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2017 Chevrolet Spark Overview
After a hefty redesign for 2016, which included a new, shorter chassis, a peppier powerplant, and updated technology, the second-generation Chevrolet Spark is slated to carry over pretty much unchanged for the 2017 model year. That being said, you can probably expect several new exterior colors and a reworked dashboard on the 2017 variant when it begins showing up in dealerships during the third quarter of this year.
Look for this 5-door 4-passenger subcompact hatchback to return in 3 trims: the base LS, the midlevel 1LT, and the top-shelf 2LT. All trims are offered only with front-wheel drive (FWD). The lower, sleeker stance resulting from the 2016 makeover leaves the Spark with even less rear-seat legroom and cargo area: even with the split-folding rear seatbacks down, the 2017 Spark offers a mere 27.2 cubic feet of cargo space. The good news is that the Spark's rear seats fold down flatter than in most rival hatchbacks in this class.
In 2016, Chevy announced that the Spark would be offered in a tough-guy BeatActive variant and a sedan version called the Essentia, but there has so far been no further word regarding either of these. It should also be noted that the all-electric Spark EV seems destined for deletion after the current versions are sold out.
As mentioned, there will be 5 new exterior color schemes on the 2017 Spark: Red Hot, Mosaic Black, Nightfall Gray, Brimstone, and Mint (late availability on those last two). Also new is a restyled dashboard configuration that incorporates trapezoidal air vents in place of the current round vents.
The 2017 Spark will pack the model's current 1.4-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine, which was up-powered for 2016 with an additional 14 ponies for a current total of 98 hp. A 5-speed manual transmission comes standard and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) optional, both managing a somewhat weak 94 lb-ft of torque. The silver lining to this tepid grunt factor is that you can probably bypass most gas stations, with mileage estimated at 30 mpg city/41 highway/34 combined using the manual, or 31/41/35 with the CVT.
While the 2017 Spark may not impress with its size, it does distinguish itself with a comparatively generous outfit of standard features. Look for such amenities as 15-inch alloy wheels, a rear spoiler, a tilt-only steering wheel, manual air conditioning, and a rear-view camera to return from the current edition, while higher trims offer standard leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, full power accessories, roof rails, and rear parking sensors.
Where this tiny hatchback really shines, however, is in its technology features. All 2017 Spark trims are slated to include GM’s Bluetooth-integrated OnStar directions and connections feature and 4G LTE WiFi capability via a 7-inch touchscreen display. Higher trims will add standard smartphone apps (Android Auto, Apple CarPlay). Entertainment aboard each 2017 Spark is expected to include a CD/MP3 player interfaced with GM’s MyLink infotainment system. The entry-level LS is scheduled to return with 4 speakers, while the 1LT and 2LT will each boast 6 speakers and satellite radio.
Only the LT really offers any options beyond the transmission, and these options are limited to a power sunroof and some added safety technology.
In terms of safety, the 2017 Spark should feature standard 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front side-mounted airbags, front and rear head-protection airbags, daytime running lights, OnStar emergency telematics, and a post-collision safety system. Expect both LT editions to additionally sport standard front fog/driving lights and optional lane-keeping assistance and forward collision alert.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the current Spark 4 out of 5 stars for overall crashworthiness. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awards the current Spark its best score of Good in all tests other than the small-overlap frontal-offset, in which this subcompact hatchback gained a second-best score of Acceptable. This Acceptable rating actually makes the Spark one of only a few vehicles in its class to score so well in this recently instituted IIHS test category.
Have Laptop. Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.
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