When shopping for a new car, many people are fairly concerned about the cost. In fact, the price can be a major factor in choosing a new car. Since car prices have skyrocketed through the years, like just about everything else we purchase, it has become even more difficult to find a car that looks decent, is reasonably comfortable, runs well, and wears a modest price tag. As we all know, there’s more to the cost of a car than just the initial purchase price; you also need to account for gas, oil, other fluids, maintenance, insurance, tires, and other expenses. So, choosing a car with a modest purchase price is important when you look at the big picture of car ownership. This is where the 2018 Chevrolet Spark comes into play.
Introducing the Affordable Spark
Chevrolet’s new Spark is the smallest car of the Chevrolet lineup. It starts somewhere around $14,000. Even though it is very small – it’s classified as a subcompact – it has a surprising number of tech features also found in larger cars. The Spark seats up to four adults comfortably, more or less. Those in the front seats will agree with this statement more than those in the rear; head room is sufficient, but the leg room leaves a little something to be desired.
Surprisingly Good Tech and Infotainment
For a very small car, the infotainment center is surprisingly good, especially on the middle and highest trim levels. Speaking of trim levels, there are three: the base LS, the mid 1LT, and the top 2LT. While some complained that early versions of the Spark looked like a toy car, the latest version looks more like a mini car than it did during the first few years. The instrument gauges are conventional in style and have a small screen display between them. A 7-inch touchscreen is the focal point of the center stack and displays the MyLink infotainment system.
Under the Hood
Powered by Chevrolet’s smallest engine the Spark uses the 1.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine which has 98 horsepower and is not likely to win any speed contests. Thanks to its miniature size, this auto averages around 33 mpg combined when paired with either the 5-speed manual transmission or the continuously variable automatic (CVT). For safety, the Spark is filled with 10 (count ‘em!) airbags. Parking the Spark is a breeze, thanks to its small size.
Other Interior Amenities
Although basic, the interior is decent with its fabric seat upholstery and cushioned foam, putting it at least on par with other cars in its class, if not a cut above. Its one serious flaw is that the air conditioning is hard-pressed to keep the car’s interior cool enough to be comfortable in hot weather. The MyLink infotainment center is likely to be considered one of the Spark’s best features. It includes OnStar with 4G LTE connectivity, Bluetooth capability, and a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot.
The mid-level Spark 1LT adds power windows and locks that the base LS lacks. It also has audio controls on the steering wheel, SiriusXM satellite radio, cruise control, keyless entry, and a theft-deterrence system. The top trim level, the 2LT, has a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear park assist, an upgraded digital display on the dash with driver information, and a dab of exterior chrome. An optional sunroof can be added to either LT model.