Oddly, the Chevrolet Spark’s problems aren’t self-inflicted. Okay, some of them are. The Spark’s headlamps are outrageously disproportionate. The upright body, necessary in order to find adequate passenger space in a car that’s only twelve feet long, makes it ripe for cow tipping.
Some of the colours Chevrolet has chosen to offer – Techno Pink and Lemonade in particular – are downright offensive. And the Chevrolet Groove Concept with which the Spark’s concept predecessor competed appeared to have greater stylistic potential, so in the Groove’s shadow, the production Spark has always been a bit of a letdown.
One would assume that complaints about the 83-horsepower 1.2L four-cylinder would be front and centre in a derisive post like this. Indeed, the Spark’s power-to-weight ratio is worse than the Scion iQ’s, worse than the smart fortwo’s, as well.
But the Spark’s dreadful design and weak engine aren’t what landed the littlest Chevrolet in the 2013 edition of The Bad 8. Chevrolet’s own Sonic did that.
A basic Sonic 5-door is only $1000 USD more than a mid-grade Spark. The Sonic has 55 more horsepower and is widely regarded as one of the best-driving subcompacts on the market. The Sonic hatchback has 5% more passenger volume, 67% more cargo capacity with the seats up, 53% more cargo capacity with the rear seats folded, 7% more shoulder room in the rear seat, and 7% more hip room up front.
What reason is there to buy a Spark? Fuel economy?
Nope. Depending on engine and transmission, the Sonic can actually be more fuel efficient, the EPA says. More likely than not, because you won’t be driving it like you stole it just to keep up with traffic – as you would in the Spark – even the least efficient Sonic will end up being about as miserly as the most efficient Spark.
With no redeeming features, it’s hard to think of a reason for any buyer to accept the sacrifices a Spark inflicts.
Alternatives: You’ve read the above paragraphs, right? The freakin’ five-door Chevrolet Sonic is the key alternative, for goodness’ sake. Or the Kia Rio 5-door, a Good 12 winner.
Base USD/CAD Price: $12,245 / $11,845
It Sucks, But… For a car of this size there’s a shocking amount of space inside.
Sales Stats: It’s too early to adequately gauge Canada’s reaction to the Spark. In the United States, Chevrolet is selling way more Sparks than analysts expected.