2013 Chevrolet Spark Auto Review

4 Sep 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2013 Chevrolet Spark Auto Review
Chevrolet Spark

2013 Chevrolet Spark

Promising thrifty city fuel economy, brand-new minicar aims squarely at the under-30 market

James M. Flammang on 01.10.2013

General Motors bills the 2013 Chevrolet Spark as the company’s first mini car for the U.S. and Canadian markets. Definitions of mini may vary, but in the era before the current push for smaller cars, Chevrolet offered several micro-sized automobiles: two generations of Suzuki-built Geo/Chevrolet Metros (1989-2001), plus the previous Korean-made Chevrolet Sprint.

Design

Seemingly scoffing at the segment of cute minicars, Chevrolet touts the Spark’s solid, powerful stance. Chevrolet claims more passenger and cargo space than in other minicars, including the Fiat 500, Smart fortwo, and Scion iQ. Specifically, there’s 11.4 cubic feet behind the rear seat, growing to 31.2 cubic feet with that 60/40-split seat folded.

Spark designers brought exterior colors into the interior of the vehicle to make it lively, said small-car marketing manager Michael Weidman during a Spark press preview. Heated leatherette seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel are included in 2LT models. Air conditioning and power windows are standard in all.

Handling is this minicar’s top attribute. Chevrolet promotes the Spark’s 32.5-foot turning circle as an aid to maneuverability in urban driving, and it’s an accurate claim. Nimble and quick-responding to the steering wheel, the Spark needs little correction on city streets.

Steering has a pleasantly light feel, at least at low speeds.

Chevrolet Spark

Ride comfort is marred a bit by typical small-car roughness: definitely tolerable, but not exactly easygoing through urban potholes. Spark riders won’t get the overall comfort experience provided in Chevrolet’s Sonic. Even when a hard bump is hit, however, recovery is near-instant.

Performance is acceptable-about as expected for this class-but yielding more engine noise than action. Buzzy while accelerating even moderately, the engine grows quite noisy when pushed, but then eases back neatly for low-speed cruising. Automatic-transmission shifts are smooth enough, except for an occasional jolt when accelerating hard at low speed, as the four-speed unit downshifts to low gear.

Fuel economy ranks as thrifty but not quite stunning, compared to several larger but more aerodynamic cars that can reach the magic 40-mpg mark in highway driving. According to EPA estimates, a Spark with manual shift would average 32 mpg in city driving and 38 mpg on the highway. Automatic drops the estimate to 28/37 mpg (city/highway).

The Spark’s fuel tank holds only 9.2 gallons.

The driver’s seat is quite comfortable and well-cushioned. Roomy enough, too, though a hair more left-foot space might be handy. A motorcycle-style speedometer sits within a nacelle directly ahead, with a tiny tachometer display in an adjoining panel.

Rear-seat riders endure a slightly knees-up position and somewhat hard seat, but headroom isn’t bad at all. Backseats fold flat, but only after raising seat bottoms and pushing them down and forward. Chevrolet touts the Spark’s ample cargo space, comparing against the Fiat 500 and Scion iQ, but luggage volume behind the rear seat is moderate.

This is a really small car, after all.

Chevrolet Spark
Chevrolet Spark
Chevrolet Spark
Chevrolet Spark
Chevrolet Spark
Chevrolet Spark
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