The Chevy Spark nimbly walks the line between being functional and being totally adorable. In the spirit of mini cars past like the Ford Festiva and the Yugo, this spritely little creation offers improved safety combined with the tech that one would expect in a contemporary efficiency-mobile. The ultra-compact segment has come a long way in a couple of short decades and the Spark is the ideal poster child for what a non-gas-guzzler can achieve.
It would be easy to assume that a car at this economical level as well as size might offer a base model with the accoutrements of a padded room. The standards, however, are surprisingly geared for comfort and convenience, with included A/C, stereo system, OnStar, 10 air bags, and Stabilitrak stability control. The 1LT trim offers keyless entry, Bluetooth, MyLink touchscreen and more. 2LT brings more cosmetic features like leather-wrapped steering wheel, roof rails, fog lights, and a few additional appearance-related improvements.
Changes for 2013
The Spark is a brand new offering for model year 2013.
What We Like
The engine, despite its pony shortage, propels the little car around surprisingly well. The brightly colored accents on the dashboard makes for a fun and sporty ride, and the 11.4 cubic feet of cargo turns into 31.2 when the back seats are folded down. Bonus – park almost anywhere! Really!
What Concerns Us
Those 31.2 cubic feet of storage space come at the price of a rather involved process of removing the rear headrests and flipping up the seat cushions in order to fold the whole affair flat. High-speed stability isn’t as confident as it is in the Kia Rio or Ford Fiesta so those with a long highway commute may want to level up to one of those larger models.
The Spark sports a 1.2L in-line 4-cylinder 5-speed manual or 4-speed automatic, with 83 lb.-ft. of torque, 84 HP, and 32/38 mpg in the manual and 28/37 mpg in the automatic.
In July 2014 GM issued a recall due to an improperly welded passenger airbag deflator, which could impact the deployment of the airbag in a crash. The company notified owners and offered free repair.
In January 2015 a recall was initiated due to the potential corrosion of the secondary hood latch. This could cause the hood to open unexpectedly, increasing the risk of a crash. GM notified owners and offered a free fix.
There have been consistent reports of excessive oil consumption, as well as several owners experiencing premature engine failure.