$9,703 - $12,936

2017 Chevrolet Spark Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Chevrolet Spark was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 7.6

It's not the most athletic car on the road, but the 2017 Chevrolet Spark is a capable cruiser. The engine has enough power for most driving situations, and the acceleration is pretty good. The Spark is poised on winding roads, and the ride is smooth over unbroken pavement. Fuel economy is about average for the class.

  • "Like the Fiat 500, Smart Fortwo and Mitsubishi Mirage, the Spark's diminutive size is best suited for shorter commutes, though the Chevy feels the most substantial of the group." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • "How does the 2016 Chevrolet Spark drive? Surprisingly well, and not just for a tiny car." -- Motor Trend (2016)
  • Instead of the preceding Spark's anemic engine, the new model features a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 14 more horsepower. While this doesn't translate into much better acceleration, it does give the Spark a little more zip around town." -- Edmunds (2016)

Acceleration and Power

A 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine powers the Spark. It only has 98 horsepower, but it still manages to deliver satisfactory acceleration most of the time. It also has enough power for city and highway driving, but don't expect the Spark to feel fast.

The standard transmission is a five-speed manual, but a continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is a type of automatic, is available. When equipped with the manual, the Spark gets an EPA-estimated 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway. That's about average for a subcompact car. With the CVT, the fuel economy is slightly better, but it may not be enough of an improvement to justify the added cost of the automatic, if you are comfortable driving both transmission types.

  • … acceleration is adequate for most situations. Chevy doesn't quote top speed or 0-to-60 times for the Spark -- it isn't that kind of car. Around town and on brief freeway jaunts, it's just fine." -- AutoTrader (2016)
  • With only 98 horsepower, Chevy's smallest car still takes time to get up to speed, but we prefer the Spark's 4-cylinder engine and CVT automatic transmission to rivals such as the 3-cylinder Mitsubishi Mirage. And while we don't recommend the Spark for long-haul commutes, our freeway jaunts didn't leave us scarred." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • As with its diminutive dimensions, the Spark's small four-cylinder engine is best suited for around-town use. A CVT-equipped Spark takes a bit more than 11 seconds to reach 60 mph (from a standstill) so highway on-ramp runs require some advance planning." -- Edmunds (2016)

Handling and Braking

The front-wheel drive Spark delivers a smooth ride as long as the road is in good condition; over rough pavement, the ride quality suffers quite a bit. And while it isn't a sportster, the Spark does have adept handling.

One of the advantages of a subcompact car like the Spark is that its small size makes it perfect for city driving. It’s easy to squeeze into parking spots, and it has a tight turning radius so it's highly maneuverable.

  • "The Spark's real benefits come thanks to its tight turning radius and tidy size that allow it to maneuver into spots that larger cars would have to pass." -- Kelley Blue Book (2016)
  • The bright green Spark rode well during our week driving around SoCal, but got unsettled over bad potholes." -- Motor Trend (2016)
  • The 2016 Spark features a lower roofline than before, but a still-tallish body fosters the impression of a European cargo van left too long in the clothes dryer. Thankfully, the Spark doesn't drive like a van. Although far from a sport sedan, this small Chevy remains surprisingly agile around turns and delivers a well-mannered ride overall." -- Edmunds (2016)

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