You might think of pickup trucks or at the very least, large vehicles when Chevrolet comes up. But the bow-tie brand still knows a thing or two about small vehicles.
Manhattan is center stage this week for the all-new Spark. This city car has received an array of enhancements, from under-hood changes to advanced driver-assistance technology.
For starters it rides on a brand-new architecture. It has a slightly longer wheelbase than today’s model but it’s 1.6 inches shorter, a change that helps improve aerodynamics and ultimately fuel economy. Additionally this platform should be more robust than the one today’s Spark rides atop, resulting in better chassis tuning and improved crashworthiness.
Of course the current model is already an IIHS Top Safety Pick. Furthering this enviable track record, the 2016 version comes with 10 standard airbags and available features like forward-collision alert, lane-departure warning and blind-spot monitoring. Beyond this a backup camera and rear park assist are standard.
The cabin is also more premium looking thanks to a more grown-up design and better materials. The Spark also features the next generation Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, which comes with a seven-inch display screen. Drivers are treated to a dot-matrix CD instrument cluster.
Under its truncated hood is a 1.4-liter Ecotec powerplant; it’s part of GM’s brand-spankin’-new small-engine family. It features an aluminum block and head for light weight plus an integrated exhaust manifold for reduced complexity. All told, it offers an estimated 98 hp, which is a 16 percent improvement over its predecessor. Drivers can opt for either a five-speed manual transmission or a CVT.
The Spark has always offered some unique exterior colors and that tradition is going to continue. Three intriguing new hues will be available: Toasted Marshmallow, Kalamata and Splash.
As Bruce Springsteen sang, you can’t start a fire without a spark … and then something about dancing with the lights off … Anyway, Chevrolet is no doubt hoping to kindle the flames of desire with its all-new Spark. Look for this 2016 model at dealers in the fourth quarter of the year, though it will be offered in 40 markets around the world.
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