WITH so many small cars on the market these days it is refreshing to encounter a city car which is more than just another runner in the overall scheme of things.
The Spark is Chevrolet’s replacement for the Matiz which spent some years under the flag of Daewoo. But, since becoming part of General Motor’s new world initiative which opened up with the Cruze, the Spark is now the second truly global Chevrolet car, bridging the gap between city car and supermini.
GM points out that the Spark is bold, lively and fresh with plenty of urban appeal - a small car that thinks big.
In fact, the Chevrolet Spark is yet another example of today’s car makers’ design ability to make the most of available space and deliver a larger than average interior with a good amount of stowage areas.
It is said to be one of the most space-efficient cars in the mini segment and much of the Spark’s interior space is down to clever design with a longer than average wheelbase allowing the designers to reduce cabin intrusion and allow as much space as possible between the axles.
Luggage space weighs in at 170 litres with the rear seat in place while it also splits 60:40 to fold flat, thus increasing the overall stowage area to 568 litres.
In addition there is much supplementary storage space, the centre console incorporating a bin for carrying smaller items such as a mobile phone while a double cup/drinks holder is conveniently sited by the gear lever.
A generously sized glovebox also features in the manifest while seat back pockets have been designed to accommodate books, road atlases or laptop computers. Door bin pockets on both sides of the car have storage for a 500ml drinks bottle.
There are also some neat convenience features such as an auxiliary power socket in the lower instrument panel, overhead assist grips on the front passenger and rear doors plus padded sun visors and even a ticket holder on the driver’s side.
The Spark is the smallest member of the Chevrolet family and driven here is the range topping LT model which I found a surprisingly easy rider.
The 1.2-litre petrol engine paired with a five-speed manual gear change gave a particularly good performance around town, while returning over 50mpg.
However, the engine does need to be worked hard on the motorway and the lack of a stop/start facility limits fuel consumption and CO2 returns.
Nevertheless the Spark does ride in much better fashion than some of the competition and, while benefiting from a high driving position with good visibility, this model does have the necessary acoutrements to stand out from the crowd.
Chevrolet Spark 1.2 LT
Mechanical: 79bhp, 1,206cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 102mph
0-62mph: 12.1 seconds
Combined mpg: 55
Insurance group: 6
CO2 emissions: 119g/km
BiK rating: 10%
Warranty: 5yrs/100,000 miles