Chevrolet recently signed a major sponsorship deal in the UK with the mighty Manchester United football club, as part of the arrangement the first team were able to take their pick from the current range of Chevrolet’s. Interestingly, in order to protect his younger stars, Manager Sir Alex Ferguson would only allow the players over 25 years of age to pick the most powerful models.
As it turns out, despite being slightly less glamorous than a brand new Corvette or Camaro, 21 year old striker Danny Welbeck could do a lot worse than choosing a Chevrolet Spark LT 1.2 for popping down to the Trafford Centre in.
On the Road
As a nippy, round-towner the Spark is perfect, it’s compact, light, the suspension is nice and soft and the ride is smooth. It will weave in and out of lanes quicker than you can say “flat back four”, and while at higher speeds the five speed gearbox is a tad on the jerky side, it’s a compromise that you will have to make in virtually all of its competitors too.
The car comes with either a 1.0 or 1.2 litre engine, (the model I tested was the 1.2LT) both have four cylinders and the 1.2 will also scoot briskly along the motorway quite comfortably. If you are a sensible driver only sharp inclines and potential overtaking situations will expose it’s power shortcomings in normal use.
The budget Spark+ 1.0 litre comes without central locking and starts from £8,745.00. It does however include air-con and ISOFIX child seating mounts to the rear seats. Safety is paramount for Chevrolet and front, side and curtain airbags also come as standard.
For those with more cash to spare, £10,695 will buy a top of the range LT, a car suitably more endowed with additions including Alloy Wheels, USB connection, an excellent Six Speaker Stereo, Electric Wing Mirrors. If you need them, Rear Reversing Sensors are £155 extra.
For a small car space is good, and there is room for 5 adults to withstand reasonable distances without too much discomfort. Driver headroom is excellent and so to is all round visibility. There is a slight plasticky feel to the interior, but it looks durable enough to withstand scuffing from everyday use. The steering console and controls are suitably modern and are all close to hand. A biggish LED screen at the top however only seems to let you know when your seatbelt is on or not and could have been optimised more effectively, even if it was only to show the time.
The Spark has ‘secret’ rear door handles nicely disguised higher up the body, this keeps the busy lines of the car consistent. Visually, it somehow reminds me of something from a Transformer movie. It’s curvy, but pointy too and comes in some distinctively, erm, distinctive colours.
It has to be said it takes a real man to buy a car in ‘Pearl Pink’, and I did get a few amused looks from passers-by during my road-testing period. In saying that I actually grew to like it, and from early mornings to Autumn evenings the unusual, undefinable shade seemed to change slightly every time I looked at it.
It also comes in a very distinct ‘Cocktail Green’ which, should it venture across your sightline will pop your eyes out clean from their sockets instantly. For those people who like to blend in more subtly, (Summit) White is also available.
There are lots of decent small cars around at the moment and competition is stiff. The new Skoda Citigo and VW UP!, the Fiesta, Kia Picanto and the Hyundai i10 are all excellent. The Spark is good enough to join that list and what it lacks in power and refinement, makes up for in aesthetic youth appeal.
Price-wise there are cheaper, but a big selling point is a Warranty that includes five years servicing, and roadside assistance. It’s fairly low emissions (119g/km of CO2) mean Road Tax will be free in the first year and just £30 thereafter. Plus, insurance premiums will be low enough for most young drivers to afford, whether they play for Manchester United or not.
Chevrolet Spark LT 1.2
5 Speed Manual Transmission
Power output: 81 PS (60.0 kW)
Fuel consumption: urban 42.8mpg / extra-urban 67.3mpg / combined 55.4mpg
CO2 Emissions: 119g/km
Top Speed: 102mph
For more info