Chevrolet Spark 1,2 LS –

7 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Chevrolet Spark 1,2 LS –
Chevrolet Spark

At A Glance

WHEN was the last time you looked through one of your old photo albums and realised just how different you looked back then? From fashions to haircuts, it all seems like just the other day that you were posing for that photograph, with a youthful glint in your eye. Looking back in the Chevrolet family album, the new Spark might feel a similar sense of nostalgia when it sees how far it has evolved.

Not that it ever had anything to be embarrassed about but, my, how it#39;s grown up. From the aggressively-styled new front end, incorporating huge, dual bezel headlamp clusters that stretch from the moulded front fenders back to the A-pillars, to the flared wheelarches and hidden rear door handles.

The large, Chev family bow tie has pride of place up front and our Green Cocktail LS #8211; one of seven colour options #8211; test unit gains 14-inch alloy wheels to further enhance the sporty stance of the new Spark. Both the L and LS specification models feature a sporty looking rear spoiler and a neat, colour-coded rear bumper.

The new Spark is 145 mm longer and 102 mm wider than the model it replaces. These increased dimensions #8211; together with a slightly longer wheelbase #8211; have helped create a decidedly roomier feel to the cabin of the new car. Rear leg- and headroom are impressive and the front seats offer good comfort.

The trade-off for this occupant comfort, however, is a relatively small luggage compartment. We noted that some overseas markets offer steering wheel adjustment but, strangely, this feature has been left out of models destined for our market. The fixed position of the steering wheel doesn#39;t compromise the driving position too much, but an adjustable column would have been a welcome final tweak, especially for taller pilots.

Tilt adjustment on the driver#39;s seat cushion is standard, though.

There#39;s an expansive feel to the Spark#39;s facia and even though the plastics have a hard feel to them, all panels are neat and well put together. The builtin audio system has large controls that are intuitive to use, as are the ventilation bezels of the standard air-conditioning. A number of handy storage bins are scattered around the cabin, though a rubber finish to these would make them even more user friendly.

LS models are fitted with electric front windows and side mirrors.

The driver#39;s instrumentation is housed on a pod that has been designed to mimic readouts found on sports motorcycles. In the Spark this means that the large analogue speedometer is flanked by a busylooking digital display. It#39;s a neat enough looking set-up but fighting for attention amongst a digital clock, fuel gauge and trip readouts, the rev-counter can be difficult to trace at a glance.

Even without watching the revcounter it is immediately obvious that the new Chevrolet Spark#39;s 1,2-litre 16-valve engine feels racy and willing. Offering 60 kW and 108 N.m, this engine can be heard working eagerly from within the cabin but this actually adds character to the car and isn#39;t intrusive. A five-speed manual transmission is geared to provide good acceleration around town and through traffic.

Good news for concerned parents of racey teens is that the Spark feels faster than it actually is. We managed a best 0-100 km/h sprint time of 13,4 seconds, with a top speed of 163 km/h. A light clutch pedal is matched by equally easy hydraulically-assisted steering to help make the Spark a pleasure to operate in everyday conditions.

Chevrolet Spark

We calculated an impressive overall fuel consumption figure of 6,12 litres/100 km, which, combined with a 35-litre tank, allows for around 570 kilometres between visits to the pumps. Traction control is not included in the package but it really shouldn#39;t be missed in all but extreme driving situations. ABS with EBD and brake assist is fitted as standard to the LS model.

We achieved an average emergency braking time of 3,0 seconds in our 10-stop 100-to-zero test.

One of the most impressive features of the new Chevrolet Spark is a refined and compliant suspension. Most road imperfections are smoothed out and there is very little knock-through when bumps are unavoidable. Both new Spark models are fitted with driver and front passenger airbags.


The outgoing Chevrolet Spark took class honours in our annual Top 12 Best Buys awards from 2007 until 2009 and came out runner-up to the Citroën C1 this year. The reasons for the Spark#39;s popularity have always been a combination of big character, impressive value and a willingness to fight above its weight group.

The new model successfully builds on these values and this time has more grown-up, if slightly over-the-top, looks and an impressive engine to add weight to its cocky nature. We look forward to pitting it against some of its very competent rivals in this segment but, on first impressions, the Chevrolet Spark has matured nicely.

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