If you’re looking for a small car that’s sporty and nimble and won’t steal your money at the gas pump, then check out the new 2013 Chevrolet Spark. It’s a sporty fourpassenger, five-door hatchback designed to appeal to first-time buyers and city residents.
The Spark is powered by an Ecotec 1.25- liter four cylinder engine mated to a fivespeed manual transmission and gets 38 mpg on the highway (a plug-in electric model will be available by early summer). Spark is affordable, boldly styled and comes in some fairly outrageous colors, including Salsa Red, Jalapeño, Denim, Lemonade and Techno Pink, as well as the more traditional Black Granite, Silver Ice and Summit White. Spark has excellent maneuverability and comes with 10 standard air bags.
Spark is available in three models — LS, 1LT and 2LT — and while it looks like a three-door hatchback, designers have cleverly disguised the rear doors by integrating the handles into the C-pillar. The technique gives Spark a sporty appearance without sacrificing five-door comfort and utility. An integrated spoiler over the rear hatch enhances the appearance and improves aerodynamics for fuel efficiency.
Up front, Spark has a prominent two-tier grille and the Chevy bowtie logo. The “stretched” windshield is accentuated by a single arc roofline, while the wheels-outbody- in stance, body-color front door handles, standard 15-inch aluminum wheels and body sides without cladding give the Spark a sleek, almost aggressive look.
Large elliptically shaped halogen headlights stretch from the front fascia to the Apillar and the clear, polycarbonate lenses and chrome-coated headlight bezels are sculpted into the forward corners.
Spark’s interior complements its sporty exterior. The motorcycle-inspired columnmounted instrument cluster has a large, fullcolor LCD screen that provides digital feedback to the driver. Decorative inserts in the front door and instrument panel add a premium touch, as does the ice blue ambient lighting and faceplates across the door pockets and dash. Air conditioning and power windows are standard.
Spark also has lots of storage space, with numerous bins located throughout the cabin and a cargo area of 11.4 cubic feet behind rear seat. With the rear seat folded, there’s 31.2 cubic feet of hauling space, and the rear seat splits 60-40 to allow long items (such as skis) to be transported along with a rear-seat passenger.
Spark also is loaded with the latest electronic technology. It comes with MyLink Radio, a seven-inch color touch screen radio capable of displaying smartphone-based music, videos, photos and contacts for hands-free calling. MyLink Radio comes with embedded apps for Pandora Internet radio, Stitcher Smart Radio and the available BringGo full-function GPS navigation.
Pricing on the Chevy Spark starts at $12,185, although the PEV model will cost just under $25,000 after incentives.
Ron Beasley is the automotive editor for Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277, ext. 261, or by addressing email correspondence to LetsTalkCars@aol.com