On the other hand, BringGo is a $50 GPS navigation app on your smartphone (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry) that links up to that screen via MyLink. It gives you turn-by-turn directions on its attractive maps, as well as points of interest data and traffic data which you can view right on the Spark's screen.
Neat. But does it work?
BringGo App is Almost Ready
So far, BringGo works well enough for me to see its value. When I tested it, it wasn't able to do its magic via Bluetooth, but I was able to connect an iPhone to one of the Spark's USB outlets to make it work. After a bit of fiddling, BringGo's display was mirrored on the car's screen. Its pleasant navigation voice played nicely with music I had playing in the car, with the music fading to allow me to hear its next direction.
It was fast with its directional instructions, too, and responsive enough to give me ample notice when there was a turn coming up, keeping me from making any frantic last-second turns or lane changes.
I liked the way BringGo let me enter an address from anywhere. Then I could hop into the Spark and have full control of those same directions from the car's big screen. That touchscreen is not quite as responsive as an iPhone's, but the BringGo app shows up on the screen exactly as it looks on the iPhone. I could get used to this.
Because everything BringGo does runs through the smartphone, you'll need to keep an eye on your cellular data totals for the month. While the map data resides on the smartphone, you'll be using cellular data when you call up one of the points of interest (POI) such as the nearest gas station, or access traffic data. However, if you're worried about using too much data, BringGo lets you know when you're downloading via your cellular connection.
Having your navigation system on your smartphone, instead of built into the car, is an excellent idea. I have a 2006 Honda Civic with a built-in navigation system, an option for which I paid upwards of $1,500 when I bought the car new. Now, six years later, that nav system is starting to look like it belongs in a museum, and Honda charges $149 for an annual map update.
If I had a navigation app on my smartphone that I could view on the car's screen, it would be more likely to stay up-to-date, no matter how long I owned the car.
And then there's the lower overall cost: $50 for an iPhone app sounds a lot better than $1,500 for a navigation system that will soon become obsolete. There's the price of smartphone integration in the car itself, but even with it, the Chevy Spark is still a low-priced car.
This bodes well for the future of the Spark, where its tight handling, super brakes, 10 airbags and roomy interior will soon be pushed along by a 130 hp electric motor that has almost as much torque (400 lb-ft for gearheads) as a Corvette. The company says the electric version of the Spark will be available next summer in California and South Korea (and in a few dealerships in Oregon and Canada), costing about $32,500 in the U.S. before you receive the $7,500 tax incentive for electric cars.
That price takes the electro-Spark out of the same bargain category as the conventional version, but could result in a terrific combination of brisk acceleration and the convenience of displaying smartphone apps on-screen. We can't wait to drive it.
In the meantime, this internal combustion version of the 2013 Chevy Spark is a delight to drive. Even in its most expensive trim, it's a tremendous value for those of us who'd like to bring our own apps along for the ride.