Edmunds Summary Review of the 2013 Chevrolet Spark Hatchback
The diminutive 2013 Chevrolet Spark is a solid choice for first-time buyers and city dwellers thanks to all-around economy, plentiful features and youthful spirit.
One of Edmunds
Inexpensive without feeling cheap; spacious interior; available high-tech features.
Slow acceleration; rear seats a hassle to fold down.
What's New for 2013
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark is an all-new model.
Full Edmunds Expert Review: 2013 Chevrolet Spark Hatchback
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What's New for 2013
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark is an all-new model.
These days, more and more automakers are offering small, fuel-sipping cars that are affordable and ideal for urban use. General Motors has entered the game with the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Spark.
Built in South Korea, the new Chevy Spark is one of the least expensive cars on the market. It's also one of the smallest. The Spark is 14 inches shorter than the Chevrolet Sonic, the next smallest car in Chevy's lineup. And while the Spark might look peculiar with its relatively big body and small wheels, it packs enough personality and available features to fend off any perception as an econo-pod. As a fun palette of unconventional exterior colors suggests, the Spark is cheap but cheerful.
Inside its cabin, the Spark displays a simple, clean design with enough chic sculpting and color flourishes that help you overlook the hard plastic surfaces. And while the base model is somewhat spartan, it comes standard with power windows, air-conditioning and a radio. Higher trim levels offer additional electronics and convenience niceties, although they come at price points that are within striking distance of more desirable hatchbacks.
In price and personality, the 2013 Chevrolet Spark is one of the best subcompact choices. The base model costs far less than the Fiat 500 and Scion iQ, and the Spark's four-door body style adds a bit of extra practicality. It lacks the Fiat's style and the Scion's parking ease, however. We'd also suggest looking at more traditional hatchbacks, since the Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio are more substantial and appealing to drive. But the 2013 Chevrolet Spark is tops at the bottom line and refined enough to make you proud of your new ride.
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Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark is a small, four-door hatchback offered in LS, 1LT and 2LT trims. Features from the upper trims are not available as options on supporting models.
Standard LS features include 15-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, power windows, 60/40-split-folding rear seats, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, a trip computer, OnStar telematics and a four-speaker radio with an auxiliary audio jack.
Opting for the 1LT trim adds power-adjustable mirrors, cruise control, remote keyless entry, floor mats, the MyLink touchscreen interface, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, steering-wheel-mounted audio and phone controls, a six-speaker audio system with USB/iPod integration, satellite radio and Internet radio from integrated smartphones.
The 2LT top trim adds foglights, roof rails, sporty front and rear fascia treatments, chrome exterior trim, faux leather upholstery, front heated seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
Powertrains and Performance
Powering the 2013 Chevrolet Spark is a 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 84 horsepower and 83 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the front wheels through a standard five-speed manual or optional four-speed automatic transmission.
Chevrolet estimates a Spark with a manual transmission will accelerate from zero to 60 mph in 10.5 seconds. We tested an expectedly slower automatic version, which took 12.2 seconds. Compared to average subcompacts, the Spark trails them to 60 mph by 1-2 seconds. The EPA estimates fuel economy at 32 city/38 highway and 34 mpg combined for the manual and 28/37/32 mpg for the automatic.
Standard safety features on the 2013 Chevy Spark include four-wheel antilock brakes (front discs, rear drums), hill-hold assist, stability and traction control, front and rear side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front-seat knee airbags. OnStar is also standard and includes automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance, remote door unlocking, stolen vehicle assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Spark 2LT stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, about an average distance for this class of car.
Interior Design and Special Features
The 2013 Chevrolet Spark features a simple, modern interior accented by color-accented dash and door panels. Hard plastic surfaces are about what you'd expect in an affordable hatchback, but the Spark offers some well-textured elements that suggest otherwise. Sporty gauges add further visual interest, featuring both a traditional speedometer and a digital multifunction display.
The available MyLink touchscreen also adds to the Spark's modern vibe with sharp graphics and intuitive menus, although it's not without faults. The screen sometimes fails to register inputs and requires repeated taps, but it's far better than the MyFordTouch interface. The hollow, flat sound quality from either the base or MyLink audio systems leaves much to be desired.
The upright position of the front seats might foster the impression that you're sitting on the car rather than in it. The seats also lack any worthwhile lateral support, although most body types will find them comfortable enough for long stretches of time. The rear seats are better suited to smaller passengers, however, as low seat cushions and headrests will likely draw complaints from average-sized adults.
Behind the rear seats, 11.4 cubic feet of cargo can be crammed into the narrow space. Folding down the rear seats isn't a simple affair, as the seat cushions must be flipped forward and the headrests removed before plopping down the seatbacks. After doing so, however, a fairly flat cargo floor and a more accommodating 31.2 cubes are provided. For larger items, the 2LT trim provides a functional roof rack.
With only 84 hp -- less than many motorcycles -- it's clear that the 2013 Chevrolet Spark is not intended to excite or inspire. To its credit, there's adequate acceleration for merging onto freeways when the manual transmission is in place. The shift throws are unusually long in order to reduce effort, yet the well-spaced gates make for precise gearchanges. Given its expected fuel economy-minded programming (meaning early upshifts and reluctant downshifts), the automatic Spark can feel lazy unless you have a heavy foot. In fairness, though, the automatic's gearchanges are very smooth and it steps down fairly quickly provided you floor it.
On appearance alone, the Spark's somewhat tall body gives the impression of a European cargo van left too long in the clothes dryer. Thankfully, it doesn't drive like one, as it's fairly agile around corners given its economy car role. Although the Spark is far from a sport sedan, this small Chevy still manages to deliver well-mannered driving characteristics overall. Road and wind noise are noticeable, but no more intrusive than in other cars at this price point.
by Caroline Roberts on Apr 6, 2016 Vehicle: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
This car is perfect for a commuter ride in city or suburban environment. It's not a super powerful acceleration but it gets the job done. It's a fun car to drive, handles nimbly and parks ANYWHERE! If you want or demand a luxury car you will probably not love this, but it's far more packed with extras and comfort than any other small car I've driven (lifelong Toyota owner).
by James nesbeak on Nov 17, 2015 Vehicle: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
They want five hundred bucks for a spare kit. Got a flat? Wait 90 minutes for a tow truck.
If you have the air conditioner on and need to go up a hill you have no power
[non-permissible content removed]. Do not buy.
by chris on Nov 6, 2015 Vehicle: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
very small gas tank, not a lot of room behind a tall driver, hard to drive when windy out, poor acceleration but once up to speed goes good, going up hills is tough on the car, had to have a new engine at 21000 miles on it, but very easy to drive in citiy type settings, easy to park, definetly made for city driving avoid the freeway if possible, i usually take the backroads when i can, oh yeah no trunk space and if you want to fold the back seats down you better be a short person cause if you are not you wont be able to put the seat down behind the driverseat, wish i thought about it before i bought it, stay clear of this car if possible
by Joyce on Oct 16, 2015 Vehicle: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
The motor goes out at 50,000 miles... engine misfires...dropped cylinders...magically the dealership mechanic cannot find anything wrong (but I know my car...) the only good thing I can say is that it gets good gas milage. The quality of the seats are terrible...this is a terrible car. Not dependable. Should have just bit the bullet and got a Cruze. But now I don't think I will ever buy another GM product as General Motors does not stand behind their product. I don't want to be stranded on the side of the road with my child. I need something reliable. I would rather fill a gas tank up every 2 to 3 days and be in a reliable vehicle than only fill up once a week and he broken down.
by LoriKM on Aug 5, 2015 Vehicle: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
UPDATE Have about 48000 miles on it now. Not using it as much, just for getting around town now. Planning on going cross country with it in a few weeks. Will check back in and let you know how it did! STILL enjoy scootin' around in it!
Bought new with about 400 miles on engine. Mine is the base, manual, get me where I want/need to go model. No, pick up isn't very good, and it does have that nasty blind spot, BUT it IS reliable (recalls were for MINOR items on mine) and I get an OVERALL 42 mpg (I drive highway, city AND mountain areas). It handles curves like a BOSS and the instrumentation is VERY convenient. My mechanic stated that it'd be EASY to fix any engine problem as it's laid out well, and the parts won't be expensive to replace should I have need to. This was another pro. The space inside for a 5'2" to 5'8" under 200lb person will be SPACIOUS. If you're over that height and weight, it may not be AS comfortable for you as a driver.
I found it amusing that my model doesn't have power door locks, BUT has power windows, auxillary plug for mp3's and such (discovered by daughter) and lock for the trunk!
The ONLY things I'd get different on this car is add cruise control as I do a LOT of hwy driving and get the color Techno Pink as I have the Lemonade color and it's fine, just prefer the other color more.
Oh, and as for the a/c, no, it doesn't cool off THAT well in EXTREME heat, but for what I do and where I go, I can get by with it.
by shinobi75 on Jun 28, 2015 Vehicle: 2013 Chevrolet Spark
the spark is an ok car if your just looking for something cheap that will get you from point a to b. chevy should of put in a turbocharger because it does not have much power, the a/c doesnt very well on a very hot day, and it has no cd player just a radio and usb. it has had a few recalls and the value of this car has gone down alot, paid around 16k and now its worth about half of that trade in.
a believable explanation (yeah, right, it was a spark plug. Sure...) lest they ran afoul of Fiasler's good graces. A dead Dart in the lobby would be far more representative of Edmunds' editorial stan...
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