Aimed directly at the young urban driver, the 2013 Chevy Spark is a sub-compact car with good interior space that's fun to drive and very affordable.
This wee car, at just over 4.4 metres long, has a cute, yet sporty exterior and comes in eight colours with names like Jalapeño, Lemonade and Denim. The elongated headlights, 15-inch alloy wheels and nearly-invisible rear door handles give an interesting look that is sure to attract attention. The top trim model, 2LT, adds several exterior touches, including fog lights, chrome trim, minor front and rear facia updates and roof rails.
Stepping into the car reveals that although the price tag is low, the attention to detail is not. Instead of a stark and plain finish that might be expected, driver and passengers are greeted with colour-accented seats, dash and door panels along with cleanly-designed tech touches.
The column-mounted two-piece instrument cluster includes an analog speedometer beside an LCD display that provides information on fuel level and economy, tachometer, and odometer. Being column-mounted, the cluster moves up and down as the steering wheel is adjusted, always ensuring a clear view of the information.
The entry-trim level, the 2013 Chevy Spark LS, comes with a 4-speaker sound system and satellite-capable radio. The 1LT and 2LT models come equipped with the Chevrolet MyLink Touch system. This upgrade includes a 6-speaker stereo, Bluetooth streaming audio and cell phone control, all managed through a 7-inch touch-screen.
Moving up the trim levels also provides a few luxury features such as A/C, cruise control, power locks and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Adding to the look is LED accent lighting.
Front seating is comfortable, with headroom for most adults. The rear seats are designed for two passengers, with a cup holder and small storage bin between the seats. The rear seats are 60/40 split to accommodate more cargo room, expanding storage from 323 litres to 883.
Under the hood is a 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine that produces 83 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is reasonable, with an estimated 7.1 / 5.2 / 6.2 L/100 km for city / highway / combined for the automatic transmission. With a 0-60 speed in the range of 10-12 seconds, the 2013 Chevy Spark clearly wasn't designed as a sports car. It provides great handling in the city and reasonable results on the highway.
Due to its small stature and well-tuned handling, the 2013 Chevy Spark is a fun car to drive. The brakes are responsive, and with included ABS, stability control and ten air bags, your trips around town are sure to be safe.
Chevy's marketing efforts appear aimed at the youth segment. These efforts include the jaunty colour name options, music and video play capabilities through the USB port, as well as smart phone apps to help find your car and your destination. With the price point, fuel efficiency and overall design, they should be right on target.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca