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There was a time when enticing Americans with any kind of subcompact car -- much less an urban runabout with a footprint at the starting end of the Environmental Protection Agency's definition of "subcompact" -- was a hopeless task for Detroit's automakers. People in a nation of big spaces, big roads, big parking lots and cheap gasoline just weren't interested. But times change, as the arrival of the Chevrolet Spark certainly shows.
Based on a Korean-developed model that once would have been considered simply too small for American drivers, the Chevy Spark makes plenty of sense today for post-recession households and young buyers lucky enough to land that first real job. Chevrolet's entry-level hatchback is stingy with fuel, and its city-friendly dimensions are in tune with our increasingly urban-centric times. Moreover, although it weighs barely more than a ton and is one of the least expensive new cars available, the Spark has the "real car" driving characteristics and feature content that inexpensive economy cars of the past almost universally lacked.
Used Chevrolet Spark Models
The current, first-generation Chevrolet Spark debuted for the 2013 model year with a different optional transmission: a four-speed conventional automatic. We found this transmission to be fixated on fuel economy and thus reluctant to downshift unless we floored it. The manual Spark still managed to be a bit more fuel-efficient. In performance testing, the automatic needed about 1.5 more seconds to reach 60 mph, so even with the pedal to the metal, it gave up considerable ground. The CVT replaced it for 2014.
If you are looking for newer years, visit our new Chevrolet Spark page.