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Chevrolet Spark

Unique, but about what you’d expect.

The Chevy Spark is the latest entry in the minicar segment, and although it came late, it’s notable for offering four doors, something no other vehicle in this class has. Although the interior reflects the vehicle’s low base price, bright body-color trim — the Spark comes in several eye-searing hues — distracts a bit from the cheapness. Power windows, but not power door locks or mirrors, are standard. Upper trim levels add a seven-inch color touchscreen and a USB port. The high roofline provides plenty of headroom, even in the back seat. Built in Korea, the Spark was modified for U.S. duty with stiffer front dampers, larger (fifteen-inch) wheels, and electric power steering. The 83-hp, 1.2-liter four moves the 2237-pound car with some gusto — until you add a couple of passengers. The steering is quick and precise — the way we wish the Fiat 500’s felt — without being twitchy. Early yet subtle stability-control intervention keeps the car pointed in the right direction through mid-corner bumps. The throws of the five-speed manual gearbox are smooth if a bit too light (a four-speed automatic is optional). Chevrolet promises that fuel economy will be “competitive” with the likes of the Scion iQ and the Fiat 500, meaning it’ll be no better than in a subcompact car. The real story, then, will be the electric version that Chevy will offer next year.

COMPETITORS

Fiat 500

Scion iQ

Smart ForTwo

new for 2013

The Spark is an all-new model for 2013.

SAFETY EQUIPMENT

Knee, head, side, and front air bags; ABS; traction and stability control; a tire-pressure monitoring system; hill-start assist; and OnStar are standard.

High Mileage

MPG

CITY 28–32

HWY 37–38

(est.)

PRO

Four doors

Copious rear headroom

Good steering

CON

Fuel economy

Manual action too light

Base Price Range: $12,995–$16,720

SPECIFICATIONS

DRIVE: Front-wheel

TRIM LEVELS: LS, 1LT, 2LT

BODY STYLE: Hatchback

ENGINE: 1.2L I-4, 84 hp, 83 lb-ft

TRANSMISSIONS: 5-speed manual, 4-speed automatic

PASSENGER VOLUME: N/A

CARGO SPACE: (rear seats up/down) 11.4/31.2 cu ft

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