Chevrolet has released details concerning the 2013 Chevrolet Spark ultra-compact hatchback ahead of its debut this week at the Los Angeles International Auto Show. The 2013 Chevrolet Spark is a "mini car" that will represent the smallest automobile ever sold by the domestic brand in the United States, and which will be positioned underneath the well-received Chevrolet Sonic in the automaker's lineup.
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark, which is currently available for sale outside of America, will offer seating for as many as four passengers inside a four-door hatchback design that integrates its rear access points into the body work to give it the appearance of a coupe. Like the MINI Cooper, the Spark offers a stanced-out, wheel-at-each-corner design that improves stability and maximizes interior volume (up to 31.2 cubic feet of total storage room behind the two front positions). Chevrolet has given the Spark a somewhat sporty appearance, with aero-inspired exterior trim and an host of eyeball-grabbing colors that further add to what the brand is hoping will be the vehicle's youthful charm. The Spark is aimed primarily at young, first-time car buyers.
In addition to a reasonable amount of interior room for people and cargo, the Chevrolet Spark also offers standard power windows and air conditioning, as well as the availability of surprisingly upscale equipment such as heated seats, "leatherette" upholstery, and the Chevrolet MyLink system. MyLink is designed to offer easy Bluetooth integration for mobile phones and other devices, and it also provides access to internet music services such as Stitcher and Pandora. Safety - always a concern in such a small vehicle - is handled via the inclusion of 10 airbags as well as StabiliTrak electronic stability control and four-wheel anti-lock brakes.
Under the hood, the 2013 Chevrolet Spark will offer buyers a 1.2-liter, four-cylinder engine that is rated at 85 horsepower and roughly 82 lb-ft of torque. This unit can be paired with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. The Spark's fuel mileage has yet to be released by General Motors, but given that the vehicle features a curb weight of just over 2,200 lbs it should impress with its efficiency. Acceleration, passing power and handling will also most likely be more than adequate for tackling urban driving environments.
The United States has traditionally been a tough nut to crack for vehicles sized underneath the standard subcompact footprint. Companies such as Smart and Th!nk have failed to gain traction in America, and despite the popularity of very small "city" cars in Europe and Japan where urban spaces are crowded and require vehicles which can successfully navigate tight streets and even tighter parking spaces, brands have been reluctant to push this class of vehicle overseas. The introduction of vehicles such as the FIAT 500, Toyota's Scion iQ entry and now the 2013 Chevrolet Spark indicate that product planners have been emboldened by rising fuel prices and a seemingly resurgent thirst amongst new car buyers for smaller and smaller automobiles that offer reasonable pricing and decent all-around practicality.