Nuts & Bolts: 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV 1LT

AJ Mueller/GM - The 2014 Chevy Spark EV.

Bottom line: The 2014 Spark EV 1LT is the perfect neighborhood automobile — a truly reliable, civil little car.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Ride is good. Acceleration is excellent — instant torque! Handling is weighted by the heft of that lithium-ion battery pack.

Head-turning quotient: Terms such as “sexy” don’t come to mind. But the car is a good candidate for “endearing” and “cute.”

Body style/layout: The 2014 Spark EV 1LT is a front-wheel-drive electric car employing a lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor essentially based on the same platform as the gasoline-fueled Chevrolet Spark mini-car. It has certain underbody and other modifications to enhance aerodynamic efficiency. It has four side doors, a rear hatch . . . and no tailpipe.

Power system: A 21-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack powers an electric motor that drives the front wheels. The transmission is automatic — one-speed direct drive.

Capacities: There are seats for four people. Cargo capacity is 9.6 cubic feet, enough for a week’s groceries for a family of four. Recharging time to “full” ranges from seven to 20 hours, depending on whether you use Bosch’s quick-charge system or regular 120-volt house current.

Mileage: The MPGe (gasoline miles-per-gallon equivalent) is 119, a pretty good number.

Safety: Standard equipment includes a three-year subscription to GM’s OnStar emergency communications system; four-wheel disc brakes (ventilated front, solid rear); four-wheel anti-lock brake protection; emergency braking assistance; electronic brake-force distribution; stability control; traction control; stolen-vehicle tracking assistance; and 10 air bags.

Price: The base price of the 2014 Spark EV 1LT is $27,495, with a dealer’s invoice price of $26,395. A more posh Spark EV 2LT is available at $27,820, with a dealer’s invoice price of $26,707. A $7,500 federal tax rebate applies to both cars, as does a $810 factory-to-dealer destination fee. East Coast supplies are limited.

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