Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sneak Peek: 2013 Chevrolet Spark

Do you like mini cars? This category includes the Smart Fortwo as well some more recent additions including the Fiat 500 and the Scion iQ. A fourth model has joined the fray this year, Chevrolet's Spark, a 2013 model that is short on stature and big on value, just the sort of car that first-time car buyers may want. Let's take a look at the newest car in the Chevrolet model range and whether the Spark is right for you.

Spark Essentials

First things first -- just what is the Spark? Well, it is a four-seat model that looks like a three-door, but is actually a five-door model with a hatchback. This model features vibrant colors and is built in Korea, by GM's manufacturing plant there.

The Chevy Spark comes surprisingly well-equipped for a car that is priced from $12,995. Standard equipment includes a segment-leading 10 airbags, air conditioning, an audio system, four upholders, two bottle holders, a rear window defogger and a rear cargo lamp. This model also comes with GM's OnStar Directions and Connections plan, offering a 6-month subscription for no charge. A power outlet, a tilt steering wheel column, storage compartments and a tire pressure monitoring system are included. Yes, power windows are also standard.

Engine and Transmission

Under the hood, this model is powered by a 1.2-liter four cylinder engine that makes 84 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 83 foot pounds of torque at 4,200 rpm. GM pairs this engine with a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy ranges from 28 mpg city, 32 mpg highway for the automatic to 32 mpg city, 38 mpg highway for manual.

The Spark sits on 15-inch all-season tires and is outfitted with sporty five-split spoke silver painted aluminum wheels or machined gray painted wheels. Four-channel anti-lock brakes with brake assist, electronic stability control and hill start assist are among the safety features offered.

Spark Dimensions

Tiny on the outside, the Spark makes good use of interior room offering ample head and leg room and up to 31.2 cubic feet of cargo room. This model sits on a 93.5-inch wheelbase and measures 144.7 inches long by 62.9 inches wide. With a curb weight from 2,237 pounds it is also one of the lightest models on the market.

Will the Chevy Spark rock your world? It could if you like tiny cars and have a budget limited to a vehicle costing $15,000 or less. The Spark is yet another mini car in a segment that is barely getting noticed, but may get a much needed boost from a car that is cute, affordable and comes equipped with GM's reliable Ecotec engine technology.

Matthew C. Keegan is a freelance automotive writer. Matt is also a contributing writer for Andy's Auto Sport and affiliated websites, an aftermarket supplier of quality auto parts including Pro Comp Lifts and Spec Clutch.

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