The Chevy Spark survives into the 2021 model year with two new paint options. Chevrolet introduced the Spark for 2016 as its smallest and least expensive offering, positioned below the Sonic, Malibu, and Impala among the automaker's shrinking lineup of cars. It's one of the few cars left on the market with a standard manual transmission. The Spark competes against other subcompact hatchbacks including the Kia Rio and Mitsubishi Mirage, as well as similarly priced sedans like the Nissan Versa.
Low-dollar motoring has always been an interesting challenge, and the Chevrolet Spark, although unexceptional, is a decent choice. This is a cheap car that feels solidly assembled and actually inspires some confidence. Base trims are expectedly barren in places (peep the crank windows and manual locks) but a decent-sized infotainment touchscreen and modern smartphone mirroring keep the Spark from feeling old.
The Spark does largely miss out on driver-assist features, which is disappointing in today's market. Plus, the few available options are pretty basic and are only available on the top trim. That top-spec model's heated leatherette seats and decent audio are a nice surprise, and we have to toss this little thing a bone for still offering a manual transmission in 2021. As a package, the Spark is a reasonably well-executed, impressively accessible, passable economy car. The Rio has a slightly better IntelliChoice value rating overall than the Spark, but like so many other cars, that Kia is more expensive than the Chevy.
Every variant of the Spark features a 1.4-liter non-turbo I-4. Its modest output measures just 98 hp and 94 lb-ft of torque, but the Spark's feather-light curb weight means it doesn't require much to get going. A five-speed manual is standard, and a CVT automatic can be had as an option. Fuel economy numbers read 29-30/37-38 mpg city/highway, and our testing shows it will eventually huff and puff to 60 mph in 10.7 seconds.
Driver-assist active safety features are hard to come by on the Spark. The only available active safety tech is automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, and lane departure warning, and those options are only available on the top-spec Spark 2LT with the optional CVT automatic transmission.
The Spark's most distinctive variant is without question the Spark Activ. Aiming to attract buyers of small crossovers, the Spark Activ melds SUV styling with subcompact hatchback proportions. That means a 0.4-inch suspension lift, 15-inch wheels, black plastic fender cladding, unique front-end styling, off-road skidplates, and roof rails.
Although most cars and hatchbacks seat five, the diminutive Spark has space for just four. Legroom measures 41.7 inches up front and 33.0 inches in the back seat. Cargo volume is pretty tight, too, at 11.1 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 27.2 with the bench folded down.
The Spark's standard 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system is especially impressive on the exceptionally affordable base model. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all models, too, although integrated navigation is not on the table. The base Spark LS features four-speaker audio, and all other trims get a six-speaker setup.
|$0||3.29% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60, 72 Months - GM announces APR rates on select models.||02-01-2021|
|$0||3.54% Financing for a maximum term of 75 Months - GM announces APR rates on select models.||02-01-2021|
|$0||3.79% Financing for a maximum term of 84 Months - GM announces APR rates on select models.||02-01-2021|
|$0||0% Financing available for varying term lengths : 36, 48, 60, 72 Months - GM announces a GM Financial APR program that is good towards the purchase of select models.||02-01-2021|
|$1000||GM announces Customer Cash on select models.||02-01-2021|
|$0||1.9% Financing for a maximum term of 84 Months - GM announces a GM Financial APR program that is good towards the purchase of select models.||02-01-2021|