Small cars and Americans do not seem like they go together — until now.
Unstable oil prices and a shaky economy have more people than ever before cutting back on large, fuel-thirsty vehicles. Chevrolet’s brand-new 2013 Spark definitely fits the small car criteria, coming in at a meager 144.7 inches and at a feathery 2,300 pounds curb weight.
The city car has become accepted as a normality for those who are just looking for economical transportation to get them from place to place without getting their adrenaline pumping. The Spark has best-in-class cargo and leg room with 35.2 inches of rear leg room, 11.4 cubic feet of cargo room with the back seats up, and 31.2 cubic feet of cargo room with the back seats down.
In this class cargo room is exceedingly important and all the inches add up. Those looking to buy a city car will be surprised at the interior size, as it is often much larger inside than it appears from just looking at the outside of the vehicle.
The Spark’s performance is not as deft as most would assume from looking at such a tiny hatchback. The standard engine is a 1.2 liter four-cylinder engine which produces 84 horsepower and 83 pound feet of torque. The Spark hustles from a standstill to 60 mph in an unexciting 11.3 seconds with the manual transmission, while the automatic transmission takes 12.8 seconds to get to 60 mph. Although the straight-line speed is not thrilling whatsoever, the Spark handles nicely as a city car with an incredibly controlled and somewhat firm suspension. Motor Trend’s Todd Lassa gave quite a compliment for such an unsporting car.
“The ultra light car feels fairly possible,” Lassa said.
Fuel economy is perhaps a city car’s most important selling point, as this is what most city car buyers are looking for. The Spark is able to run with the pack-matching class average fuel economy.
The Spark with its more common automatic transmission gets 28 mpg city/37 mpg highway with a combined average of 32 mpg. The Spark with a manual transmission, however, gets 32 mpg city/38 mpg highway with a combined average of 34 mpg.
You can save yourself some gas money by learning how to drive with three pedals and a stick. To be honest, it will probably be more enjoyable as well.
The Spark is a car that would actually make sense for most drivers who are just looking for basic economical transportation, as most people who have large thirsty vehicles never truly use them to their full potential. However, if you are a car enthusiast looking for an economical yet fun hatchback, I would recommend the Honda Fit Sport or the Chevrolet Sonic RS. Both of these two hatchbacks are a little bit sportier than the Spark; however, they lack the Spark’s premium fuel economy and low base price.
When it comes to an economical city car, you cannot go wrong with Chevy’s new Spark.
Contact the writer: