Review 2013 Chevrolet Spark | Toronto Sun
By Keri Potipcoe, Toronto Sun
This is the 2013 Chevy Spark and its 84 hp. I’ll wait for you to stop laughing before continuing why that’s just right.
The Spark is a city car, a vehicle specifically for those living inside large urban centres. Designed to transport three friends, or, the driver and a respectable amount of cargo, it does both well.
And because its purpose is to zoom around a downtown, the 1.2-litre ECOTEC engine that outputs 84 hp and 83 lb.-ft. of torque provides more than enough power to accomplish that task. And with its tiny turning circle and small overall size, parking is easy, a crucial factor for downtown driving.
(This author took it onto the highway, in the big-boy fast lane and all, and it performed fine. If you’d like some extra oomph, choose a manual transmission, and save $1,400 at the same time.)
Chevy has produced a version of this vehicle in cities around the globe, but this marks the first time this model has been available in Canada.
It has an athletic stance. From front to rear, the eye is drawn upward, ending on a little spoiler with integrated LED stoplight, giving the car a sporty feel while masking its tall profile, which is where the interior cargo room comes from.
The black woven grille is wide; the 15-inch wheels that come standard with a five-spoke silver-painted aluminium design continue the sporty theme. Then at the highest trim level (2LT), the look is completed with the chrome door handles and exhaust outlet, lower rocker body-coloured mouldings, and some sharp looking grey-painted-pocket rims.
The exterior colour comes right into the interior and swoops across the dash, around the door panels and onto the seat fabric accent colour, giving the whole vehicle a unified look and feel.
The test vehicle was a bright green “Jalapeno” colour, which is hard to miss. Available in a pale yellow (“Lemonade”) and deep grey (“Black Granite”), the Spark is one of the few cars on the market that can also be ordered in pink.
It’s an ergonomic interior, with giant HVAC dials and a compact, motorcycle-inspired speedometer and instrument cluster, all highlighted with ice-blue ambient lighting throughout the cabin. The 10 steering-wheel controls ensure you don’t need to remove your hands from the wheel to control the infotainment system, Chevy’s MyLink.
In what may be the first of its kind, instead of installing a computer into the car, the car uses the computer we all carry around constantly – our mobile phone. The core of the computing is done on the phone, and then displayed on the seven-inch touchscreen via the USB or Bluetooth connection.
Not only does that reduce the weight of the car, but it saves the driver money. The average infotainment system is approximately a $1,500 upgrade; instead, purchase Chevy’s BringGo map app for $50 (available for either iPhone or Android) making the MyLink one of the most affordable infotainment systems available (interesting aside: GM worked directly with Apple to produce this app, marking the first time the computer manufacturer has partnered with an automaker).
With a base price of $11,845, the standard Spark comes quite loaded. Standard features include: rear window wiper/washer, power windows, OnStar with six-month subscription, adjustable steering column, and both stability and traction assist.
But to maximize the Spark, upgrade one trim level from LS to 1LT for an additional $3,350. The 1LT is where the Spark really starts singing, with features like remote keyless entry; cruise control; exterior temperature gauge; A/C; steering wheel-mounted controls, Bluetooth capabilities; and the Chevy MyLink infotainment system.
Regardless of how many features are added on, the fuel economy remains good at a combined 6.2 L/100km, especially considering the majority of the car’s kilometres will be driven inside a city where fuel consumption is highest.
Despite its laugh-inducing two-digit horsepower output, this all-new Chevy Spark will quickly quiet those snickers, because it confidently accomplishes everything it sets out to.
This is a great city car, as well as a great starter car for a new driver, for whom the 84 hp will be more than enough.
Trim Level: LT
Price as tested (before taxes): $17,945
Options on test vehicle:
Configuration: front engine / front-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 1.2L 4-cyl./ 4-spd automatic
Power/torque: 84 hp / 83 lb.-ft.
Fuel (capacity): Regular (35L)
Fuel economy ratings: 7.1 L/100km city; 5.2 L/100km hwy
Observed fuel economy: 8.2 L/100km over 256 km
Warranties: 3 years/ 60,000 km (basic); 5 years/ 160,000 km (powertrain)
Competitors: Fiat 500; Honda Fit; Scion iQ; Toyota Yaris