Our verdict on replacement for Matiz city car.
Although the Spark isn’t revolutionary, it’s a massive improvement over the Matiz. Decent steering and light controls appeal, but the 1.2-litre engine is coarse, the ride becomes bouncy at speed and the styling won’t suit all tastes. Still, it’s a well equipped and competitively priced city car which puts Chevrolet firmly in contention for honours in this class.
Is this the model to spark off city car success for Chevrolet? Replacing the Matiz in the firm’s line-up, the Spark reaches UK buyers early next year. Prices start at £6,945 for the entry-level 1.0-litre model, and rise to £9,845 for the top-spec 1.2 LT driven here.
On the road, the newcomer certainly looks controversial. The swept-back headlamps, chunky tail-lights and angular lines are typical city car fare, but the vast Chevy grille appears out of place on such a small model.
Inside, the cabin is roomy and the dashboard layout straightforward. If only the plastics didn’t feel so cheap.
As there’s no steering wheel reach adjustment, the driving position is slightly cramped. Crucially, though, the Spark is much better to drive than the model it replaces.
Light controls and precise steering make the car ideal for nipping around town, while at higher speeds it’s stable. But the ride gets bouncy and there’s kickback through the wheel.
The 1.2-litre unit is coarse at high revs and needs to be worked hard to generate any decent pace. Yet overall, the Spark is a decent city car. Chevy reckons it will account for one-third of its total UK sales, and we see no reason to doubt that.
Rival: Hyundai i10 The i10 offers similar interior space to the Spark. But it has the edge for refinement and quality, while the brand’s five-year warranty is a real plus.