Nuts & Bolts: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
Bottom line: The Spark is a genuine entry in the small but growing market for mini-cars. It is one of the best of the genre in terms of overall quality, safety, seating accommodation and infotainment advances. It gets an enthusiastic “buy” here for small-car shoppers.
Ride, acceleration and handling: Steering is easy. Steering response is instant and accurate. The ride is choppy on poorly maintained streets, as is the case with most small cars. Acceleration is good enough to get you out of tough spots, and to help you avoid them in the first place.
Head-turning quotient: Totally cute on the outside. The interior is plain, simple and ergonomically sensible. I love this car in what GM calls “techno pink.”
Body style/layout: The 2013 Chevrolet Spark is a front-engine, front-wheel-drive mini-car with four side doors and a rear hatch.
Engine transmission: The car comes standard with a 16-valve, 1.2-liter in-line four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing (85 horsepower, 82 foot-pounds of torque). The engine is linked to a standard five-speed manual transmission. A five-speed automatic is optional. Get the manual transmission for best performance.
Capacities: Seats four adults. Cargo capacity with rear seats up is 11.4 cubic feet. With rear seats down, cargo capacity expands to 31.2 cubic feet. The fuel tank holds 9.2 gallons of gasoline. Regular grade is recommended.
Real-world mileage: I averaged 22 miles per gallon in the city, wasting gallons of gasoline going nowhere fast. I averaged 38 miles per gallon on the highway.
Safety: The 2013 Chevrolet Spark gets excellent safety ratings from federal and private insurance safety agencies. Standard equipment includes ventilated front disc and rear drum brakes; four-wheel anti-lock brake protection; 10 air bags, including side and head bags and knee bolsters; and electronic stability and traction control.
Price: The trim lines range from $12,245 to $15,045. Compare with Fiat 500, Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit.