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2019 Chevrolet Spark Performance Review

Scorecard

Performance: 7.6

The 2019 Chevrolet Spark has balanced overall performance for a small car. With adequate low-speed acceleration and easy steering, it's a fine urban runabout. However, it struggles to get up to high speeds and lacks composure on the freeway.

  • "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)
  • 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; the somewhat darty steering makes it a nervous highway." -- Consumer Reports (2017)
  • "How does the … Chevrolet Spark drive? Surprisingly well, and not just for a tiny car." -- Motor Trend (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The Chevrolet Spark is powered by a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 98 horsepower. A five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard, and a continuously variable automatic transmission is optional. With the manual transmission, the Spark gets 29 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, which are good estimates for the class. Models with the automatic are rated at 30/38 mpg city/highway. The Spark has decent acceleration from a stop and at low speeds, but it feels underpowered for high-speed passing or merging.

  • The 2019 Spark's small four-cylinder engine is best suited for around-town use. A CVT automatic-equipped Spark takes over 11 seconds to get to 60 mph from a stop, so highway on-ramps require some planning." -- Edmunds
  • … the Chevy Spark's 1.4-liter engine musters only 98 horsepower, which may not seem like much unless you're in a drag race with a car like the 3-cylinder Mitsubishi Mirage. … Advances in engine and electronic technology allow 98 ponies to do a lot more today, giving the Spark snappy acceleration off the line, but still struggling to pass or merge at higher speeds. The Spark's optional CVT automatic boosts fuel efficiency but saps power and fun at an equal ratio; go with the 5-speed manual if you want to enjoy the ride." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)
  • The 1.4-liter engine and the CVT are connected to the front wheels only, but the moderate power means 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. 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 (2018)

Handling and Braking

The Chevy Spark’s light steering and small turning radius make it easy to maneuver. The ride is mostly comfortable, but the car can feel floaty and disconnected at high speeds.

  • "Surprisingly, the Spark is agile around town and delivers a well-mannered ride overall." -- Edmunds
  • Handling-wise, the Spark's … 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." -- Autotrader (2018)
  • 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 (2018)
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