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2015 Chevrolet Spark Overview
Chevrolet's little friend enters 2015 with an air of anticipation, but no reported changes—yet. The rumor mill abounds with news about the next-generation Spark set for a worldwide debut next year, which includes our version even though it's only been here for 3 years now, but there's no official word on anything changing for 2015.
The Chevrolet Beat—as it is known overseas—is an aging model, however, having been around the block there since 2009. Sales here need no help whatsoever, as they're out-pacing company forecasts by as much as 35%, but Chevrolet is reportedly interested in syncing all of its markets at once. That said, all we know for sure at this point is that the style will get an update on a new chassis without any solid news on what engines might make it to U.S. markets, let alone features.
As it stands right now, the Spark's surprisingly substantial feel is one of its high points. For a budget subcompact hatchback, the Spark neither rides nor looks much like the "budget" part of its class. Year after year drivers comment on its fun yet predictable driving character, excellent fuel economy, easy-to-use interior technologies, remarkable passenger space and above-class accessibility with nary a complaint.
To be sure there are far more powerful engines in subcompacts these days, but the Spark differs in its ability to handle everything its engine can put out without any jerky surprises. Its little 1.2-liter 4-banger musters only 84 hp and 83 lb-ft of torque, but that's plenty to propel the Spark up 60 mph in a very class-competitive 10.5 seconds. You won't find another equally priced subcompact with similar performance, but spend a few grand more and you might get a second shaved off that time.
Front-wheel drive is obligatory, but that simplified drivetrain with its 5-speed manual transmission needs only 31 mpg city/39 highway for all that giddy-up, or 30/39 with the optional continuously variable transmission (CVT). Here again, you'll be hard-pressed to find similar figures for the same price, but none of those options would drive nearly as well as the Spark.
Offering room for 4 passengers and 11.4 cubic feet for cargo with all seats upright or 31.2 cubes otherwise, the Spark is almost as utilitarian as Honda's Fit, but the Spark's rear bench isn't quite as magical—flipping the cushions and removing the headrests still gets only a relatively flat cargo area. It's still better than the FIAT 500 in both rear elbow room and cargo capacity, but the FIAT's back seat might be easier to flatten.
Features in the base LS are both surprising and Spartan, including OnStar and a digital multifunction display by default, but little else. Expect to opt up to the 1LT for features like cruise control, power-adjustable mirrors, steering-wheel-mounted controls and a 6-speaker stereo with USB, iPod, satellite radio and Internet radio connectivity. The 2LT tops out the range with features like roof rails and heated front seats, but none of the trims can opt for anything—not features in other trims, and nothing extra either.
Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.