 30 and sometimes 20 m/hr using 2nd or 3rd gear. Trying to go faster is not possible unless it's being pushed past the 4000 rpm's which is not advisable. So, if you don't have to conquer a steep hill or a mountain, this is a wonderful car, otherwise stay away."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Excellent car for the money

By on Thursday, July 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Gas millage, confort, parking, engine noise solid."

Cons: "Road noise unsettled at high speeds."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Good value. The car is getting about 42 MPG on the highway and 35 MPG in the city. The car is excellent for city driving. The car gets a little shaky at speeds over 70 MPH. Keeping the speed under 70 MPH on highway driving, the car seems to have a better driving dynamic. This car is designed to be a city car and it is excellent at city driving. The front seats are roomy and comfortable. The engine is quiet and well balanced for such a small engine. This is an excellent second car or car for young drivers."

11 people out of 21 found this review helpful

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