The 2013 Chevrolet Spark, a subcompact hatchback being touted as Chevrolet's first mini car, seats four and is available in an array of headturning colours, including the Techno Pink shown here.
Photograph by: ALEXANDRA STRAUB , Special to The Gazette
As much as I love bigger vehicles ó i.e. SUVs, CUVs and trucks ó thereís something awesome about getting behind the wheel of a car that can fit in the bed of a pickup!
Not only do they come with such benefits as great fuel economy, a park-anywhere-size and an affordable price tag, they can be pretty darn cute, too.
For 2013, Chevrolet introduces such a vehicle: the Spark.
Itís the North American automakerís first mini car and while itís small in size, it still has some sizeable features.
Its exterior is available in an array of headturning colours like Lemonade, Jalapeno and Salsa. Techno Pink is also included in the mix for those who fancy this kind of hue.
Itís a four-seater, five-door hatch with a silhouette inspired by a coupe. The rear door handles are integrated into the C-pillar area to play up on this attribute. But be careful when accessing the back seats. Since the roofline is somewhat sloped, youíll need to watch your head upon entry.
With its two-tier grille, complete with golden bowtie up front and a perky rear end complete with an integrated spoiler, itís a vehicle that isnít hard on the eyes.
And even if youíre not gung-ho on its styling, its practicality might just win you over.
As mentioned, thereís room for four inside. Other mini cars in the segment either seat two or have limited room for four.
Is the back seat functional? Yes, it is. Even with occupants in the back, thereís generous storage capacity. Behind the rear seats, thereís 11.4 cubic feet of cargo volume.
Flip the 60/40 split/fold seats down, and thereís an impressive 31.2 cubic feet.
Inside, youíll also find a motorcycle-inspired column-mounted instrument cluster that features a large, full-colour LCD screen. Itís quite cool. And for those who opt for the 1LT trim, your centre stack will be graced with a Chevrolet MyLink Touch, a seven-inch, touch-screen infotainment system. It includes an AM/FM stereo, a digital clock, Bluetooth, streaming audio and more. Should you want to outfit it on the base LS version, thatís definitely an option.
Room for four and decent cargo space: where do you go from here? Well, to the safety department. The Spark includes 10 standard airbags, regardles of which trim is best suited to your needs.
Standard features also include four-wheel anti-lock brakes, electric power steering and StabiliTrak stability control system with traction control and brake assist, to name just a few.
Powering this tiny people mover is a1.2-litre four-cylinder engine which can either be matched to the standard five-speed manual or the optional four-speed automatic transmission. With an output of 84 horsepower and 83 foot-pounds of torque, itís nothing to get too excited about. Then again, those looking for a trusty urban commuter arenít necessarily looking for a herd of horses under the hood. Instead, theyíd like a vehicle that has a tight turning radius ó which it does ó and impressive fuel-economy results.
Again, put a checkmark there. Its estimated fuel consumption in the city (with the manual transmission) is 6.3 litres per 100 km and 5.1L/100 km on the highway.
Speaking of highway driving, yes, itís capable of that! And not to worry; you wonít get blown over. At higher speeds, the Spark has a solid feel for a car of its stature.
There is a bit of wind noise that comes through the cabin, but itís not detrimental to its overall package.
Turning up the volume on the stereo system helps drown it out.
Overall,Chevroletís tiniest vehicle in North America might not necessarily be the most impressive on paper, but it has a fun-loving personality, can fit into just about any city centre parking spot, and comes standard with some great safety features.
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