2018 Chevrolet Spark

Performance


$13,050 MSRP
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2018 Chevrolet Spark Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.7

The 2018 Chevrolet Spark is great for running around town, with a powertrain that's peppy enough for city streets and nimble handling that makes short work of cramped parking lots. It's a different story on the highway, however, where the Spark feels underpowered and less composed.

  • "Though no long distance cruiser, the Spark is ideal for quick around-town runs and the occasional 2-person road trip." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "The Spark's downfall is noise. The little engine is pretty quiet, even under full acceleration, but the cabin is an echo chamber for road noise generated while driving, even at city speeds." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "How does the 2016 Chevrolet Spark drive? Surprisingly well, and not just for a tiny car." -- Motor Trend (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The standard powertrain in the 2018 Spark consists of a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission. A continuously variable transmission (CVT), which is a type of automatic, is available in every trim level for $1,100. With its 98 horsepower rating, the Spark delivers a suitable amount of power for urban settings. It takes the Spark some time to get up to highway speeds, though, and limited power combined with a loud cabin make it less ideal for traveling along interstates or up steep hills. Gas mileage is about average for a vehicle this size, at an estimated 30 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, with the CVT.

  • "The 1.4-liter engine and the CVT are connected to the front wheels only, but the moderate power means that there's little torque steer to deal with. The Spark weighs only 2,313 pounds with the automatic transmission or 2,246 pounds with the manual, so acceleration is adequate for most situations. … Around town and on brief freeway jaunts, it's just fine." -- Autotrader (2017)
  • "As an urban runabout, the Spark's … engine gives it a decent initial spurt for pulling out at stoplights. But against the clock, it crawled from 0-60 mph in 12 seconds. It's abundantly clear that the Spark struggles when faced with hills and ascending to highway speeds. You'll find yourself flooring the accelerator often, which becomes unpleasant." -- Consumer Reports (2017)
  • "With only 98 horsepower on tap, the 2017 Chevrolet Spark minicar isn't quick, but it's fairly peppy especially when compared to other sub-100-horsepower cars such as the 3-cylinder Mitsubishi Mirage." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)

Handling and Braking

It takes very little effort to pilot the front-wheel-drive Spark around town. Between its petite footprint and tight turning radius, parking is a breeze. It doesn't feel as stable on the highway, however. Ride quality is decent, but the suspension isn't as smooth as some rivals'.

  • "The diminutive size and tight turning radius that make the Spark so enjoyable in city traffic make it a bit less comfortable when sharing a highway with 18-wheelers or strong wind gusts." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "You might expect such a tiny car to spark some driving fun. Initially, the Spark plays this part, feeling light on its feet and tackling corners with enthusiasm. But there's a disconnect between the swift turn-in response and the mute, overly light steering that results in the car feeling nervous. The Spark is clearly a better urban errand runner than highway cruiser." -- Consumer Reports (2017)
  • "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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