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Actual rating will vary with options, driving conditions, habits and vehicle condition.
The standard features of the Chevrolet Spark ACTIV CVT include 1.4L I-4 98hp engine, 2-speed CVT transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), side seat mounted airbags, curtain 1st and 2nd row overhead airbags, rear side-impact airbag, driver and passenger knee airbag, airbag occupancy sensor, air conditioning, 15" aluminum wheels, cruise control, ABS and driveline traction control, StabiliTrak electronic stability.
Starting at: $13,000
|LS Search New||$13,000||98-hp 1.4L 4-cyl||5-spd man.||29 / 38|
|LS CVT Search New||$14,100||98-hp 1.4L 4-cyl||continuously variable auto||30 / 38|
|LT w/1LT Search New||$14,825||98-hp 1.4L 4-cyl||5-spd man.||29 / 38|
|LT w/1LT CVT Search New||$15,925||98-hp 1.4L 4-cyl||continuously variable auto||30 / 38|
|LT w/2LT Search New||$16,325||98-hp 1.4L 4-cyl||5-spd man.||29 / 38|
|LT w/2LT Search New||$17,425||98-hp 1.4L 4-cyl||continuously variable auto||30 / 38|
The underpowered Spark works hard to keep up with traffic, but it’s the kind of car that’s rewarding and even fun to put through the paces.
The powertrain can take it, especially with the light and engaging 5-speed manual gearbox. The CVT does what it can, which isn’t enough; it makes the engine scream at high revs under full acceleration, which is often needed.
The ride is comfortable and the handling and roadholding decent. The Spark is no VW GTI, but like any good small car, the springs are soft enough to be forgiving on choppy pavement, and the suspension responsive enough to be engaging.
You wouldn’t think that a snub nose would add presence to a super-small car, but it does on the Spark. And the character lines on the sides aren’t gratuitous, as they are on some cars, they’re appreciated on the Spark. Chevy says the sheetmetal is shrink-wrapped over the chassis, with the wheels pushed out to the corners to give the tiny car a cheeky stance.
Elliptical headlamps sweep dramatically around the corners of the hood, almost to the windshield, bending back from a vertical grille with a horizontal bar. The taillamps stick out from the body as well. Everywhere you look, when you look, the Spark gives you attitude.
The driver of this second-generation Spark is greeted by a grown-up dash with a small cluster of conventional instruments and dot-matrix LCD. There’s a traditional centerstack and seven-inch touchscreen for MyLink radio in the center of the dashboard, that uses a swipe-based interface like a tablet.
The dash and doors use body-color panels on some models, silver trim on others. The interior materials, for example the fabric seat upholstery, feel better than economy.
The front seats are low, but well bolstered. Spark’s height provides remarkable headroom.
Cargo space is decent for a tiny car, with the rear seatbacks folded down; behind the rear seat it’s marginal at best. Spark holds more inside than a Mini Cooper.
Even set on high maximum, we found the air conditioning can’t keep up on a seriously hot day.
If it’s a tiny car with a manual transmission that you want, there’s no reason not to consider the Chevy Spark. It’s fun, practical, and inexpensive.
Sam Moses contributed to this review, with staff reports from The Car Connection.
The 2017 Chevrolet Spark LS comes with a choice of 5-speed manual gearbox ($13,000) or CVT ($14,100), and it comes standard with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, WiFi hotspot, OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity, Chevy’s MyLink info system, 10 airbags. (All prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.)
Spark 1LT ($14,825) adds power locks, cruise control, steering-wheel audio controls, satellite radio, remote keyless entry, and a theft-deterrent system. Spark 2LT ($16,325) features leatherette upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel, enhanced driver-information display, rear park assist, chrome body trim. All are available with CVT. A power sunroof is optional.
Spark ACTIV ($16,070) includes Chevy MyLink with 7-inch color touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, rearview camera, SiriusXM, OnStar, remote keyless entry, and special exterior trim. It’s also available with CVT ($17,170).