Here’s an amazing statistic: By 2050, 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. That means the way we live, commute, get around, haul stuff, get our kids to school, get our groceries home and escape to the country will change. And where will we ever park the Suburban?
This quandary is something the automakers have been thinking about for a while: nearly every automaker has designed and introduced a car for city dwellers. The latest one is from Chevy: The Spark.
A City Car Built for Four
Plenty of leg room for my travel companion, 6 'tall John Ringwald
We got a chance to drive the Spark recently and loved many things about it; its designers thought about how people would use the car, including places to charge your devices, room for groceries, fold down seats for hauling stuff, and where to put your handbag (in the door panel or between the front seats). The car’s interior features many options that typically come with more expensive--or luxury--cars, including a media console, hands free Bluetooth for the phone, heated seats, power everything, six speakers, and more. They also thought about how people get around: in groups. So the car has four doors (well, five really, if you count the rear hatch) and comfortably seats four adults.
Built for the Tech Addict
YAY: My handbag fits nicely (and looks good!) between the front seats
The Spark was designed with younger drivers in mind--those who might be more focused on the car’s novel design, technology and sound system than its size or cargo space. But, it includes enough clever touches that it will also satisfy older drivers. And all of us who are addicted to our smartphones will love this car: central to the design of the car is the MyLink system which integrates many of your phone’s operations into the media console. In addition to being able to run Pandora or Stitcher through the car’s six speakers, you can load in your phone contacts, sync your phone for hands-free Bluetooth use, and upload photos and movies; the implication is that Chevrolet will add more apps to the system in the future.
A Novel Way to Navigate
Among the things Chevy rethought was the Spark’s Navigation. Rather than installing software on the car, it’s a phone app: BringGo is a separate one-time $50 app purchase, which is cheaper than most navigation options on other cars. Then, the app updates with your phone so you always have the most current maps and real time traffic. The downside is that it runs through your phone: You have to have your phone for navigation, and it operates through your data plan. Though Chevy pledged sensitivity to this issue and has tried to make system speedy so it’s not too damaging to your monthly phone bill (your Pandora, use, however, they can’t help).