ReviewChevrolet Spark hatchback
Price: £8,475 - £10,695 Prices & Specifications3.9 /5
Spacious interior for car's size
Higher spec models have lots of kit
Easy to drive around town
Engines are noisy on the motorway
Cheap interior plastics
Small boot compared to rivals
"The Chevrolet Spark has a roomy interior and plenty of standard equipment, but the cabin feels cheap. Rivals offer similar space and are more entertaining to drive."
The Chevrolet Spark is a big step forward when you compare it to the Matiz which it replaced. The bold nose and angular shape is designed to appeal to younger buyers, but in reality the Spark looks fussy compared to rivals such as the Hyundai i10. Power comes from a choice of two petrol engines - 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre - and both can return more than 55mpg. Considering how small the Spark is, passenger space is good, but the boot is small. And while the cabin looks smart, the hard, shiny plastics that it's made from feel cheap.
Engines need to be worked hard
Light controls mean the Chevrolet Spark is easy to drive around town and it feels eager in stop-start traffic. But venture out of town, and the car's shortcomings become clear. Both engines need to be revved to make the most of what little power is on offer, and they are noisy when doing so. Braking is another minus point, as the Spark takes longer to stop than its rivals.
It's not as composed as some rivals
The large windscreen means there's a clear view of the road ahead, and the driver's seat is adjustable for height. The suspension does a decent job of soaking up bumps, but the Spark isn't as comfortable as some rivals. There's lots of body roll in corners, and the noise from the engine is unpleasant at motorway speeds. The steering wheel of the 1.0 model isn't tilt adjustable, which makes it harder to get comfortable at the wheel.
Five-year warranty brings peace of mind
The Spark was launched in 2010, so it's too early to judge how well the car will last. It should be a lot better than the Matiz it replaced, though, which scored poor marks for reliability in the JD Power survey. All Chevrolets come with a five-year/100,000 mile warranty, which will give added peace of mind.
Cabin is roomy, but boot falls short
You can fit four adults in the Spark with space to spare. Passengers in the back will feel a little claustrophobic, though, because the rear windows are small. Boot space is a major let-down, as the car's 170-litre capacity trails the Hyundai i10's 225-litre boot. The rear bench splits and folds to create more space, though.
Value for money4.2 /5
You get lots for your money, but rivals are cheaper
Go for the entry-level 1.0, and you only get a 2-speaker stereo and basic steel wheels, but spend a little extra on an LS model, and you instantly add air conditioning, an MP3 player connection, central locking and electric front windows. Top-spec LT versions have a generous amount of kit, including climate control, electric mirrors, a trip computer and steering wheel mounted controls for the stereo. However, the LT is quite expensive compared to rivals of a similar specification. All cars get six airbags, but electronic stability control is an option on all bar the flagship LT.
Running costs4.7 /5
Cheap insurance, while petrol engines are economical
There are two four-cylinder petrol engines to choose from, a 1.0 and a 1.2, but no diesel option. However, unless you're doing lots of motorway driving, a car of this size doesn't really need a diesel, and both petrol units have the same official combined fuel economy figure of 55.4mpg and emissions of 119g/km. Insurance categories range from group 1 for the 1.0, up to group 6 for the 1.2 LT.
What the others say
Auto Express 2.0 /5.0
Under the bonnet, thereis a choice of 1.0 or 1.2-litre four-cylinder petrol engines, both mated to five-speed manual gearboxes. The smaller of the two is more impressive, offering better refinement at the top end – an area of the rev range you’ll become familiar with, thanks to the unit's peppy power delivery.
Parker's 3.5 /5.0
The funky-looking Chevrolet Spark is the replacement for the Matiz, but it's a huge step forward in terms of comfort and quality. Like the car it replaces, it's a five-door that's designed to carry four adults and is ideal for city and town driving with light steering. But there are few other similarities with the Matiz. For starters, the Spark is very distinctive and bold, while inside it has a neatly styled cabin, which although not especially sophisticated, is a big improvement in terms of comfort and refinement.
What Car? 3.0 /5.0
There are two engines to choose from, and both the 1.0- and 1.2-litre petrol-powered units have four cylinders, whereas some rivals make do with three. Neither is particularly strong, but they have just enough pep to keep up with city traffic and, as long as you're prepared to rev them hard, motorway driving isn't too challenging.