2016 Chevrolet Spark
All new for the latest model year, the five-door Spark hatchback is the smallest offering from General Motors' biggest brand: Chevrolet. It offers useful high-tech features and a surprisingly roomy interior with space for four adults.
The Spark is a truly global model that's sold as a Holden in Australia, as a Vauxhall in England, and as an Opel in mainland Europe. The market-specific version sold on our shores falls in line with Chevrolet's current design language thanks to a dual-port grille and elongated L-shaped headlights that wrap around the front fascia. The rear door handles are neatly integrated into the C-pillars, a styling cue that gives the Spark a cleaner profile.
The Spark is slightly lower than its predecessor, but it features a longer wheelbase that allowed designers to create a more spacious cabin. Buyers looking to stand out can choose from three head-turning colors called toasted marshmallow, Kalamata, and splash. Of course, more discreet hues are also offered.
Inside, the Spark features a simple, function-oriented cockpit with a three-spoke steering wheel, an instrument cluster made up of two analog gauges, and a curved center console dominated by a color touch screen.
Chevrolet's smallest model offers 11.1 cubic feet of trunk space with four adults on board, and 27.2 cubic feet with the 60/40-split rear bench folded flat.
All Spark models come with Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system, which includes Bluetooth smartphone connectivity and streaming audio. Displayed on a seven-inch touch screen built into the center stack, MyLink is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Buyers who need to stay connected on the go can also order the Spark with 4G LTE and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.
Under the Hood
The Spark is exclusively offered with a 1.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder engine that makes 98 horsepower and 94 lb-ft. of torque. That doesn't sound like a lot of grunt, but it's important not to forget the Spark tips the scale at 2,246 pounds in its lightest configuration.
The four returns 30 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway when it's ordered with the standard five-speed manual, while selecting the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT) bumps city mileage up by 1 mpg.
Trim Level Breakdown
Chevrolet offers the Spark in three trim levels called LS, 1LT, and 2LT, respectively.
LS models ship with manual A/C, MyLink, a USB port, a four-speaker sound system, rear coat hooks, a parcel shelf, a cabin air filter, black door handles, floor mats, six months' worth of OnStar, a rear-view camera, wind-up windows, halogen headlights, rear drum brakes, and 15-inch steel wheels.
Stepping up to the 1LT trim brings a folding key, fog lights with chromed bezels, chrome trim around the grille, body-colored mirrors, a six-speaker sound system, cruise control, remote keyless entry, power windows, a multi-function steering wheel, and an alarm.
Finally, the 2LT trim adds keyless entry, a keyless ignition, heated front seats, rear parking sensors, chrome trim on the hatch and on the door handles, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, and a monochromatic driver information display in the instrument cluster.
Every Spark comes with ten airbags, a tire pressure monitoring system, electronic stability control, and traction control. Camera-based driving aids such as a forward collision warning, a lane departure warning system, and a side blind zone alert are offered at an extra cost.
As one of the smallest new cars on the market, the Spark can be cross-shopped against the Mitsubishi Mirage. Buyers can also look at the smart fortwo, and the more expensive Fiat 500.