All photos by General Motors
March 6, 2013
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT, Chevy’s first mini car for the U.S. and Canadian markets, is a sporty four-passenger, five-door hatch. It is designed to excite first-time buyers and city dwellers with its bold styling and colors, affordability, the safety of 10 standard air bags, fuel efficiency and maneuverability. You wouldn’t know this was Chevy’s first entry into the mini car market here in the U.S. as this new offering from the General has her T’s crossed and I’s dotted. There is something very special about the Spark, and after a week driving this mini, we are now impressed.
Just because the 2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT is officially a mini car doesn’t mean you shouldn’t expect styling, and this car delivers the goods when it comes to good looks. In a segment of “cute” cars, Spark’s solid, powerful stance is designed to challenge the status quo, and its interior reflects refinement, craftsmanship and personal technologies normally associated with larger, more expensive vehicles.
While the Spark looks like a three-door hatch, designers cleverly disguised the rear doors by integrating the handles into the C-pillar area. The technique gives Spark its sporty appearance without sacrificing five-door comfort and utility. An integrated spoiler over the rear hatch door enhances Spark’s dynamic appearance while also improving the car’s aerodynamics for fuel efficiency. Combined, these design cues raise the bar on the exterior of mini cars.
The Spark’s prominent two-tier grille and bowtie logo preserve Chevrolet’s signature global look. A wheels-out, body-in stance, stretched windshield accentuated by a single arc roofline, body-color front door handles and body sides free of cladding make the Spark appear more sleek, aggressive and upscale. Spark’s wheels-at-the-corners stance is further emphasized by standard 15-inch aluminum wheels. Dramatically sized, elliptically shaped halogen headlamps stretch from the front fascia to the A-pillar. The clear, polycarbonate lenses and chrome-coated headlamp bezels are sculpted into the forward corners, and accents within the housings offset the chrome bezels for a strong visual statement. Projector-type fog lamps are standard on the 2LT Spark model.
Our jalapeno paint looked fun and features like outside power adjustable and manual folding mirrors, surround chrome grille, body color rocker molding, side rail luggage rack, single chrome exhaust tip and chrome belt line molding meant that you don’t have to surrender style and good looks in your 2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT.
Spark’s interior complements its sporty exterior with comfort, spaciousness and style. Its most identifiable element is a motorcycle-inspired, column-mounted instrument cluster that features one of two large, full-color LCD screens and provides digital feedback to the driver in a design that’s bold, fun and easy to view at a glance.
Decorative inserts in the front door and instrument panel add a premium touch, as does ice blue ambient lighting and faceplates across the door pockets and dash. Heated leatherette seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel are included on the Spark 2LT. Air conditioning and power windows are standard across the lineup. When it comes to storage space, numerous bins are located throughout the cabin, while the cargo area offers 11.4 cubic feet (323 L) behind rear seat. The Spark also offers 31.2 cubic feet (884 L) with the rear seat folded, and the rear seat features a 60-40 split that allows long items, such as skis, to be transported along with a rear-seat passenger. The most deceiving aspect of the Spark to me is how much room there is in the back seats, and I’m not kidding around her folks!
No worries on amenities in the cabin, as our 2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT was equipped with power windows, front high-back buckets seats with adjustable head restraint, split-back folding rear seat, leatherette seat trim, power door locks, air conditioning, a very practical and much appreciated folding armrest for the driver, tilt steering column, leather wrapped steering wheel, cruise control, XM radio, USB port, 7-inch touchscreen, Chevy MyLink hands-free smartphone integration with Pandora and Stitcher BlueTooth audio streaming and even more. No compromises here!
The Spark is powered by an Ecotec 1.25L dual-overhead cam four-cylinder engine with continuously variable valve timing that delivers SAE-certified 84 horsepower (64 kW). It is mated to a standard five-speed manual transmission, and a four-speed automatic transmission is available. Our test model was equipped with the five-speed manual transmission and the shifting was smooth and precise. The Spark achieves an EPA-estimated 34 mpg in combined city and highway driving with the manual transmission, and 32 mpg with the automatic transmission. The Chevrolet Spark also has the lowest estimated fuel cost of any Chevrolet small car, except the Volt. It also uses regular unleaded fuel which is a plus since some of the competition requires premium fuel, and we all know that can burn a hole in your pocket!
The engine was developed using best practices from GM Powertrain technical centers. For North America, its displacement was enlarged slightly over other markets’ 1.2L displacement, giving the engine more mid-range torque that translates into a greater feeling of power on the highway. It also combines competitive performance with sophisticated technologies such as dual continuous variable cam phasing and an electronically controlled thermostat to give customers a low-maintenance engine with reduced emissions.
Spark’s body-frame-integral structure is tight and stiff for sportier driving dynamics. The electric power steering and MacPherson strut front suspension are designed to deliver taut, tight handling characteristics that better connect the driver with the road and provide outstanding overall stability. Anti-lock brakes, StabiliTrak electronic stability control and Hill Start Assist are standard. Hill Start Assist helps prevent drivers from rolling when restarting from a stopped position on a hill. It allows drivers to take their foot off the brake long enough to use the accelerator and move forward.Spark is equipped with vented front disc and rear drum brakes for excellent stopping performance and good pedal feel. Low rolling-resistance tires use a silica compound and revised tread design for a solid road feel and improved fuel efficiency
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT Manual is a car that one can really appreciate after spending a week driving around town. I love the roof rack as it represents just how “normal” the Spark is even though it costs a fraction of the price of most automobiles. Our test Spark came in with a sticker price of $15,795 and when a motorist asked me at a stop ight how much the car costs, his eyes lit up in joy. Back in the day, mini cars were known for being cheap and low quality. That has all changed, and now Chevrolet has a competitor in the 2013 Spark that can go head to head with the best in the world. Spark is the only mini car covered by a five-year/100,000-mile Powertrain Limited Warranty, which also includes roadside assistance and courtesy transportation.
Another factor separating the Spark from rivals is that six months of OnStar Directions and Connections service is standard . OnStar is the global leading provider of connected safety, security and mobility solutions and advanced information technology. OnStar’s RemoteLink Mobile App allows smartphone users to control vehicle functions, access vehicle information and send directions directly to the vehicle. A new, opt-in service called FamilyLink allows subscribers to stay connected to loved ones by checking the location of their vehicle online or by signing up for vehicle location alerts.
All considered, the 2013 Spark is much more for the money than you’ll know unless you take one for a drive yourself!
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