When the thought of a mini car comes to mind usually the pictures are of the Fiat 500, Smart Fortwo or Scion IQ, but the Chevrolet Spark fits the bill as well. Built to only fit four at a time, this is the smallest vehicle in the entire Chevrolet lineup and as such is also the most economical as far as overall price and fuel mileage. On the West Coast, drivers can enjoy the easy to love features of an all-electric version called the Spark EV which means no stops at the gas pump, adding to the overall efficiency of this little winner.
Even though the interior is only set up for four at a time to enjoy, the Spark does allow those four to be comfortable and the fun styling and low price make the Spark a very attractive choice for the back-to-school crowd, to be used as a daily commuter or even for someone who only commutes in town as this is a great city dweller. For 2015 the Spark adds 4G LTE and a Wi-Fi hotspot to the car to keep everyone connected to the online world even on a road trip.
As a very small vehicle, the Spark is very zippy and agile making it easy to run around town in this car and not worry about fitting into parking spaces or have to try and navigate tight turns with a large beast of a vehicle. The suspension is adequately tuned and the steering is light and easy to make this little car a fun drive on any road, although heading out on the highway might be a bit of a stretch. The cabin is actually quiet enough to enjoy music and conversation without having to try and reach over the road noises on the outside.
Only two engines can be found in the compartment of the Spark starting with the base model of the 1.2-liter inline four-cylinder engine. This is the engine found in all Spark models except the limited all-electric model. This tiny engine comes in with adequate power at 84 horsepower and 83 lb.-ft. of torque and is mated to either a five speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission. These powertrains come in offering 31 city/39 hwy mpg for the manual transmission models and the automatic offers a fuel efficiency of 30 city/39 hwy mpg.
The all electric model of the Spark shows up powered by an 18.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that achieves as much as 140 horsepower and 327 lb.-ft. of torque. This eco-friendly model of the Spark offers a driving range of 82 miles on a single charge, keeping this car city bound. The charging time for the Spark EV varies from 20 minute for a DC-Fast Charging system that currently is hard to find to 20 hours on a standard 120-vold outlet. For those who purchase the Spark EV, the smart option is to install a dedicated 240-volt outlet which allows the Spark EV to fully charge in seven hours on this line.
Inside the cabin of the Spark offers interest and a unique two-toned look when chosen which helps to continue the overall feeling of a fun small car which the Spark clearly is. Unlike many of its direct competition, the Spark does fit two adults in the rear seat easily and comfortably as well as offering a nice cargo space when one or both of the rear seats are folded down. When all four seats are occupied the Spark carries an 11.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the seats for owners and passengers to carry a bit of gear on a road trip.
On the outside the Spark resembles the Sonic is almost every aspect. The Spark does have a different set of headlights which take up almost the entire front corners of the vehicle. The wedge-shaped design of this cool little hatchback can be had in a wide variety of colors, allowing the Spark to be unique, fun, and stylish for anyone to drive. Another fun feature is the hidden high handles of the rear doors that have been placed in the c-pillar to make it even more fun to look at and enter.
Even though the Spark is an extremely affordable car from Chevrolet, they didn’t forget to allow people to enjoy it and add a nice amount of standard features. The standard equipment offered for the Spark include automatic windows, air conditioning, a four-speaker audio system with auxiliary input and 15-inch wheels for the base LS trim. Moving up the trim levels will add a seven-inch touch screen control center, cruise control, a six-speaker audio system with USB and Bluetooth connectivity, power door locks and mirrors, as well as leatherette upholstery. The GM OnStar system is standard on all models along with ten airbags and traction and stability control.
The optional features allow this fun little car to become even more enjoyable for everyone along for the ride. These optional features include color details for the interior, fog lights a unique grill, an engine block heater, a navigation system, Pandora, Stitcher and TuneIn audio streaming, Siri Personal Assistant and a fast charging port can be fitted on the Spark EV. These various add-ons help make this great little car even more attractive and fun to ride around in, allowing the owner to be the life of the party, or at least the car more people want to ride around in.
As promised, the Spark is the least expensive offering from Chevrolet coming in around $13,000 for the base model. Adding all the features offered and the automatic transmission can bring the price up as high as $18,000 which still keeps this car at a very enjoyable and affordable price. The Spark EV which is currently only available in California and Oregon starts just under $28,000 but does receive the $7,500 federal income tax credit which brings it back in line with its gas powered sibling.