Mini-cars are making a comeback, and the latest entry into the city commuter sweepstakes doesn't hail from Europe or Japan but is actually being offered by a domestic automaker. The 2013 Chevrolet Spark might be sourced from Korean partner Daewoo, but the badge is all-American and the car represents a bold move from a brand more known for its pickup trucks than its ultra-compact offerings. The Chevrolet Spark represents the vanguard of a growing segment in the United States, and it has intrigued a great many buyers looking for a runabout that will save on fuel while providing a decent amount of practicality.
Let's take a look at 10 things you need to know about the 2013 Chevrolet Spark
01. The 2013 Chevrolet Spark Is The Smallest Chevy
There's no doubt that the very first thing one notices about the 2013 Chevrolet Spark is its size - or lack thereof. The Chevrolet Spark is the smallest car in the automaker's lineup, slotting in below the Chevrolet Cruze sedan and the Chevrolet Sonic compact hatchback. Viewed from the front, the Spark's extroverted grille, fascia, and bumper are pure Chevrolet, but moving the eye back along its sides reveals a few interesting style lines that introduce fresh terms into the brand's design language. From the rear, the Spark's taillights take on the same motorcycle-like aesthetic found on the Sonic, while a simple bumper, single outlet exhaust, and integrated roof spoiler provide additional detail.
02. The 2013 Chevrolet Spark Is A Four-Door Hatchback
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark offers an advantage over several of its sub-subcompact competitors in that it comes with the enhanced practicality of four doors. This makes it much easier to access the vehicle's surprisingly roomy passenger compartment, which might not rival that of the larger Sonic but offers good headroom and reasonable accommodations for as many as four occupants. Folding down the back seat reveals a very usable 31.2 cubic feet of total storage space for luggage, sporting equipment, and other oversized cargo. This is about 10 cubic feet more space than you would find in the trunk of a full-size sedan.
03. The 2013 Chevrolet Spark Features Four-Cylinder Power
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark comes standard with a 1.2-liter, four-cylinder engine. Yes, that is the tiniest engine to be found in the entire Chevrolet stable, but keep in mind that it is charged with motivating an equally tiny car. The Chevrolet Spark's 1.2-liter unit develops 84 horsepower and 83 lb-ft of torque, and doesn't have to be over-revved in order to get driver and passengers where they are going. The Spark features a front-wheel drive layout, and its engine features dual-overhead camshafts and electronic multiport fuel injection in order to help improve fuel mileage.
04. The 2013 Chevrolet Spark Can Be Had With Two Transmission Choices
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark comes with a five-speed manual transmission as standard equipment. The row-your-own gearbox is intended to offer the best balance between performance and efficiency, and it is certainly the best option for squeezing both acceleration and mileage out of the four-cylinder engine. For those who prefer to let a computer do the shifting for them, a four-speed automatic unit is also available. The automatic is of a traditional design, with Chevrolet skipping the seemingly de rigueur installation of a continuously-variable automatic in its subcompact car. The autobox will get the job done, albeit with a degree of sluggishness off the line not found when the Spark is equipped with the manual transmission.
05. The 2013 Chevrolet Spark Offers Excellent Fuel Mileage
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark is intended to put a smile on the face of drivers at the fuel pump, and it accomplishes this task with a sparkling fuel economy rating. When matched with its manual transmission, the Chevrolet Spark delivers 32 miles per gallon in stop and go driving, along with 38 miles per gallon during highway cruising, for a combined tally of 34-mpg. The automatic transmission knocks off four miles per gallon around town but only one mile per gallon on the highway, lowering its combined rating to 32-mpg.
06. The 2013 Chevrolet Spark Is Offered In Three Trim Levels
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark starts out in the LS trim level, a barebones edition of the car that includes such features as a driver information center, power windows, 15-inch rims, hill start assist, and tilt steering. The Chevrolet Spark 1LT adds the Chevrolet MyLink vehicle interface (touchscreen entertainment and information system), Bluetooth connectivity, a USB port, a louder stereo system, floor mats, steering wheel controls for the vehicle's entertainment features, and power mirrors. The top-of-the-line 2LT edition of the Spark comes with all of the above, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a body kit for the exterior of the vehicle that gives it a more sporty look, special 15-inch wheels, and a chrome exhaust tip.
07. The 2013 Chevrolet Spark Delivers A Surprisingly Competent Ride
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark isn't a sports car - it's not even a sporty hatchback. That being said, it does benefit from a lightweight platform that features the wheels at each corner, giving it an appreciable amount of stability when turning. Reasonably stiff springs and shock absorbers also help to keep the Chevrolet Spark planted, and while steering isn't exactly communicative, the chassis setup is well balanced. Drivers will notice that the Spark exhibits more than its fair share of body roll - blame that on the tall roofline that adds headroom but also shifts the vehicle's center of gravity up and away from the pavement.
08. The 2013 Chevrolet Spark Is Safe
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark has been outfitted with an extensive array of airbags - a necessity when there is so little sheet metal to protect passengers in the event of a collision. The list includes dual-stage forward units, head curtain airbags that run along either side of the hatchback's passenger compartment, a driver's knee airbag and a knee airbag for the front passenger, and side impact airbags for those riding both up front and in the rear. The automobile also comes with automatic traction control and StabiliTrak electronic stability control, as well as the full suite of OnStar safety telematics services.
09. The 2013 Chevrolet Spark Is Offered With Affordable Pricing
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark sweeps in under the Chevrolet Sonic and steals away the title of the most affordably-priced automobile in the car company's portfolio. The Chevrolet Spark starts at a very reasonable $12,245, which not only makes it the cheapest Chevrolet but also allows it to do battle with several subcompact and compact car rivals vying for the attentions of value-focused shoppers. In fact, even when loading the Spark up and ordering it in its highest trim level, the vehicle's MSRP doesn't break the $17,000 mark - roughly equivalent to purchasing a lightly equipped Cruze.
10. The 2013 Chevrolet Spark Faces Few Competitors
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark is at the forefront of the city car renaissance that is slowly sweeping across the United States. Although vehicles like the Smart ForTwo have been on the market for a number of years, it is competitors like the Fiat 500 and the Scion iQ that the Chevrolet Spark is truly gunning for. Both the iQ and the ForTwo have been lambasted by reviewers for their unfortunate driving dynamics, and the Fiat 500 is considerably more expensive than the Spark, which means that from a bargain perspective it's one of the most appealing choices around. It's also important to note that unlike the Chevrolet, none of the models in its class come with four doors.