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Drew Dowdell

Quick Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Spark

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Chevy’s first entry into the micro car market is the 2013 Spark. During the IMPA test days, I got to take a spin in a cheeky Spark 2LT with the standard 5-speed manual transmission; a 4-speed automatic is optional. Ingress and egress of the tiny car is easy due to the upright seating position and tall doors. Headroom for such a small car is excellent. Despite being a very low price entry model, every Chevrolet Spark comes with air conditioning, power windows and a full 10 airbags. Rear seat access is just as easy as in the front with a surprising amount of legroom. I doubt I would want to spend 5 hours riding back there, but most spins around town would be fine. The 1LT and 2LT trim levels come with Chevy’s new MyLink infotainment system that includes a 7” color touch-screen. I didn’t play with it during this test drive, but expect it to operate the same as the MyLink in the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco we reviewed previously. The interior is mostly hard plastic as would be expected, but feels very well put together. In fact, my only quibble with the interior would be the rather clunky looking and feeling manual shifter that Chevy borrowed from your Grandpap’s 1987 Chevy S-10.

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The Spark is powered by a 1.25 liter 4-cylinder with 84 horsepower at 6500 rpm and 83 ft-lbs of torque at 4200 rpm. Routed through the 5-speed manual, this is the little engine that could, and with some effort, does. What power you do have comes on quickly and the Spark actually feels peppy to drive. Gearing is such that you can be in 5th gear by 35 mph and as long as you’re not in any hurry, accelerate up to highway speeds. I recognize the Spark is a cost conscious micro car, but it does feel like it needs a 6th gear. This is borne out in two ways: First, at 55 mph, the engine is turning at about 2500 rpm, and while the engine is impressively smooth for such an entry level car, the buzz from the engine does make it into the cabin at these higher RPMs. I wasn’t in a position to take the car faster, but I would probably find the noise from the engine at 70 to be bothersome. The second reason the Spark needs a 6th gear is shown in the fuel economy numbers. The Spark is EPA rated at 32 mpg city and 38 mpg highway. Both the larger Chevy Sonic and Cruze with 6-speed manuals can beat that highway number soundly. Even if Chevy didn’t make a 6-speed manual standard, the ability to option into one at extra cost would be nice. The Spark won’t be winning road rallies any time soon, but in the ride and handling department, the car felt a class above and was actually fun to drive and throw around.

The mini-car market is very small in the U.S., and dominated mostly by the SMART Four-Two and more recently the Scion iQ. Seeing what Chevy has done with the Spark makes me think they are about to make a huge splash in the tiny tiny-car market.

The full gallery of pictures from the IMPA Test days is located here and will continue to be built as quick drive reviews are added:

Year: 2013

Make: Chevrolet

Model: Spark

Trim: 2LT

Engine: 1.25 Liter 4-cylinder

Driveline: Front wheel drive, 5-speed manual

Horsepower @ RPM: 84 @ 6400

Torque @ RPM: 83 lb-ft @ 4200

Fuel Economy: City/Highway: 32/38

Location of Manufacture: Bupyeong, South Korea

Base Price: $12,245

Est. As Tested Price: $15,795

Drew Dowdell is Managing Editor of CheersandGears.com and can be reached at Drew.Dowdell@CheersandGears.com or on twitter as @cheersngears


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The interior just does not impress me. Looks Cheap and an afterthought.

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I've said it before, the Spark is amusing to me. Seems like it is not a bad little runabout to sling around in.

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Well it is cheap. That was a nearly loaded model (minus just the automatic) and it priced out at $15k.

True, but then for 15K I would expect an integrated Instrument cluster. This one looks like it will easily break off if a person hit it just right with their hand.

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Well it is cheap. That was a nearly loaded model (minus just the automatic) and it priced out at $15k.

True, but then for 15K I would expect an integrated Instrument cluster. This one looks like it will easily break off if a person hit it just right with their hand.

Na, that's just the styling kick that Chevy is on right now. It is like the one in the Chevy Sonic, but without the C&G logo on the tach,

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a turbo 1.0 three plus 6 speed or CVT would be the bomb on this car.

I drove a fiat the other day. the spark is about like sized. i can see how this kind of car can be the bomb in the city.

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a turbo 1.0 three plus 6 speed or CVT would be the bomb on this car.

I drove a fiat the other day. the spark is about like sized. i can see how this kind of car can be the bomb in the city.

Imagine if they simply dropped in the same 1.4T they're putting in everything else... zoom zoom!

The Spark has grown on me some, but I still hold firm that it'd look a thousand times cooler as a 2-door.

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Think if this had a lite weight 185HP Katech Pushrod V4. :)

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      # # #
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      View full article
    • By Drew Dowdell
      GM released power figures today for the new inline 6-cylinder diesel engine that will be available in the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.  Available at the same price as the 6.2 liter model, GM promises the new engine will change perceptions about diesel performance and refinement.  GM recently announced the delay of the 3.0-liter diesel until the 2020 model year due to emissions certification delays. 
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      2019 CHEVROLET SILVERADO 3.0L DURAMAX TURBO-DIESEL SPECIFICATIONS
      Type:
      Duramax 3.0L DOHC Turbo Diesel I6 
      Bore & Stroke (in. / mm):
      3.30 x 3.54 inches (84mm x 90mm)
      Block Material:
      Aluminum
      Cylinder Head Material:
      Aluminum
      Compression Ratio:
      15.0: 1
      Firing Order:
      1-5-3-6-2-4
      Valvetrain:
      Dual-overhead camshafts, four-valves per cylinder
      Air Delivery:
      Single variable-geometry turbocharger; intercooling system. 42.8-psi / 2.95 bar max boost
      Fuel Delivery:
      High-pressure, common-rail direct injection (36,250 psi / 2500 bar); electronic throttle valve
      Ignition System:
      Compression
      Max Engine Speed:
      5100 rpm
      Additional Features:
      Continuously variable oil pump; engine oil cooler, automatic stop/start, Active Thermal Management,
      Emissions Control:
      Low-pressure Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR); Selective Catalyst Reduction on Filter (SCRF)
      Horsepower
      (hp / kW @ rpm):
      277 / 204 @ 3750 (SAE certified)
      Torque
      (lb.-ft. / Nm @ rpm):
      460 / 624 @ 1500 (SAE certified)
      Manufacturing Location (of globally sourced parts)
      Flint, Mich.  
       
       
      Chevy Press release on page 2


      2020 CHEVROLET SILVERADO’S NEW, ADVANCED 3.0L DURAMAX TURBO-DIESEL REDEFINES EXPECTATIONS
      No-compromise engine delivers refinement, performance and efficiency
      2019-06-03
      DETROIT — The all-new 2020 Chevrolet Silverado’s available 3.0L Duramax inline-six turbo-diesel engine adds choice and versatility for full-size truck customers, offering class-leading torque and horsepower in addition to focusing on fuel economy and capability. It is the first-ever inline-six turbo-diesel offered in Chevrolet’s full-size light-duty trucks.
      Chevrolet engineers started with a clean-sheet design and developed an all-new engine that leverages the efficiency and refinement advantages of the inline six-cylinder architecture and incorporates advanced combustion and emissions technologies to optimize performance and efficiency. It is priced identically to the 6.2L V-8 as a $2,495 premium over a 5.3L V-8 model or $3,890 over a 2.7L Turbo model.
      “From the moment the engine is started, to its idle, acceleration and highway cruising, the 3.0L Duramax performance will change perceptions of what a diesel engine can offer in refinement,” said Nicola Menarini, director for Diesel Truck Engine Program Execution. “With advanced technologies that draw on global diesel expertise, it’s a no-compromise choice for those who want the capability and driving range of a diesel in a light-duty truck.”
      Available on LT, RST, LTZ and High Country models, the 3.0L Duramax diesel rounds out the new Silverado’s range of six propulsion choices, each tailored to suit customers’ needs for performance, efficiency, technology and value. It is rated at an SAE-certified 277 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque delivering 95 percent of peak torque at just 1,250 rpm. Peak torque is sustained from 1,500 rpm through 3,000 rpm, providing a powerfully smooth and satisfying driving experience.
      The 3.0L Duramax is paired with GM’s 10L80 10-speed automatic transmission, featuring a centrifugal pendulum absorber torque converter that reduces vibrations to improve smoothness, reinforcing its performance, efficiency and refinement. This combination also offers exhaust braking, which uses the diesel engine’s compression to help slow the vehicle, requiring fewer brake applications by the driver when in Tow Haul mode.
      Innovative Engine Technologies
      The inline six-cylinder architecture offers inherent efficiency and refinement, but the team expanded with smart technology choices to help improve efficiency and weight while optimizing the truck experience. A lightweight aluminum block and cylinder head reduce overall mass, and Active Thermal Management enhances efficiency and cold-weather warm-up. Ceramic glow plugs also help with shorter heat-up times and a quicker cold start, meaning the engine block heater is not needed until -22 degrees F.
      Towing is an important part of owning a truck, and customers can gain additional confidence thanks to the exhaust brake available in tow-haul mode. The water charge air cooler, coupled with low pressure EGR, reduces time to torque. The variable geometry turbocharger helps provide a greater balance of performance and efficiency, and an electronically variable intake manifold helps optimize performance across the rpm band.
      Inherently efficient and balanced
      Compared to a DOHC V-6, the inline-six architecture offers greater efficiency from the reduced friction of operating only two camshafts and their associated valvetrain components. The I6 configuration offers the perfect balance of primary and secondary forces, without the need for balancing shafts.
      “In addition to reduced friction, the architecture enables smooth operation,” Menarini said. “The new Duramax 3.0L elevates the 2019 Silverado with one of the most refined and efficient diesel engines in the segment.”
      Along with supporting elements such as a tuned air induction system and other noise-attenuating elements, the 3.0L Duramax delivers exceptional quietness and smoothness at all engine speeds.
      All-aluminum construction and tough rotating assembly
      The 3.0L Duramax cylinder block is made of a cast aluminum alloy that provides the strength required to support the high combustion pressures that occur within a diesel engine, while also offering an approximately 25 percent mass savings over a comparable cast iron engine block. Iron cylinder liners are used within the aluminum block to insure truck durability.
      There are seven nodular iron main bearing caps that help ensure the block’s strength under those high combustion pressures, while also enabling accurate location of the rotating assembly. A deep-skirt block design, where the block casting extends below the crankshaft centerline, also contributes to the engine’s stiffness and refinement. It’s complemented by a stiffness-enhancing aluminum lower crankcase extension attached to the main bearing caps.
      The rotating assembly consists of a forged steel crankshaft, forged steel connecting rods and hypereutectic aluminum pistons. The alloys in the respective castings for the rods and pistons make them lightweight and durable. Silicon is blended with the aluminum for heat resistance and tolerance within the piston cylinders, which enhances performance and makes the engine quiet.
      A thick piston crown — the top of the piston — and reinforced top ring add strength to support the tremendous cylinder pressures enabled by turbocharging and the engine’s high 15.0:1 compression ratio.
      DOHC Cylinder Head and Rear Cam Drive
      Overhead camshafts offer a direct, efficient means of operating the valves, while four valves per cylinder activated by maintenance-free finger followers with hydraulic lash adjusters increase airflow in and out of the engine. This arrangement is integrated on the Duramax 3.0L’s lightweight aluminum cylinder head, which is topped with a lightweight composite cam cover that incorporates the crankcase ventilation and oil separation systems.
      A pair of lightweight, assembled camshafts actuates 28.35 mm diameter (1.12-inch) intake and 24.55 mm diameter (0.97-inch) exhaust valves. The camshaft drivetrain is uniquely located at the rear (flywheel side) of the engine, for greater refinement and packaging considerations for the comparatively long inline-six. A crankshaft-driven chain drives the high-pressure direct-injection fuel pump, while a chain driven by the fuel pump drives both intake and exhaust camshafts. A smaller belt drives the variable flow oil pump from the crankshaft.
      Additional Technology Highlights
      Variable geometry turbocharging enables the Duramax 3.0L engine to deliver class-leading horsepower with minimal effect on overall efficiency. The system uses closed loop controlled vanes position and sophisticated electronic controls to automatically adjust boost pressure to the desired value based on engine running conditions and instantaneous power demand. The liquid-cooled turbocharger features a low-friction ball-bearing shaft and is mounted close to the exhaust outlet of the engine for quicker spool-up of the turbine and quicker light-off of the exhaust catalyst. A water-to-air intercooling system produces a cooler higher density air charge for greater power. Maximum boost pressure is 43,5 psi (300 Kpa) absolute.
      Low-pressure EGR: The Duramax 3.0L utilizes new low-pressure Exhaust Gas Recirculation to optimize performance and efficiency. The EGR system diverts some of the engine-out exhaust gas and mixes it back into the fresh intake air stream, which is drawn into the cylinder head for combustion. That lowers combustion temperatures and rates.
      Traditionally, EGR systems in diesel applications recirculate exhaust gases between the two high-pressure points, the exhaust manifold(s) and intake manifold. However, it generally requires efficiency-robbing assistance from the turbocharger or other supporting elements to achieve the pressure differential required for sufficient EGR flow rates.
      The new low-pressure system adds to the high-pressure system, supporting continual adjustment of exhaust backpressure for more efficient operation. It recirculates gases between the low-pressure points in the exhaust system (downstream of the particulate filter) and after the compressor inlet.
      When the low-pressure EGR is activated by an electronically controlled valve, the engine burns exhaust gas that has already passed through the particulate filter. That increases the turbocharger’s efficiency, which helps overall vehicle efficiency without deteriorating the rate of particulate matter emitted by the engine.
      A variable intake manifold offers dual air intake pathways for each cylinder. Electronically controlled flaps — one for each cylinder — shorten or lengthen the airflow to each cylinder. This optimizes the airflow into the engine and improves performance and responsiveness across the rpm band, particularly at lower engine speeds.
      A variable-pressure oiling system with a continuously variable-displacement vane oil pump enhances efficiency by optimizing oil pressure as a function of engine speed and load. With it, the oil supply is matched to the engine requirements rather than the excessive supply of a conventional, fixed-displacement oil pump. The engine uses low-friction Diesel Dexos 0W20 oil.
      Oil jets located in the block are employed for performance and temperature control. They target the inner core of the piston with an extra layer of cooling, friction-reducing oil. The jets reduce piston temperature, allowing the engine to produce more power and enhance long-term durability than engines without the technology.
      Active Thermal Management helps the engine warm up quickly to achieve and maintain its optimal engine temperature for performance and efficiency over the entire engine operating range. The system uses a three-actuator rotary valve system to distribute coolant through the engine in a targeted manner. It sends heat where it’s needed to warm up the engine to reduce friction and heat the passenger cabin or cools when needed for high-power operation. The Duramax 3.0L also features split cooling between the block and head.
      Common rail direct fuel injection of 2,500 bar (36,250 psi) helps generates class-leading horsepower and torque. The system’s pressure is generated by an engine-driven twin-piston pump sending fuel to solenoid-activated injectors with nine-hole nozzles that support precise metering of the fuel for a smooth idle and lower combustion noise. The fuel system is capable of multiple injections per combustion cycle — up to 10 times per injector — for more consistent and stable combustion performance that translates into smoothness and refinement, particularly at idle.   
      Electronic throttle valve: The Duramax 3.0L features an electronic throttle valve to regulate intake manifold pressure in order to optimize exhaust gas recirculation rates. It also contributes to a smooth engine shutdown via a more controlled method of airflow reduction.
      Ceramic glow plugs used in the Duramax 3.0L heat up more quickly and hotter than conventional metal-based glow plugs, helping the engine start and heat up more quickly in cold weather. The Duramax 3.0L achieves unassisted and assisted starting temperatures of -22 F (-30 C) and -40 F (-40 C) respectively.
      Stop/start technology helps optimize efficiency in city driving. The driver-selectable system shuts off the engine at stoplights and other stop-and-go situations. The engine automatically restarts when the driver takes their foot off the brake.
      ABOUT CHEVROLET
      Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is one of the world's largest car brands, doing business in more than 100 countries and selling more than 4.0 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.
      # # #
      2019 CHEVROLET SILVERADO 3.0L DURAMAX TURBO-DIESEL SPECIFICATIONS
      Type:
      Duramax 3.0L DOHC Turbo Diesel I6 
      Bore & Stroke (in. / mm):
      3.30 x 3.54 inches (84mm x 90mm)
      Block Material:
      Aluminum
      Cylinder Head Material:
      Aluminum
      Compression Ratio:
      15.0: 1
      Firing Order:
      1-5-3-6-2-4
      Valvetrain:
      Dual-overhead camshafts, four-valves per cylinder
      Air Delivery:
      Single variable-geometry turbocharger; intercooling system. 42.8-psi / 2.95 bar max boost
      Fuel Delivery:
      High-pressure, common-rail direct injection (36,250 psi / 2500 bar); electronic throttle valve
      Ignition System:
      Compression
      Max Engine Speed:
      5100 rpm
      Additional Features:
      Continuously variable oil pump; engine oil cooler, automatic stop/start, Active Thermal Management,
      Emissions Control:
      Low-pressure Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR); Selective Catalyst Reduction on Filter (SCRF)
      Horsepower
      (hp / kW @ rpm):
      277 / 204 @ 3750 (SAE certified)
      Torque
      (lb.-ft. / Nm @ rpm):
      460 / 624 @ 1500 (SAE certified)
       
    • By Drew Dowdell
      Chevy unveiled the 2021 Trailblazer today, filling a space between the Chevrolet Trax and Equinox in the lineup.  This follows the recent release of the Buick Encore GX that fills a similar but more premium space. 
      Picking up on styling from the larger Blazer and the Camaro, the Trailblazer takes an aggressive, sporty posture. Yes, there also will be an RS version, but no word yet on what powertrains will be available. 
      Chevy is finally going to start offering active safety features as standard, something the competition started doing a few years ago. The standard active safety features are Front Pedestrian Braking, Automatic Emergency Braking and Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning.  Optional will be Adaptive Cruise Control - Camera, Rear Park Assist and a High Definition Rear Vision Camera.
      The 2021 Trailblazer will enter dealerships in early 2020. 


      View full article
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