An itty-bitty 1.2-liter four-cylinder generates 85 horsepower and is likely the smallest engine ever to wear the Bowtie badge; five-speed manual transmission complemented by continuously variable transmission.
Kudos to General Motors on figuring the U.S. market was mature enough to appreciate a well-built microcar instead of leaving the Spark for other markets. The littlest Chevy’s boxy design helps it deliver an impressive level of usable volume in the least amount of space, which is perfect for city dwellers. The car is nearly six inches taller than a Mini Cooper, but is slightly shorter overall and has less distance between the front and rear wheels. With the rear seat in place, you’ll find only minimal stowage in back, but accommodating life’s bulky items is just a split-folding-rear-bench away. The rear door handles have been cleverly integrated as part of the window frame, giving the car a two-door appearance. Up-level Sparks come with added visual enhancements, including rocker-panel moldings, roof rails and chrome trim. Inside, the single-pod speedometer, adjacent tachometer/fuel gauge plus a trio of temperature and ventilation control knobs are done up in a contemporary style. A seven-inch touch-screen operating the audio, navigation and hands-free communications systems can also be added. In keeping with the Spark’s modest transportation role, a 1.2-liter four-cylinder generates an equally modest 85 horsepower and 82 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a continually variable transmission, which is both efficient and nippy, is optional. In fact, fuel economy figures between the manual and the CVT are essentially identical. The standard-feature list includes air conditioning, power windows, ambient interior lighting, front disc brakes and 10 airbags, including knee protection for both front occupants. On the options list is remote keyless entry, leather-like seat covers, heated front seats, alloy wheels and a premium audio package. The only new touch for 2015 is an OnStar-based mobile internet Wi-Fi hotspot, with a three-month subscription thrown in for free.