Shouldn¯t a car named ¯Spark¯ have some life to it? - Chevy Spark Forum : Chevrolet Spark Forums
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post #1 of 13 Old 12-31-2012, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
TDR
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Shouldn’t a car named ‘Spark’ have some life to it?

Chevrolet introduced its Spark EV at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show, and, according to the company, it should be in dealerships by next summer. Fully battery-powered, it will be part of a model-wide electric technology push on the part of General Motors.

Let’s hope it’s a more driveable proposition than the current internal-combustion Spark, which is on sale now. I’m hard-pressed to think of another vehicle that has so little going for it. Maybe the Smart, possibly the Scion iQ.

But before I get into it, a few stats on the Chevy Spark. Built in Korea, this sub-compact is powered by a 1.2-litre, four-cylinder engine that develops 83 horsepower. It’s available as a four-door hatchback only and you can choose from either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. My tester, a middle-of-the-range 1LT, had the latter. Standard equipment includes front disc/rear drum brakes with ABS, seating for four, 883 litres of cargo room with the back seat folded, power windows and, with the 1LT, Bluetooth and Sirius satellite radio.

That leads to my first complaint. This engine is awful. It’s loud, unrefined, and gutless. GM claims that the Spark has “plenty of juice” to get around town. I disagree. There’s no juice here, just some dregs. You’ve got to really give it some welly just to keep up and, on the highway, it practically drowns out the radio. I guess I should be thankful it’s not mated to a CVT, which would be a nightmare.

The upgraded radio, by the way, is part of GM’s MyLink system and may be the worst-designed sound system I’ve ever encountered. The layout and controls don’t make sense, and I spent way more time than I should have trying to figure out how to change stations and adjusting the balance and tone. A few years back, an acquaintance of mine had an accident because he was trying to adjust the radio settings in his new Audi, and the Spark is almost as bad.

But what really rubs me the wrong way about this one is the price. GM claims that the base model starts at just less than $12,000. That may be true, but my tester, with extras such as the autobox, cruise control, tilt steering, air conditioning, and the MyLink set-up comes in at just less than $18,000. And it doesn’t even have heated seats. For that, you have to step up to the 2LT version, which is almost two grand more. If I shelled out 18 large – almost $20,000 after taxes and extras – for this tin can, I’d be one unhappy camper. You can pick up superior models from Honda, Hyundai and Kia for less and get more car for your money. You could also buy yourself a decent two- or three-year-old Honda Accord or a new VW Jetta for about the same money, and be happier for it.

Even Chevy’s own Cruze, which is a superior automobile in every way, starts at around $15,000. You’d be better off spending your money on a Cruze than a slapped-together puddle-jumper like the Spark.

I’m also confused about the marketing of this one. GM introduced the Chevrolet Sonic last year which, although it’s a little pricier than the Spark, is much the same in design and purpose, but is a better car in almost every way. It’s got a bigger engine(s), more content, and is more driveable and easy to get along with. These two are now competing against each other, which doesn’t make sense. Maybe GM is just trying to flood the market.

All that said, there are a couple of bright spots for the Spark. No. 1: it’s good on gas. GM is claiming 7.1 litres/100 km in town, and 5.2 on the highway, for a combined rating of 6.2 litres/100 km. No. 2: it is manageable and nimble in city traffic and is easy to park and man-handle around town.

But the Spark is being marketed as a low-cost city car with a high fun quotient. It’s neither. Rivals such as the Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent, and even the Mazda2 and Ford Fiesta are just as thrifty, if not more so, more enjoyable to drive, more powerful, and feature better build quality.

Maybe the electric version will be better.

Tech Specs

2013 Chev Spark 1LT

Base Price: $17,945; as tested: $19,545

Engine: 1.2-litre four-cylinder

Horsepower/torque: 83 hp/83 ft-lb

Transmission: Four-speed automatic

Drive: Front-wheel

Fuel economy: (litres/100 km): 7.1 city/5.2 highway

Alternatives:Mazda2, Ford Fiesta, Chevrolet Sonic, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, Kia Rio5, Fiat 500, Toyota Yaris, Smart FourTwo.

Send your automotive maintenance and repair questions to [email protected]

GLOBE RATING FOR THE 2013 CHEVROLET SPARKOur ratings guide
6
Ride
Choppy, loud, unrefined, raucous on the highway
5
Looks
Functional, but homely and unexceptional
4
Interior
Fail. Awful radio, nutty ergonomics, not at all comfortable.
7
Safety
Full complement of airbags, with ABS, and GM’s StabiliTrak
7.5
Green
Decent fuel economy
5
Overall
(out of 10 / Not an average)

Shouldn



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post #2 of 13 Old 12-31-2012, 10:22 PM
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This review doesn't make any sense. I paid less than $15k for my 1LT model, and that's with all the features the reviewer listed. They should have researched the price more before complaining about what is absolutely false info.

Also, I drive my Spark around town every day, in a city with tons of hills. No problem whatsoever. Dude, if you want a powerful car, don't buy a Spark. But for city driving and light highway usage, it's perfect.
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post #3 of 13 Old 01-01-2013, 09:19 PM
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AMEN, I agree with you, Some of these people don't compare apples to apples, and I don't understand how they compare things. The spark is the probably the cheapest car you can buy new in america, and it has a lot of convenience options available, most already included in the price, but it is not a suburban and it is not a corvette, and it doesn't cost $50,000+ like a lot of cars do, but I drive it all over the city and on freeways, and it is what it is, affordable, effecient, transportation!!!
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post #4 of 13 Old 01-02-2013, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnneK View Post
This review doesn't make any sense. I paid less than $15k for my 1LT model, and that's with all the features the reviewer listed. They should have researched the price more before complaining about what is absolutely false info.

Also, I drive my Spark around town every day, in a city with tons of hills. No problem whatsoever. Dude, if you want a powerful car, don't buy a Spark. But for city driving and light highway usage, it's perfect.
I actually thought they were onto something when they said going up hills is a struggle since its really not a powerful car but i rather take the word from a real owner than some reviewer that drove it for an hour.

How steep have the hills been that you drove your spark up?
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post #5 of 13 Old 01-02-2013, 08:44 PM
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I live in Wisconsin, Madison area, which is far from flat. We don't have mountains or anything that drastic, but it does take some get up and go to get around somewhat. That being said, I've never had a problem getting around. As I mentioned before, this reviewer is obviously both biased towards "power" cars and also did not research the Spark's real features and actual price.

My first car was a Ford Explorer, then I spent 7 years in a New Beetle. So I've driven both the big and little cars on a daily basis. When I researched to buy a new car after my Beetle's transmission failed, I weighed all my options and thought the Spark was an awesome compromise to having efficient space on the inside but still feeling like I'm driving a smaller car. I've done roadtrips during the holidays in it, and driven around the city plenty, and it turned out to be the most perfect choice.

All the features the 1LT comes with was not a bad bonus either. Loving the MyLink system so much!

Last edited by AnneK; 01-02-2013 at 08:48 PM.
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post #6 of 13 Old 01-03-2013, 02:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SparkFan View Post
I actually thought they were onto something when they said going up hills is a struggle since its really not a powerful car but i rather take the word from a real owner than some reviewer that drove it for an hour.

How steep have the hills been that you drove your spark up?
agree....usually it's these small time reviews that say things like that but i find companies like Motor Trend, Car & Driver, etc are quite fair to each vehicle and actually know what each vehicle's purpose is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnneK View Post
I live in Wisconsin, Madison area, which is far from flat. We don't have mountains or anything that drastic, but it does take some get up and go to get around somewhat. That being said, I've never had a problem getting around. As I mentioned before, this reviewer is obviously both biased towards "power" cars and also did not research the Spark's real features and actual price.

My first car was a Ford Explorer, then I spent 7 years in a New Beetle. So I've driven both the big and little cars on a daily basis. When I researched to buy a new car after my Beetle's transmission failed, I weighed all my options and thought the Spark was an awesome compromise to having efficient space on the inside but still feeling like I'm driving a smaller car. I've done roadtrips during the holidays in it, and driven around the city plenty, and it turned out to be the most perfect choice.

All the features the 1LT comes with was not a bad bonus either. Loving the MyLink system so much!

BTW how high do the RPM go when your going up hill? Just curious what is required of the spark it get up hills where you live
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post #7 of 13 Old 01-03-2013, 02:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnneK View Post
I live in Wisconsin, Madison area, which is far from flat. We don't have mountains or anything that drastic, but it does take some get up and go to get around somewhat. That being said, I've never had a problem getting around. As I mentioned before, this reviewer is obviously both biased towards "power" cars and also did not research the Spark's real features and actual price.

My first car was a Ford Explorer, then I spent 7 years in a New Beetle. So I've driven both the big and little cars on a daily basis. When I researched to buy a new car after my Beetle's transmission failed, I weighed all my options and thought the Spark was an awesome compromise to having efficient space on the inside but still feeling like I'm driving a smaller car. I've done roadtrips during the holidays in it, and driven around the city plenty, and it turned out to be the most perfect choice.

All the features the 1LT comes with was not a bad bonus either. Loving the MyLink system so much!

One of the few here that rave about MyLink. I went to a Cadillac dealership before going to Chevy to check out the Spark and its just awesome how Cadillac's CUE system is a PITA to use when compared to MyLink.

I actually think MyLink is better than CUE.
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post #8 of 13 Old 01-03-2013, 07:58 PM
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On most hills my RPM usually does not go above 3, I think. Once I get up to speed it's usually much better.

I love MyLink, it's been a blast so far. I load up all of my music on my little thumb drive, plug it in, and I'm good to go. Connecting my phone via bluetooth at the same time to take calls is also awesome.
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post #9 of 13 Old 01-04-2013, 03:06 PM
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Staying under 3k is good, being at 3k or more i'd begin to worry. Even older civic's with bigger 4 cylinders have to pass the 2k mark just to go up a moderately steep hill.
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post #10 of 13 Old 01-08-2013, 04:31 PM
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the engine is a little loud i noticed but that probably due to the little sound dampening material it lacks. I noticed this when you shut the door from the inside not even hard you hear everything in the door. But maybe im just way to sensitive. But that doesnt matter cuz i just connect my music and forget about everything else.



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