Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Drew Dowdell

Quick Drive: 2013 Chevrolet Spark

Recommended Posts

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.

sml_gallery_51_475_297482.png
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


View full article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your content will need to be approved by a moderator

Guest
You are commenting as a guest. If you have an account, please sign in.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  



  • Social Stream

  • Similar Content

    • By regfootball
      DRIVEN: 2019 Chevrolet Blazer LT AWD 3.6 (MSRP around 40k)
      HIGHS:
      -Blazer name is back!
      -Unique, sporty CUV style, drawing inspiration from the Camaro.  Be seen.  Looks good in person, even in a bad color.
      -Nice new interior design, including ball blower vents down low.  That will be a godsend in summer.  I liked the gauges, displays, controls, and touchscreen.
      -Cargo area seemed more useful in size than I imagined.  If I recall, the rear seats can slide forward and back to help out with that.
      -If you are averse to 4 cylinder engines, Chevy has you covered here.  Most of the Blazers will be had with 3.6 v6.  And with enough throttle foot, and after you let it wind up, and if the tranny actually kicks down, it scoots pretty well.
      -Fans of CUV's that are heavy and sit high will be like pigs in slop in the Blazer.
      LOWS:
      -There are probably a lot of people that won't be into the styling.
      -Drivetrain doesn't seem refined.  Sorry, another one of these GM drivetrains with the common 3.6 that underwhelms.  Slow transmission kickdown.  Feels like driveline has a lot of slop.  Lack of useful torque.  Grainy sounding, revs slow, throttle response is a dud.  
      -Interior space is not exactly a middle spot between the Equinox and Traverse.  To some it will feel not much larger than an Equinox inside, which is either a compliment for the Equinox (wasn't intended to be) or a rip on the Blazer (maybe that's where I was going).   Perhaps how high you sit on the queen perch exacerbates the truckiness of this thing, but it feels narrow in relation to it's size, and it's easier to knock elbows with your neighbor than it should be in this thing.
      -There is nothing about the ride and handling that stuck in my mind as impressive.  In fact, it was quite the opposite.  Now, maybe the RS is better, I don't know.
      -Irregardless of whether a vehicle being heavy is a good or bad thing, it's that the Blazer actually feels porky or even porkier than it is / isn't.
      -The elephant in the room on this thing is price.  This lightly equipped LT was near 40 grand.  In the same showroom is an almost equally equipped Traverse for an almost equal price.  The versions that are in the high 40's and 50's, it's a real SMH to me.
      -An all around feel about the vehicle that it was just a cobbled together parts bin ride (which historically has been GM's PENCHANT).  The Blazer is a vehicle that feels old by several years on the market, right when it's introduced.
      SUMMARY
      No compelling reason to pick this vehicle on the market other than if you are a GM fanboi/girl or you've gone sick on the styling of it.  If it's the former, its another case of GM missing an opportunity to provide class competitive or better vehicle refinement and dynamics and missing the mark.  If it's the latter, then the styling ends up being the sole purpose for the vehicle to exist in the market.  If it doesn't have more than that, than it's hopes for being a long term success are pretty thin.  I don't need to dive much more into this one.  Reviving the Blazer name and throwing it on something that evokes the Camaro in styling is about all there is behind this effort.  Nissan came out with the Murano in 2003? 2004? And Chevrolet finally has something to compete with it in 2019.  The list of vehicles that are better options to this for your money, whether 2 or 3 row, are in the dozens.  As far as Chevy, if you really want size, immediately bypass the Blazer and just go straight for the Traverse.  For performance and refinement, it's entirely possibly that a well loaded Equinox with the 2.0 engine is a much more enjoyable vehicle for a majority of people.  And don't forget the GMC options too.  Other makes and models, Santa Fe, Atlas, Edge, Passport, all better.  I might be here all day if I list all the better options.
      It doesn't make it bad to like the Blazer and I wouldn't criticize anyone for buying one.  I just think GM mailed it in here, which they seem to be doing with increasing frequency here.  All you get here is a name and some style.  Bless ya if that's what you want.  I may try the 2.5 FWD for contrast, but i think I can 99% safely say one of these will never be in my driveway.  Continuing to lose more and more faith in GM and Chevy all the time.
       
       
    • By William Maley
      Chevrolet didn't want to have Ford hogging the spotlight today in terms of heavy-duty pickups, so they spilled some more details on the upcoming Silverado HD at an event in Flint, MI.
      Let's start with some big numbers. Chevrolet is claiming all dually Silverado HDs are capable of towing over 30,000 pounds, with max being 35,500 pounds for a regular cab, 2WD model with the 6.6L Duramax Turbodiesel V8. This bests the Ram Heavy Duty's max towing of 35,100 pounds. Max payload sits at 7,466 pounds. To handle all of this weight, Chevrolet has beefed up the frame, axles, prop shafts, and improved cooling.
      In terms of the engines, Chevrolet is finally talking about the new gas engine they have been teasing for some time. It a 6.6L V8 producing 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque - up 41 and 84 when compared to the current 6.0L V8. This is paired up with a six-speed automatic. Optional is the 6.6L Duramax Turbodiesel V8 with 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque, teamed with a ten-speed automatic.
      Like the recently announced GMC Sierra HD, the Silverado HD will get the ProGrade Trailering system featuring 15 camera views, including a transparent trailer view that can see through a trailer while towing.
      Chevrolet will be rolling out the Silverado HD later this summer.
      Gallery: 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
      Source: Autoblog , Roadshow
    • By William Maley
      Chevrolet didn't want to have Ford hogging the spotlight today in terms of heavy-duty pickups, so they spilled some more details on the upcoming Silverado HD at an event in Flint, MI.
      Let's start with some big numbers. Chevrolet is claiming all dually Silverado HDs are capable of towing over 30,000 pounds, with max being 35,500 pounds for a regular cab, 2WD model with the 6.6L Duramax Turbodiesel V8. This bests the Ram Heavy Duty's max towing of 35,100 pounds. Max payload sits at 7,466 pounds. To handle all of this weight, Chevrolet has beefed up the frame, axles, prop shafts, and improved cooling.
      In terms of the engines, Chevrolet is finally talking about the new gas engine they have been teasing for some time. It a 6.6L V8 producing 401 horsepower and 464 pound-feet of torque - up 41 and 84 when compared to the current 6.0L V8. This is paired up with a six-speed automatic. Optional is the 6.6L Duramax Turbodiesel V8 with 445 horsepower and 910 pound-feet of torque, teamed with a ten-speed automatic.
      Like the recently announced GMC Sierra HD, the Silverado HD will get the ProGrade Trailering system featuring 15 camera views, including a transparent trailer view that can see through a trailer while towing.
      Chevrolet will be rolling out the Silverado HD later this summer.
      Gallery: 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD
      Source: Autoblog , Roadshow

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      "I love it when a plan comes together." Hannibal from the A-Team.
      I wasn't expecting to get back into a review vehicle for some time as the Detroit Auto Show tends to reduce the number of vehicles available - they're reserved for those coming out-of-state and OEM representatives. I thought next month is when I would begin my rotation once again. But a surprise email this morning from General Motors asking if I was able to take a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado today. Of course!
      This particular Silverado is an LT Trail Boss Crew Cab with the 5.3L V8 and eight-speed automatic transmission. Base is $48,300 and my as-tested price comes to $55,965 with a few option packages like the Convenience package (front bucket seats, dual-zone climate control, and heated steering wheel).
      First Impressions?
      Even though it may appear the truck is black, it is actually painted a dark blue (blame my iPhone). Even though I'm not sold on the design on the Silverado as a whole, the Trail Boss make it look aggressive. Interior looks a rehash of the one seen in the previous Silverado. Material quality is better, but I was kind of hoping more in terms of design. 5.3L V8 doesn't feel muzzled when leaving a stop or needing to accelerate quickly - THANK YOU GM! Haven't quite figured out how to open the power tailgate. Spent a few moments just pressing the button and not having the tailgate come down. Need to some reading in the owners manual. I'll be trying my best to update this piece with other observations and impressions throughout the week. You can also drop some questions below if you want to something about the truck.
      Gallery: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss Crew Cab

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      "I love it when a plan comes together." Hannibal from the A-Team.
      I wasn't expecting to get back into a review vehicle for some time as the Detroit Auto Show tends to reduce the number of vehicles available - they're reserved for those coming out-of-state and OEM representatives. I thought next month is when I would begin my rotation once again. But a surprise email this morning from General Motors asking if I was able to take a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado today. Of course!
      This particular Silverado is an LT Trail Boss Crew Cab with the 5.3L V8 and eight-speed automatic transmission. Base is $48,300 and my as-tested price comes to $55,965 with a few option packages like the Convenience package (front bucket seats, dual-zone climate control, and heated steering wheel).
      First Impressions?
      Even though it may appear the truck is black, it is actually painted a dark blue (blame my iPhone). Even though I'm not sold on the design on the Silverado as a whole, the Trail Boss make it look aggressive. Interior looks a rehash of the one seen in the previous Silverado. Material quality is better, but I was kind of hoping more in terms of design. 5.3L V8 doesn't feel muzzled when leaving a stop or needing to accelerate quickly - THANK YOU GM! Haven't quite figured out how to open the power tailgate. Spent a few moments just pressing the button and not having the tailgate come down. Need to some reading in the owners manual. I'll be trying my best to update this piece with other observations and impressions throughout the week. You can also drop some questions below if you want to something about the truck.
      Gallery: 2019 Chevrolet Silverado LT Trail Boss Crew Cab
  • My Clubs

  • Recently Browsing

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Reader Rides

About us

CheersandGears.com - Founded 2001

We ♥ Cars

Get in touch

Follow us

Recent tweets

facebook

×