- Good value for money
- Fun to drive
- Cheap to insure
- Not the most refined
- Limited boot space
- Poor interior quality
Budget city car offers good value for money
The Chevrolet Spark is a compact five-door city car that offers great value for money, making it a popular option for those on a budget. The Spark, introduced in 2010, replaced the outgoing Matiz, and improved greatly on its poor predecessor. It offers buyers a well-designed interior, reasonably impressive fuel efficiency, and decent performance around town. It doesn’t quite have the finesse of the best city cars, but it’s certainly an interesting, good value package.
Good quality design, unimpressive materials
One area in which the Spark may attract some buyers is in its interior. The design of the interior is contemporary, and incorporates some interesting features. Despite this, it’s not the most spacious, nor does it possess the quality of some rivals.
The dashboard of the Spark is certainly attractive to look at. It sweeps across the car, and with its clever design, it creates additional storage space above the glove box, something which will no doubt come in handy. Unfortunately the materials used don’t reflect the design. Hard plastics are used throughout, which feel a little bit on the cheap side. It’s all pretty well put together, and feels solid, but it’s far from luxurious.
Space wise the Spark is a little bit disappointing. Admittedly, this is a city car, but with just 170 litres of boot capacity, there’s not much room for shopping, and you’ll struggle to get even the smallest of buggies in the back. Compare it with a Hyundai i10 (252 litres) and it’s even more disappointing. Practicality is not the Spark’s forte.
Spec levels in the Spark are pretty impressive, which make the Spark excellent value for money. Even the entry-level + trim comes with front electric windows, a DAB radio, and MP3 connectivity. Move further up the range and you’ll get additional luxuries such as air-con, and automatic lights and mirrors, though even these more expensive models are cheaper than entry-level trims from other manufacturers.
Overall the inside of the Spark is a bit of a mixed bag. The materials used throughout the cabin feel disappointingly cheap, and there’s not much in the way of boot space either. Nevertheless, the interior is attractive, and with so much kit for such a low purchase price, it’s a great value option.
Easy to drive around town
Suspension and Chassis
The Chevrolet Spark is actually quite an engaging car to drive around town. The chassis and suspension system aren’t the most modern, and there’s an awful lot of body roll, but it somehow still manages to be fun to drive. Steering is, unusually, hydraulic, which creates better feedback around town, and it’s fun through the corners. It’s not a car for a B-road blast, but around town it’s a lot more fun than some rivals.
Ride refinement, due to the Spark’s soft suspension system, is also pretty impressive. It irons out big potholes and rough surfaces with relative ease, though if the rough surface is sustained for a long time, it can become a little bit uncomfortable. The Spark also performs reasonably well on the motorway. There’s still some wind and road noise, but it’s far from the worst in its class.
Gearbox options in the Spark come only in one guise: a five speed manual. The gearbox is smooth, though the throw action is a little on the long side. You’ll also wish you had a sixth gear if you do a lot of motorway driving, though that’s not really what the Spark is designed for.
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Spark, you’ve only got the one option: petrol. There are two power options in the range, though both lack the punch to ever feel quite at home on a motorway. They are at least economical however.
If it’s power that you want from your Spark, you’re going to be disappointed with those that Chevrolet offer. The fastest and most powerful engine in the range is the 1.2 litre petrol unit, that produces 81bhp, and will get you from 0-62mpg in 12.7 seconds. It’s far away from being the punchiest city car currently on sale, but it should serve you well around the city. Get it on the motorway however, and you’ll start to see it struggle.
For eco-friendly buyers, the Spark range offers reasonably low C02 emissions. Both the entry-level, low-powered 1.0 litre petrol, and the slightly punchier 1.2 litre petrol, produce 118g/km. With so many competitors now offering city cars with sub-100g/km of C02 emissions, the Spark’s figures are a tad disappointing. Nevertheless, the Spark won’t cost you too much in road tax each year.
Money savers can again take their pick from either the low-powered, or high-powered Spark, as both produce identical fuel efficiency figures. With 56.5mpg on offer in both, you can save yourself plenty of money at the petrol pumps. Some may be disappointed with the lack of stop/start technology, but the Spark is still a cheap car to run.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your Spark, you’re going to get good fuel efficiency, and relatively low emissions. As the higher powered 1.2 litre petrol produces identical figures for both of these, it’s the best option to go for, as it offers greater day-to-day flexibility.
Four stars in NCAP, decent standard equipment
Unlike quite a lot of rivals, the Chevrolet Spark failed to achieve the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. With scores of 81% in adult protection, 78% in child protection, and 43% in pedestrian safety, it’s far from the worst car in the city car class, falling just short of the full 5-star rating. There’s also reasonably good safety kit as standard- you’ll get six airbags, electronic stability control, and ABS on even the most basic models.
Great value for money, so long as you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The Chevrolet Spark offers buyers excellent value for money. Throughout the range fuel efficiency levels are kept high, and C02 emissions are also relatively low. That means you won’t be paying too much for road tax each year, as well as saving money at the petrol pumps. The Spark is also better equipped, and cheaper to buy than a lot of rivals, so it’s a great option for those on a budget.
Insurance costs in the Spark are remarkably good value. The Spark is one of the cheapest cars to insure that is currently on sale in the UK. The cheapest model in the range is the 1.0 Standard Trim, which is in the lowest possible group 1, whilst the most expensive is the range-topping 1.2 litre LT in group 9. Whichever Spark you go for, you won’t be paying too much money out every year.
Depreciation is a large factor with the Spark, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Chevrolet Spark is a well thought out, well put together city car. It’s certainly not the most refined out there, nor does it carry the badge prestige of some competitors, but it does offer exceptional value for money.
Buying a used Chevrolet Spark online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Chevrolet Spark for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Spark. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Chevrolet Spark online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Chevrolet? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Chevrolet Spark, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Spark, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Chevrolet to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.