The 2014 Chevrolet Spark arrived with better fuel economy, a new transmission, and a less-than $13,000 price tag. It is small and stylish; perfect for city driving. But you might want to look at bigger cars if you drive more on highways.
NEW FOR THE 2014 SPARK
- a continuously variable transmission or CVT
- automatic headlight control
- Spark EV (available in Oregon and California only)
- optional navigation system
- better fuel economy
UNDER THE HOOD
The 2014 Chevy Spark is powered by a 1.2-liter 4-cylinder engine that generates 38 horsepower and 83 pound-feet of torque. The front wheels are driven by a 5-speed manual transmission. The new CVT is optional.
The fuel economy of the 2014 Spark is rated by the EPA at 30 mpg city/39 mpg highway/34 mpg combined with an automatic transmission and 31/34/39 with a manual.
The all-electric Spark EV gets its power from a 105-kW electric motor which produces 140 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. It comes with a 21-kWh lithium-ion battery pack which recharges in 7 hours at 240 volts (up to 20 hours if recharged at 110 volts).
According to the EPA, the Spark EV can drive for 82 miles on a combined city/highway driving cycle. The energy consumption is rated at 28 kWh per 100 miles. MPGe figures stand at 128 city/109 highway/119 combined.
ON THE ROAD
The Spark is a cute and stylish hatchback. But don’t expect it to be as fun as how it looks. The Spark could not provide an exciting driving experience with only 84 horsepower. Acceleration, though, is adequate with the standard manual transmission. It is also agile around corners and the driving characteristics it delivers are still satisfying. The ride isn’t exactly quiet because wind and road noises are still noticeable, but at least they are not intrusive.
The electric counterpart of this gasoline-run Spark accelerates more briskly. Test drivers wrote that the estimated 82-mile driving range of the Spark EV is conservative because they were able to reach 90-ish figures. Around corners, the electric hatchback is steady and its ride is composed.
INSIDE THE 2014 SPARK
The Spark’s interior is simple but made stylish by the modern motorcycle-like gauges and color-accented dashboard and door panels. There are of course hard plastics but they work well with the other materials used to create a classy look and feel.
The seats are comfortable enough for a small car. But the rear seats are too small for adults. Many reviewers indicated that they are not good for long trips.
The cargo areas are small at 11.4 cubic feet in the gasoline Spark and 9.6 cubic feet in the EV. Folding the rear seats will expand the spaces to 31.2 cubic feet and 23.4 cubic feet, respectively. But doing so is not hassle-free. You have to first flip the cushions forward and remove the headrests before folding the seatbacks down. If you need more space, go for a Spark in 2LT trim which includes a roof rack.
The 2014 Spark comes in three trim levels: LS, 1LT and 2LT. The Spark EV has only the last two.
The Spark LS is standard with daytime running lights, rear spoiler, 10 airbags, OnStar, driver information center, hill start assist, cloth upholstery, 60/40 flip-and-fold rear seat, 4-speaker sound system, auxiliary input jack, 15-inch aluminum wheels, and automatic headlight control.
The 1LT trim adds cruise control, Bluetooth, remote keyless entry, MyLink Radio (with Pandora capability and 7-inch color touchscreen), 6-speaker sound system, satellite radio, and USB port.
The 2LT trim level features fog lights (standard on the EV in 1LT trim), side mirror turn signals, leather-wrapped steering wheel, leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, and 15-inch aluminum dark-gray-painted wheels.
Photo credit: chevrolet.com