Chevrolet wasn’t about to let Toyota, Daimler and Fiat have the mini market all to themselves. To that end, Chevrolet has unveiled the Spark, a minicar at the New York Auto Show, which will start at $12,995.
New old model
It has been known for awhile that Chevrolet is releasing a city car called the Spark in 2012. The car, according to AutoBlog, has just been unveiled at the New York Auto Show.
Chevrolet has been selling the car all over the world for more than a decade. It started life in 1998, according to Wikipedia, as the Daewoo Matiz, and has been sold everywhere except Canada and the U.S., though under a variety of names including the Daewoo and Chevrolet Matiz, Pontiac Matiz G2 and Pontiac G2. In Australia, it’s called the Holden Barina Spark, part of the Barina line which is sold as the Sonic in the U.S.
The Spark goes on sale this fall at $12,995 for the base model.
Stocked for price
All models have the same engine and a five-speed manual transmission. A four-speed automatic can be added for $925. The 1.2-liter four-cylinder variable-valve timing engine, according to AutoWeek, produces 85 horsepower. According to Holden Motors, GM’s Australian brand, the 1.2-liter engine with a five-speed manual is good for 5.5 liters per 100 kilometers, or almost 43 miles per gallon.
The base trim, according to Inside Line, is called LS. Power windows are standard, as is an input port for media devices, 10 air bags, electronic stability and traction control along with a brake assist system. It also includes six free months of OnStar coverage.
The 1LT trim adds a 7-inch touchscreen center console with Chevrolet’s MyLink suite, BlueTooth, a USB port, Sirius Radio with three free months and power door locks, remote keyless entry, cruise control and an anti-theft system. The upgrade tacks on an extra $2,000.
The 2LT trim at $15,795 adds leatherette seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a different body kit.
According to the Chicago Tribune, buyers can choose Salsa, Jalapeno, Techno Pink, Lemonade or Denim paint. Buyers can also upgrade to Black Granite for $195.
The problem with pint size
The Spark, at $12,995, is cheaper than the base models of the Scion IQ and Fiat 500. The Smart Pure Coupe is $500 cheaper, though it seats only two. If it gets 40 miles per gallon or better, it beats them all.
However, the issue with mini cars is that slightly larger subcompacts offer similar mileage, more interior and cargo room and cost about the same. For instance, the Kia Rio sedan is only $500 more than the Spark before destination fee and gets 40 mpg. The Hyundai Accent costs $500 more, before destination charge, and also gets 40 mpg. The Nissan Versa sedan is $2,000 cheaper, before the destination charge, and gets 36 mpg with the standard manual, but up to 38 mpg with a continuously-variable automatic, an option for an extra $2,200.
Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/classified/automotive/sns-2013-chevrolet-spark-starts-at-12200-20120405,0,5336564.story
Holden Motors: http://www.holden.com.au/vehicles/barina-spark/efficiency