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2016 Chevrolet Spark Overview

James Flammang
Contributing Editor - January 19, 2016

Chevrolet launched its smallest, lowest-priced vehicle for the 2013 model year. Developed as a leader in fuel economy and urban agility, the initial Spark came in five-door hatchback form with an 84-horsepower engine. Redesigning for 2016 includes a boost in engine size and output, as well as dimensional changes and new large, elliptical headlights. Although it looks considerably different from typical Chevrolet products, the Spark offers many of the technical and convenience features found in its bigger siblings.

What's New for 2016

Modestly redesigned for the 2016 model year, the subcompact Spark gets a slightly longer wheelbase. Overall height is about 1.6 inches lower than before, which is said to reduce aerodynamic drag. Moving the hip point of the seats maintains the “generous” headroom of its predecessor, according to Chevrolet. Under the hood, a new 1.4-liter engine replaces the earlier 1.2-liter four-cylinder, boosting horsepower by 16 percent. Enhanced MyLink infotainment offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. Active-safety features are available, including forward collision alert, lane-departure warning, and blind-spot alert.

Chevrolet Spark

Choosing Your Chevrolet Spark

Unlike most competitors in the minicar class, the Spark has four doors and a rear hatch, and can seat four passengers in reasonable comfort. The new 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine develops an estimated 98 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, but a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) is optional.

Fuel economy with the CVT is estimated at 31 mpg in city driving and 41 mpg on the highway (35 mpg combined). Manual shift drops the city figure to 30 mpg. The previous CVT-equipped Spark delivered 30/39 mpg (city/highway), or 34 mpg in combined driving.

The manual-shift Spark starts at $12,660 (plus destination charge), which makes it a bargain even for the minicar class. You get a fair amount of standard equipment for that price, but the Spark becomes significantly more livable if you step up from the base model.

Chevrolet again offers the Spark in three trim levels:

LS

Entry-level trim includes the basics, such as air conditioning, power windows, a split-folding rear seat, Bluetooth phone connectivity and streaming audio, tilt steering column, and 15-inch steel wheels. The AM/FM radio has a 7-inch touchscreen, USB port, auxiliary jack, and four-speaker sound system. You also get automatic headlights, OnStar with 4G LTE and an available built-in wi-fi hotspot, and a rearview camera, which are nice standard touches for this class. Floor mats used to cost extra, but now they’re included. Windows are manually-operated, but ten airbags are standard.

1LT

Fills out the Spark feature list with power door locks and windows, heated mirrors, six-speaker audio, cruise control, foglamps, a chrome-surround grille, remote keyless entry, steering-wheel controls, and 15-inch alloy wheels.

2LT

Interior upgrades include leatherette seat trim, heated reclining high-back front seats, pushbutton start, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The exterior receives sportier front and rear trim, as well as chrome door handles. Rear parking assist also is standard.

A Driver Confidence Package, optional only for 2LT with the CVT, includes forward collision alert and a lane-departure warning.

CarsDirect Tip

There's a $3,700 difference between the bottom and top of the line, which is significant for this price class. We recommend taking the middle ground with a 1LT, which offers just about everything most buyers expect in a new car -- especially a mini-sized model. Note that the CVT adds $1,100 to the price. If you enjoy shifting for yourself, sticking with the manual gearbox is an easy way to save dollars. For those who’d rather omit the manual gear-changing, a CVT is well worth the extra cost.

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Chevrolet Spark Rear Quarter

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