Chevrolet Sparks Up Its Newest City Car

Craig Cole
by Craig Cole

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.

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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.

Discus this story on our General Motors Forum.

Craig Cole
Craig Cole

Born and raised in metro Detroit, Craig was steeped in mechanics from childhood. He feels as much at home with a wrench or welding gun in his hand as he does behind the wheel or in front of a camera. Putting his Bachelor's Degree in Journalism to good use, he's always pumping out videos, reviews, and features for When the workday is over, he can be found out driving his fully restored 1936 Ford V8 sedan. Craig has covered the automotive industry full time for more than 10 years and is a member of the Automotive Press Association (APA) and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA).

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  • Mike Mike on Apr 01, 2015

    Not a fan of GM quality as I've been burned in the past, BUT they are adding a TON of great features in a budget vehicle. So kudos to them.

  • Teckler Teckler on Apr 02, 2015

    First the Malibu, then this? Chevy is bringing some nicely styled new products out.