Facelifted Chevrolet Spark

3 Oct, 2012 6:45pm Damion Smy

Our verdict on the revised Chevrolet Spark, which gets a better cabin and more grown-up look

Verdict

2
The Spark is a quirky city car choice, and this facelift has ensured that it’s more appealing than before. But while the practical interior remains, so – unfortunately – does the flawed driving experience. Refinement, ride comfort and handling just aren’t quite up to scratch for the class.

As well as warming up the Aveo, Chevrolet has facelifted the Spark – a move that coincides with its release in the US for the first time.

The updated city car gets a new ‘dual-port’ grille and more aggressive front bumper, with restyled foglight clusters. At the rear is a slightly sportier bumper and a new LED brake light, while fresh 14 and 15-inch alloy wheel designs feature as part of the update.

The cabin is as practical and spacious as ever, and the boot offers 170 litres of luggage space, or 578 litres with the rear seats folded.

Up front are some minor changes, such as a classier new centre console with fewer buttons. But the majority of the tweaks focus on making the Spark’s controversial exterior styling more palatable – and it certainly looks more grown-up.

The engine range remains the same, with 1.0 and 1.2-litre petrol four-cylinders, although both feel sluggish unless you work them extremely hard. The 1.0-litre is more refined, but the sacrifice is a painfully slow 0-62mph time of 15.5 seconds.

This is the more efficient of the two engine options, with a fuel economy figure of 55.4mpg. Yet both versions seem rather old-fashioned – a feeling that never really goes away when driving the Spark.

Compared with city cars like the Skoda Citigo, VW up! and Fiat 500, it’s outdated. While most rivals provide a comfortable, grown-up ride, decent refinement and even a bit of driving fun, the Chevrolet struggles in all these areas.

All that might be forgiven if it was much cheaper than other cars in this class. But the Spark is more expensive than a five-door up! or Citigo, with prices starting at £8,475 – and that’s simply too much.

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Much as AE's VW obsession is often irritating/laughable this is one instance when it is probably justifiable.

Key specs

  • Price: From £8,475
  • Engine: 1.0-litre 4cyl petrol
  • Power: 67bhp
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 15.5 seconds
  • Top speed: 96mph
  • Economy/CO2: 55.4mpg/119g/km
  • Equipment: Six airbags, climate control, electric windows, USB stereo with six speakers, 15-inch alloys
  • On sale: Now
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