2016 Chevrolet Spark

Chevy lit a fire underneath its miniature!

"A different story to be told about the all-new Spark…"

"Greet the enhanced 100 hp minicar!"

"The new Spark is a far better car than the previous generation," said Issam.

The new Spark debuted at the 2015 New York auto show, and, like I wrote in my title, everything's relative; compared with the old Spark, this new one has been considerably enhanced. It was a bit out of context when I took the new Spark from IMPEX, official distributor of Chevrolet in Lebanon, to compare it with my daily drive, the Camaro (lookswise), hehe!

First, like the last Spark, the majority of this new model's design and engineering work took place at GM's technical center in South Korea. Second, many of you will at first glance compare it to Korean vehicles like the Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto, etc. Honestly speaking, the car has a bigger engine and offers more options than the i10 and the Picanto. I would rather put it side by side with the Nissan Micra.

The front grille is the latest iteration of the "dual-port", Chevy's latest tradition, but it's more vertical than the wedge-shaped front of the old Spark. Short accent lines across the sides break up the shape, and the taillight lenses project from the body to add additional visual attention.

Driving impressions
How does it drive? Astonishingly well, and not just for a miniature car. Handling is steady, and believe it or not, the 100 horsepower makes it a quick car around Lebanese traffic. In terms of comfort (during the whole weekend I did almost 400 kilometers), I didn't feel any back pain. The seats were great, and it was easy for me (1.81 meters tall) to get relaxed. Around the city the Spark is right at home. However, the CVT (transmission) could be a bit lumpy when demanding, and it's hard to figure out how much acceleration I had to give, based on throttle location.

Here is my genuine opinion: the all-new 2016 Chevrolet Spark is well built, and even though it's fairly clear when you look closely that it's an economy car, it avoids the Mirage's container-can feel. The bright green Spark (that I saw in the showroom, our tester was a white one) rode well during my weekend driving around the Lebanese coast and mountainous roads. Engine and road noise were there, but not domineering, at highway speeds. If you want more than an automotive machine with a nice features list, the new 2016 Spark is quite interesting. The Spark is available in three trims in Lebanon: LS Manual ($12,900 on the road), LS CVT ($14,600 on the road), and LT CVT ($17,400 on the road).

Pros: Male-oriented exterior design, fits four adults, MyLink infotainment, safety features, bigger engine, interior with softer surfaces, good fuel economy
Cons: No automatic window down for the driver, manual doors - unlocking when getting out of the car
Rivals: Nissan Micra, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Grand i10, Ford Fiesta

1.4 L, 4-cylinders, 100 hp @ 6200 rpm, 128 Nm @ 4,400 rpm
CVT (continuously variable-speed automatic), FWD
0-100 km/h: 10.8 secs, top speed: 170 km/h, fuel consumption (CVT): 7-7.84 L/100km
Weight: 1,044 kg
One word: miniature
4.5 stars

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