Perky Chevy Spark sets sights on youthToronto — Since its launch in South Korea in 2009, followed by rollouts throughout the rest of Asia, plus Europe, South America, Australia and Africa, General Motors has sold more than 600,000 Chevrolet Sparks. The automaker is now going to find out if the subcompact hatchback will fly in Canada and the United States.
It won’t be sold on its scintillating power!
With the exception of the Smart fortwo, I don’t think I’ve driven a sub-100-horsepower car since I dropped off my trusty, rusty 1989 Toyota Tercel beater at the scrapyard almost a decade ago. Yet, under the hood of the diminutive five-door hatchback — at 3,675 millimetres long, the Spark is slightly longer than a Fiat 500 and significantly longer (by 600-plus mm) than the Scion iQ — beats an equally tiny Ecotec 1.25-litre DOHC four-cylinder engine delivering a mere 84 horsepower. A tiny track terror this isn’t. But, as inter-urban transportation, it is perky.
And that’s the thing. GM says it is targeting young, first-time buyers and city dwellers, counting on the Spark’s “bold” styling and colours, affordability, safety (10 standard air bags), fuel efficiency and manoeuvrability to rack up the sales. Performance is not high on the list.
Unlike some other subcompacts such as the Mini Cooper and the Fiat 500, the Spark has no historical reference t