2018 Chevrolet Spark

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MSRP: $13,050 - 17,475

2018 Chevrolet Spark Review

The 2018 Chevrolet Spark performs well as a city car, and it has user-friendly technology. However, its unfavorable highway performance and tiny cabin contribute to its lower-tier ranking.

7.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.6
Performance: 7.7
Interior: 7.5
Safety: N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • Well-equipped base infotainment system
  • Ideal power and handling for a city car

 

  • Small cargo area
  • Underpowered on the highway

 

Is the Chevrolet Spark a Good Car?

The Chevrolet Spark is a decent option among subcompact cars, as long as you stick to driving around cities. Head out on the highway, and you'll find the Spark's weak engine power and light steering are no match for fast-moving traffic. The Spark is pretty average in most other areas though, and its standard infotainment system is easy to use and has cool integrated features.

Should I Buy the Chevrolet Spark?

If your budget is around the $13,000 to $15,000 range, the Chevy Spark is one of the better new cars you can buy. It's most at home in tight city streets, where its easy maneuverability and spry road manners make it a capable companion. While the Spark comes standard with an intuitive infotainment system, you'll have to spend a couple thousand dollars over a base model to get amenities like power windows and power locks. The seats aren't the comfiest around, and rear head- and legroom are tight. If you can stretch your spending limit a little, cross-shop some alternatives like the Kia Rio and Ford Fiesta.

Compare the Spark, Rio, and Fiesta »

Should I Buy a New or Used Chevrolet Spark?

The Spark was fully redesigned for 2016 and is largely unchanged for 2017 and 2018. Therefore, you may want to consider an older model in this generation to potentially save some money. The only exception is if you're hunting for a Spark EV model, as it was discontinued for 2017.

To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2016 and 2017 Chevrolet Spark. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Chevrolet Spark »

We Did the Research for You: 18 Reviews Analyzed

Our comprehensive Chevrolet Spark full review combines the opinions of the automotive press with details on trim levels and much more. This 2018 Chevrolet Spark review incorporates applicable research for all model years in this generation, which spans the 2016 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007. In addition, each year we name the Best Cars for Families and Best Cars for the Money. To keep our recommendations balanced and impartial, we use a third party for our advertising, and we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Chevrolet Spark Cost?

The Chevrolet Spark has one of the lowest starting prices in our subcompact car rankings. The MSRP for the base Spark LS is $13,050. Other trim levels include 1LT ($14,875), Activ ($16,120), and 2LT ($16,375).

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Chevrolet dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevy deals page.

Chevrolet Spark Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Spark or Ford Fiesta?

The Chevrolet Spark has more standard features than the Ford Fiesta, and there are more choices for advanced safety features for the Spark than the Fiesta. However, Ford ultimately lets you build a swankier ride with the Fiesta, thanks to upgraded amenities like leather seats and automatic climate control. You can find stronger engine options and sharper handling in the Fiesta. Overall, the Ford Fiesta is the better choice here.

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Spark or Kia Rio?

The Kia Rio is proof that you don't have to pay a lot to get a lot. This small Kia’s starting price is less than a thousand dollars higher than the Spark’s, but it comes standard with a peppy engine, an easy-to-use infotainment system, and satellite radio. Its interior is spacious enough to hold adults in any seat, and a well-tuned suspension adds to solid driving dynamics. All of those positives combine to elevate the Rio over the Spark in our rankings, making it the better buy.

Which Is Better: Chevrolet Spark or Mitsubishi Mirage?

The Mitsubishi Mirage is one of the worst cars in the class overall. The Mirage and the Spark may be in same ballpark when it comes to pricing, but that doesn’t mean they’re on equal footing. Even the Chevy's low points (a weak engine and so-so seats) are better than what you'll get with this Mitsubishi.

Compare the Spark, Fiesta, and Rio »

Spark Interior

How Many People Does the Spark Seat?

The 2018 Spark has adequate but not great seating that accommodates four people. The front seats have manual adjustments (power adjustments aren't available), and the cushions are not supportive enough for a long car trip. Room is tight in the rear seat – as is typical for a subcompact car.

Spark and Car Seats

You'll have to search carefully for the Spark's LATCH hardware. The outboard seats' lower anchors are mounted deep in the seat cushions, and the tether anchors are tucked out of sight. Still, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this LATCH system the second-best rating of Acceptable for ease of use.

Spark Interior Quality

The Spark's cabin has contemporary styling, and elements like the large touch-screen display add a modern feel. Hard plastics are present, but a few higher-grade materials are sprinkled throughout.

Spark Cargo Space

Cargo space is pretty slim in the Spark, with 11.1 cubic feet behind the rear seat. In comparison, the Kia Rio hatchback has 17.4 cubic feet of cargo room.

Spark Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The standard infotainment system in the 2018 Spark is a pleasant surprise. Among its premium-grade features is 7-inch touch screen that recognizes swiping and pinching, the ability to link with your favorite apps through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and even a built-in Wi-Fi hot spot. The system is easy to use, though there are a few quirks (mostly regarding the placement of the screen and buttons).

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

Spark Performance

Spark Engine: Suitable for City Streets

The Spark is well-suited as a city car, with enough oomph from its 98-horsepower engine to hustle through intersections just fine. At higher speeds, short stints are fine, but this isn't a good pick for lots of highway driving or mountain passes.

Spark Gas Mileage: Average for Its Class

The Spark has an EPA-rated fuel economy of 29-30 mpg in the city and 37-39 mpg on the highway, depending on whether it has the standard manual transmission or the fuel-efficient continuously variable automatic transmission. Those ratings are typical for a small car.

Spark Ride and Handling: Urban Champ

Similar to engine performance, the Spark's handling is excellent for city driving but not as favorable on the highway. With its small stature and light steering, this is an easy car to park.

Read more about performance »

Spark Reliability

Is the Chevrolet Spark Reliable?

The 2018 Spark has a predicted reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power. Although that’s average for the automotive market as a whole, most subcompact cars receive better scores. 

Chevrolet Spark Warranty

Chevrolet covers the Spark with a three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Spark Safety

Spark Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted limited testing on the 2018 Spark, giving it a top Good score for its performance in the moderate overlap front and side impact tests. The Spark hasn't been evaluated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Spark Safety Features

The 2018 Spark comes standard with a rearview camera. Rear parking sensors, forward collision warning, and lane departure warning are available but only in the top 2LT trim level.

Read more about safety »

Which Chevrolet Spark Model Is Right for Me?

The biggest differences between the Spark's four available trims (LS, 1LT, Activ, and 2LT) relate mostly to interior amenities, though the Spark Activ also boasts a few distinct exterior treatments. Every trim comes standard with a four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission; a continuously variable automatic transmission is available for $1,100. Besides transmission options, Chevrolet offers few factory accessories and packages, so you'll want to select the trim level that's already outfitted to your liking. We go into more detail on the standard features of each trim level below. For an appealing mix of amenities for your money, we recommend the Spark 1LT, which comes with convenient essentials like power windows and cruise control.

Chevrolet Spark LS

The entry-level Spark LS ($13,050) comes with the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment interface, a 7-inch diagonal color touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, a USB port, Siri Eyes Free, a rearview camera, air conditioning, and an OnStar 4G LTE built-in Wi-Fi hot spot.

Chevrolet Spark 1LT

Standard features in the $14,875 Spark 1LT include cruise control, power windows, power locks, a six-speaker audio system, satellite radio, steering wheel-mounted controls, and remote keyless entry.

Chevrolet Spark Activ

Some different exterior stylings, including a unique front grille and rear fascia, give the Activ a standout look from the rest of the Spark lineup. This $16,120 trim also comes with synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

Chevrolet Spark 2LT

The range-topping Spark 2LT models ($16,375) get the same upgrades as 1LT models, along with heated front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a proximity key, push-button start, rear parking sensors, and chrome exterior accents.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Chevy dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Chevrolet deals page.

See 2018 Chevrolet Spark specs and trims »

The Final Call

High points of the 2018 Chevrolet Spark include an attractive standard infotainment system that connects you with many of your favorite smartphone apps and can even grant you high-speed internet access. Overall, the Spark is a good value if you're looking for a city car that's easy to drive and park, but with its diminutive engine and firm seats, the Spark isn't very pleasant on long trips or for highway commutes.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "You might think a car given the label 'minicar' wouldn't have much to offer the average American driver, but the 2018 Chevrolet Spark proves good things do come in small packages. With a larger dealer network than the Mitsubishi Mirage, Fiat 500 and Smart Fortwo, the Spark is easy to find and service. Its 1.4-liter engine delivers impressive fuel economy and surprisingly spry bursts of acceleration, at least at lower speeds. Inside, the Spark offers many of Chevy's best features, like a 7-inch touch-screen audio system with built-in Wi-Fi, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, forward-collision alert (but not prevention), a rearview camera and lane-departure warning. As a big-city commuter, the Spark offers comfort, safety and economy at a rock-bottom price." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Overall, the Spark is a significantly better car than the Mitsubishi Mirage and Smart ForTwo, but that's faint praise. As a cheap runabout to park at the local train station, it may be just the thing. But as a first car for a college student or a downtown dweller, we'd sleep better at night if you opted for a more substantial car with a stronger suite of safety systems, even if it's second hand." -- Consumer Reports (2017)
  • "Fresh from a major upgrade last year, the 2017 Chevrolet Spark offers good fuel economy in a tiny package that doesn't cost much money. However, when it comes to best-in-class awards, the Spark struggles to offer the power or room of rivals like the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa Note." -- Autotrader (2017) 
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