|Sep 07, 2012
||Posted By: Mark Bilek
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While the subcompact Chevy Sonic made big noise at the Chicago Auto Show last year, Chevrolet is poised to introduce an even smaller car called Spark this fall. Spark is an "A" class car, meaning its competitors here in the States are the Fiat 500, Scion iQ and Toyota Yaris.
There's no doubt the Spark is small, it's 14 inches shorter than Sonic. However, Chevrolet is hoping that Spark's size is a big advantage. Its two feet longer than Scion iQ and four inches longer than Fiat 500. And, though it only seats four passengers, it's also the only five-door in the class.
Intended as a city car, Spark is all about attracting younger buyers to the Chevrolet brand. It's certainly priced attractively. Three models will be offered, with the Base LS selling for $12,995. That price includes air conditioning, ten airbags, stability control and antilock brakes. Step up to the 1LT or 2LT and for less than $17,000 you get a host of convenience and entertainment options.
Power comes from an 84-horsepower 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine. That drives the front wheels through either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is a plus with the manual-transmission Spark netting 34 mpg in the combined EPA ratings. Part of that is thanks to electric-power steering and carefully sculpted exterior styling.
The centerpiece of the new Spark is undoubtedly the seven-inch touch screen display that's standard in 1LT and 2LT models. It's part of the MyLink infotainment system. When used alone, it's simply a large radio and video interface. However, connect your iOS or Android smartphone and MyLInk brings a suite of features that include true Pandora and Stitcher integration and a navigation app called BringGo. What sets MyLink apart from other Bluetooth integrations is that it utilizes the seven-inch touch screen to display and operate the phone apps while other integrations still force the driver to pick up the phone to operate apps.
With value-conscious pricing, an upscale interior, good fuel economy and a few gee-whiz features, Spark has a lot going for it and should appeal to younger buyers. Spark is hitting Chevy showrooms as you read this. If you are in the market, Spark is worth a test drive.
You wouldn't guess it, but 180 boxes of Cheeros fit in the Spark!