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2021 Chevrolet Spark Performance


MSRP
$13,400
U.S. News Best Price Program

2021 Chevrolet Spark Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 6.6

The 2021 Chevrolet Spark delivers admirable performance for a small car designed for city driving. It offers fine initial acceleration and quick, easy steering. However, it's slower and less confident at higher speeds.

  • "As the Spark is a tiny car, the freeway isn’t exactly its friend. It can keep up with traffic, but this Chevy’s short wheelbase can make it feel twitchy. … Around town, however, the Spark comes into its own. If you live in a place where it’s a daily fight for a parking space or the roads are weirdly narrow, the Spark is ready and willing to fit where you need it. It’s also quite efficient, with most models earning 33 mpg combined." -- Autotrader
  • "Driver comfort is sufficient and the engine revs with a bit of enthusiasm, something that is otherwise absent in this price bracket." -- Car and Driver (2020)
  • "Surprisingly, the Spark is agile around town and delivers a well-mannered ride overall." -- Edmunds (2019)

Engine Options, Horsepower, and Acceleration

  • Engine: 98-horsepower 1.4-liter four-cylinder
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: standard five-speed manual; available continuously variable automatic (CVT)

The Spark has sufficient acceleration at lower speeds, and the manual transmission makes it feel spryer. However, the car is slow to get up to highway speeds. Critics are split on the performance of the automatic transmission, with some saying that it's unrefined and others noting that it operates smoothly.

  • "With less than 100 hp, the Spark won’t be winning many drag races. If there’s any good news, it’s that the Spark doesn’t weigh much. At around 2,300 pounds, the Spark is a featherweight. Paired with a 5-speed manual transmission, you might even sense a hint of liveliness. Most buyers will opt for an automatic transmission, and the Spark is saddled with a CVT that isn’t all that responsive and can drone." -- Autotrader
  • "It’s best to keep your acceleration and power expectations in check. At higher speeds and/or uphill stretches, the 1.4-liter 4-cylinder in the Chevy Spark begins to feel like the little engine that can’t. … The continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) isn’t all that responsive and puts a damper even on this small amount of pep you’d get with the manual." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Every Spark has a feeble four-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels through either a five-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Thankfully, the gearless automatic managed power well without droning engine noise. While the version we tested was responsive at low speeds around town, be prepared to wait as it moseys up to higher speeds." -- Car and Driver (2020)

MPG Estimates

The 2021 Spark returns about average fuel economy for a subcompact car.

  • Base trim, CVT: 30/38 mpg city/highway
  • ACTIV trim, CVT: 30/37 mpg
  • Base trim, manual: 29/38 mpg
  • ACTIV trim, manual: 29/37 mpg

Handling and Braking

The Spark's small size makes for easy maneuverability in tight spaces. Steering is direct and responsive, and the ride is generally controlled. However, larger bumps are noticed, and the braking feel can be a little inconsistent.

  • "The Spark finds its purpose in town and congested urban areas. … Its small footprint and tight turning circle make it wonderfully maneuverable and easy to park." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Handling-wise, the Spark's independent MacPherson strut front and torsion-beam rear suspension does a pretty good job of delivering a controlled ride. Braking is just adequate, with a bit of a mushy feeling and the need for a heavy foot to get maximum effect. Rack-and-pinion steering with column-mounted power assist is a highlight." -- Autotrader (2020)
  • "The Spark's steering felt direct and communicated the road surface to the driver's hand. It was also relaxed at highway speeds and made changing lanes easy without feeling twitchy. The firm brake pedal had strong responses that helped scrub speed quickly and consistently." -- Car and Driver (2020)
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2021 Chevrolet Spark

MSRP: $13,400 - $17,900

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