2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT

Though Chevy refers to it as a mini car – that burgeoning new genre of minuscule city vehicles – it has enough passenger and cargo room for the EPA to classify it as a subcompact.  And for those shopping this segment, the fact that the Spark offers more people space than a Ford Fiesta and as much as three times the luggage volume as its main minicompact competitors, has got to be draw.  The Spark is kind of a tweener, living life somewhere happily in the middle and it possesses many attractive qualities. The EPA gives this Spark with a 5-speed manual a 34mpg combined rating which makes it the best in the subcompact class.  With a starting MSRP of $12,995 it’s one of the least expensive cars available and if a diminutive foot print is most important to you, say for the sake of city parking, the Spark is a perfect fit.  Chevy says the Spark is ideal for first time car buyers and city dwellers and I can see its benefits to both groups.

Where the Spark excels as a mini car is in its adult usable rear seats…yes, there’s plenty of head room and enough leg room…ample width so you’re not arm-in-arm with another passenger and over 31 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seats folded.  And you’ve got to hand it Chevy for giving the Spark as much style as car this size can handle with a sneaky 2-door look and available in a number of attention-grabbing colors including this Salsa hue.  (Stand-up 2)  This top-trim Spark 2LT with the 5-speed manual and no options stickers for $15,895.  All models come standard with A/C, power windows and 10 air bags.  A 4-speed automatic is also available.

Making the Spark go is a 1.25-liter 4-cylinder rated at 84 horsepower and that nets 32mpg city/38mpg highway.  The Spark’s clutch and shifter have a more premium feel than I expected and deliver exceptional smoothness in their operation making the Spark a fun little drive with enough pep to keep you moving and that doesn’t require excessive downshifts.  The ride quality, backed by a MacPherson strut front suspension, is soft enough for complete comfort while the handling feels minicar nimble.

For 2014, Chevy will offer an all-electric version called the Spark EV.

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