2017 Chevy Spark Review
2017 Chevy Spark Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
Cameron Rogers has worked in the automotive industry since 2013. He has tested and reviewed hundreds of vehicles over the course of his career. Today, he leads the news team in developing cutting-edge news articles, opinion pieces and sneak peeks at upcoming vehicles. Favorite cars that he's driven during his tenure at Edmunds include the 991-era Porsche 911 Turbo S, Rolls-Royce Ghost and several generations of Honda Odyssey (really).
- Impressive number of features at an affordable price
- Can be had with optional high-tech safety features that are typically unavailable in this class
- High fuel economy
- easy to park in tight spaces
- Acceleration is very slow, both for the class and in general
- Not much rear legroom and cargo capacity
Following a complete redesign in 2016, the 2017 Spark offers a new trim level called the Activ. The Spark EV has been discontinued.
It's easy to understand the appeal of a subcompact car, especially if you are one of the tens of millions of Americans living in or near a crowded city center. These cars are easy to park, inexpensive to own and will easily get you from point A to point B. A great example of the breed is the 2017 Chevrolet Spark.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2017 Chevrolet Spark LS 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl 5M) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.12 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
$118/mo for Spark LS
Avg. Compact Car
Coming off a full redesign last year, the 2017 Spark primarily stands out for its technology-forward cabin at an affordable price. Each Spark comes standard with a rearview camera, a 4G LTE hotspot (via General Motors' OnStar service) and a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. On the Spark 2LT, you can also order an optional package to get lane departure warning and forward collision alert, two safety features not commonly found in this class of car.
The subcompact car class is well stocked by a number of appealing competitors, though. The Spark comes up a bit short in rear legroom and cargo capacity, so if space is a priority, you'd probably enjoy the roomy and versatile Honda Fit more. We're also fond of the sporty Ford Fiesta and well-rounded Hyundai Accent. Overall, though, we find the Chevrolet Spark to be a compelling model to look at, especially if you're searching for something that won't strain your bank account.
Standard safety features on the 2017 Chevrolet Spark include four-wheel antilock brakes (front discs, rear drums), a rearview camera, hill-hold assist, stability and traction control, front and
rear side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front-seat knee airbags. The OnStar service also provides automatic crash notification, on-demand roadside assistance and stolen-vehicle assistance. Forward collision alert and lane departure warning are available on the 2LT model equipped with the automatic transmission.
In safety tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, last year's Spark earned the top rating of Good in the moderate-overlap frontal-offset impact collision and side-impact tests.
In Edmunds brake testing, a Spark LT stopped from 60 mph in 121 feet, which is average for the class.
Edmunds' Expert Rating
The 2017 Chevrolet Spark is perfect for first-time buyers and city dwellers. It's inexpensive, easy to maneuver and offers plenty of amenities and safety equipment. If that sounds great to you, keep reading to learn more about Chevy's high-tech, low-cost hatchback.
Because of its modest power output, the Spark's small four-cylinder engine is best suited for around-town use. A CVT-equipped Spark takes a bit more than 11 seconds to reach 60 mph from a standstill, so highway on-ramp runs require some advance planning. Although we haven't yet tested a Spark equipped with the five-speed manual transmission, we expect it to be slightly slower than the CVT-equipped model.
The Spark's tallish body fosters the impression of a European cargo van left too long in the clothes dryer. Thankfully, the Spark doesn't drive like a van. Although far from a sport sedan, this petite Chevy remains surprisingly agile around turns and delivers a well-mannered ride overall. There's noticeable road and wind noise, but it's no more intrusive than in other cars at this price point. It's also impressively easy to park, even in tight spaces.
Up front, the 2017 Chevrolet Spark surrounds you with a simple, clean and modern interior, but it's difficult to ignore the vast expanse of painted plastic bits, admittedly a common sight on cars in this price range. The color-accented dash and door panels, well-textured trim pieces and swoopy sculpting help you overlook some of the hard plastic surfaces. Sporty gauges featuring both a traditional speedometer and a digital multifunction display add visual appeal.
The MyLink touchscreen infotainment system adds to the Spark's modern vibe. It has intuitive menus, sharp graphics and a 7-inch touchscreen that supports smartphone-imitating gestures like pinching and swiping. Apple CarPlay lets you run your iPhone from the touchscreen in a familiar manner, while Android Auto does the same for smartphones using the Google-based operating system.
Considering its small size, the Spark provides spacious seating for most adults to get comfortable, even on longer drives. Still, the upright position of the front seats gives the impression that you're sitting on the chairs rather than in them, and there's no real lateral support. While the Spark's rear seats are larger than many in the subcompact segment, they're still best suited to smaller passengers. Average-size adults will likely complain about the low seat cushions and headrests.
Cargo capacity checks in at 11.1 cubic feet behind the rear seats and 27.2 cubic feet with the rear seats lowered. Both figures are below average for the class. For comparison, the Honda Fit boasts 52.7 cubic feet of maximum space.
2017 Chevrolet Spark models
The 2017 Chevrolet Spark is a four-passenger, four-door subcompact hatchback offered in four trims: LS, 1LT, 2LT and Activ.
In addition to the safety features listed in the Safety section below, standard features on the LS trim include 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlamps, a rear spoiler, a rearview camera, air conditioning, a 60/40-split folding rear seat, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt steering wheel, a trip computer, outside temperature display, carpeted floor mats, Chevy's OnStar telematics system with a 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, and the MyLink infotainment system.
MyLink includes a 7-inch touchscreen display, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a USB port, smartphone app integration, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, and a four-speaker audio system with an auxiliary jack.
Opting for the 1LT trim adds 15-inch alloy wheels, foglights, heated, power-adjustable mirrors, cruise control, remote keyless entry, power windows and door locks, steering-wheel-mounted audio and phone controls, a theft-deterrent system, satellite radio and a six-speaker audio system.
Moving up to the 2LT adds premium vinyl upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry and ignition, heated front seats, rear parking sensors and chrome exterior trim.
The new Spark Activ is similar to the 2LT but has roof rails, special 15-inch wheels and bodywork, and a raised suspension that provides 0.4 inch of additional ground clearance.
A sunroof is available on all LT trims, and the Driver Confidence package (forward collision warning and lane departure warning) can be ordered on the 2LT with the continuously variable transmission (CVT).
The 2017 Spark equipped with the manual transmission returns an EPA-rate 33 mpg in combined driving (29 city/38 highway). The CVT model also yields 33 mpg combined (30 city/38 highway). For the Activ trim level, the manual-equipped returns 32 mpg combined and the automatic-equipped is good for 33 mpg combined.
In Edmunds testing, a CVT-equipped Spark accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 11.3 seconds, making it one of the slower cars in its class.
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
It does what it does VERY well
2017 Chevrolet Spark LS 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl 5M)
I've owned the car over 7 months and love it. I was looking for a good mid-sized used car but kept checking on the new little cars. I found the deal on this for under $9000 and had to go for it. I especially liked the technology package, that will connect to my smart phone using all its functionality over the display. My only concern, after doing my research, was whether I would fit … into it as I am 6'3 and over 300 lbs. With the seat all the way back, I was good. In particular, I found I had all the knee room I would need. I could take this on a long trip with no real trouble. The back seat is absolutely useless to me because I do not transport children and an adult would NEVER fit in. I removed the back seat cushions, folded the seat back down and have what I call a 'two seater wagon'. I've done a lot of transporting cargo and been surprised what it will carry. Performance is not sporty by any means, but it is always competent. Acceleration is adequate and never lacking, steering is what you would expect from a small car, transmission and clutch are fine, and the suspension handles what the road throws at it. I drive 4 miles to work and every couple of weeks go on weekend excursions, and have gotten 36.7 MPG over the past 5 months. The paint, fit, and finish is wonderful, and the styling is very nice. All these things I love about the car, but be aware of what it does NOT do. It does NOT have power seats, windows or mirrors, so get into the habit of cranking windows again. It does NOT have cruise control. It does not have remote control for the door locks but it does lock the doors automatically when driving and it will not allow you to unlock the car while the car is running - kind of odd. The hatch only opens with the key, no remote switch. With the back seat down, the floor is not flat but is low in the middle. These negatives are insignificant considering all the positives of the car. A note on the geopolitics of the car -- it is made in South Korea by what used to be Daewoo. I never expected to by a GM car after the bailout by taxpayers and I'm still not happy about supporting GM, but this car REALLY gets it done for me so I put politics behind me. I've owned this car for a year and everything I've said about the car is still true. Gas mileage is still outstanding and there have been zero problems. I really like it. Two years and 35k and the car still hums. No repairs, just standard maintenance. OK! its been what four years now? I still love the car and put about 75k with no break downs. I hit a fox on the interstate and it took out the front bumper, grill, radiator, and AC pump (Yes, a fox did all that). My commute is now 61 highway miles and I regularly get over 40 MPG over hilly terrain although I noticed that in cold weather I get 10% lower mileage. The car has performed outstandingly. No constant annoying rattles like cars this age develop, and everything still works fine. The AC is still very cold. I haven't been annoyed by the lack of power anything, and the Android Auto has been super. As far as a used car goes, it is worth far more to me than the price I could get for it 7/4/2021 So I'm still loving my car, the pandemic kept the miles down, I've only changed the oil and done regular upkeep. The engine is sounding a little throaty, and seems to have lost half a step of peppiness, which is not surprising at 89k miles. The paint still looks outstanding, the interior has held up well, I think that GM did a good thing, even as they were doing so many crazy things during their 2008 crash 5 year anniversary. Just turned 97k miles and it is still rock solid in every way. Driving on open highways 60 miles to and from work, I'm still getting 39.2 MPG. No mechanical issues, I got my share of dings and wear, but when I shine it up is looks new. I still wish I had Cruise Control and remote control door locks, but considering how perfectly it has been working. I'm pleased to take it everywhere I go! 7/6/22 Still loving my car, it is beginning to show signs of wear, which is to be expected for 111k miles. Finish is still fine except where my son backed into it. Mileage is 40.1 MPG on all highway, I'm starting to hear some squeaks coming from the engine, and the AC need service. Interior and gauges are fine, and Android Auto is doing what it does. Still believe that this has been a fine commuter vehicle with added value as a 'wagon'.
5 out of 5 stars
Redneck buys Spark to drive 'til daughter turns 16
J Scott Flowers, 01/14/2017
2017 Chevrolet Spark 1LT 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl CVT)
Truly impressed so far. Have only put 2500 miles on it. It's by far the neatest car I've ever owned. Not saying a whole lot there. The last new car I bought was a 94 Olds Achieva. That was sporty back in those days. I'd say the Spark is funner to drive. Since then I've owned old pickup trucks and used cars, so the Spark is high tech to me. I drive once a month a 500 mile round trip and … around town besides that. It seems to have a slight lull in accelaration as if pressing the gas takes a wee too long before it starts going. I've gotten used to it, and it's really not a problem. Acceleration is remarkably quick, and I have no problem on the interstate keeping up. Love the cruise control and use it in places I've never used cruise control before because it's so convenient. Get up to speed limit and move my thumb on the steering wheel, and let it go. Defogger and rear wiper are neat. My daughter thinks that's cool. Backup camera is cool, but beware that objects appear further away than they really are. Still use the mirrors to be sure. Visibility is great. Wifi is the cat's meow, and checking the car's location or unlocking it with my phone is awesome. So far, so good. I can afford it, and feel I have one of the nicest cars on the road, in spite of it looking like a puddle jumper.
5 out of 5 stars
Great For High Mileage, Cool Tech, Tight Parking!
C. Tatum, 01/05/2017
2017 Chevrolet Spark LS 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl CVT)
I am a simple kind of guy, and my goal with getting another vehicle was very simple – get a new vehicle at a reasonably low price. Happily, the 2017 Spark is simple in all the ways I like – I got the base LS model because I’m not a fan of power anything (power stuff breaks first). The only “power” options I wanted and got on the Spark were power steering and an automatic transmission. … The most common descriptor my friends use for the Spark is “cute.” It’s quite a small vehicle, but it’s one I have no problem fitting my 5’ 11”, 230-pound frame into. The seats, while not easy-chair material, are sufficiently comfortable. The Spark is good with mirrors and window space – blind spots on either side of the car have been kept to a minimum. The rear-view mirror inside the cabin could be a little wider, but it’s adequate. And the rear window is wide enough to monitor tailgaters. Internal storage space, as has been widely written about, isn’t very much, but you can fold the rear seats down for additional space. It also has two rear doors which might be suitable for loading large items as well as associates. Much has also been written about the Spark’s 98-horsepower engine and that it takes 10 seconds to get to 60 mph. I have not found it to be a problem. I would not call it underpowered at all. If you’re an angry, pushy driver who loves to tailgate others, the Spark will exhaust your patience. But if you’re a judicious, considerate driver, the Spark’s acceleration won’t be an issue for you. I was a little surprised to find out the Spark has a 9.2-gallon tank – the smallest in any vehicle I’ve ever owned, but that’s offset by its high-rated fuel mileage of 38mpg (highway) and up. If you do the math, that’s a cruising range of at least 340 miles. This is not a “touring” car, but for 180- to 250-mile trips that I take on occasion, I’m confident the Spark can handle the pull. The deal clincher for me was under the hood – the EcoTec engine, this one a 1.4-liter jobbie – is the centerpiece of the Spark. I became a huge fan of EcoTec with my last car which lasted over 296,000 miles with that original engine. Unlike the Fiat 500, you can use 87 octane fuel with the Spark. Compared with what I’ve read about similar subcompacts, the Spark’s instrument panel and dash are welcomingly simple and very nicely designed. No screen is too “busy”. If you have an Android or iPhone smartphone, you can plug either device into the USB jack and access music and certain mobile apps from those devices on the touch-screen display. The semi-digital dash on the base model is the carries a nice amount of information including mpg, miles to empty, and average speed. The 1LT and 2LT models are supposed to be even better on this point. The radio does NOT pick up HD channels (at least not in the base model), so get your premium stations thru your Bluetooth enabled smartphone and apps like Sirius XM or Pandora. The Spark includes several modern conveniences and safety features such as a rear backup camera and the MyChevy touch-screen control system with Bluetooth. You get a 3-month trial of OnStar remote monitoring and assistance free, too, as well as built-in 4G wi-fi service you can add on for as little as $10 a month (1 GB). Automatic lights, cup holders, and too many other features to include in this short review. The Spark is a good, simple little car that has in reviews been compared favorably in specific ways to the pricier Honda Fit, the trendy Fiat 500, the practical Nissan Versa, and the equally reliable Toyota Yaris. The Spark stands out, though, for its integrated OnStar service and onboard technology. If you’re in a precarious situation with savings or credit score, and you need basic transportation, you’ll like the Spark a lot. If you’re a road hog, or a gearhead, look elsewhere. The Spark is most certainly not a ride for hipsters (unless they’re driving it ironically). For its high fuel mileage, its maneuverability in tight parking spaces, its safety features, and its integrated smartphone technology, not to mention its low price relative to other vehicles in its class, the 2017 Spark earns its 5 stars overall. Just a few things keep it from being an absolutely perfect subcompact, but no one has made one of those yet! Take a test drive! You’ll love it!
4 out of 5 stars
Good Little Car - Real Cheap
2017 Chevrolet Spark 1LT 4dr Hatchback (1.4L 4cyl CVT)
Given the immense supply in North American dealerships these cars should be a steal. After one year of ownership I've had zero problems reliability-wise. The front seats are good and can fit two big dudes no problem provided you stagger the seatbacks a little. Android Auto is fantastic. The CVT isn't. If you can drive manual or want to learn this would be a great car to do so, especially … with the hill holder feature - the CVT is angry, doesn't like to rev, and will leave you motionless from a stop on steep hills unless you throw it into L. Don't be afraid to use the L mode on hills, up or down. Otherwise this car is very easy to park, good on gas, and painless to drive in traffic. It's actually kind of fun to throw into curves too. Just know that if you have tall people in the front seats no one is going to be sitting behind them. Also: the stock Kumho tires my car arrived with were bad in the snow, definitely get snow tires if you'll be dealing with serious winters. Another year in - no issues with the car whatsoever. Just one recall.
2017 Chevrolet Spark video
BRYN MACKINNON: I'm Bryn MacKinnon from Edmunds, and this is an Edmund's expert rundown of the 2017 Chevrolet Spark. Whether you're looking for your first car, or you're just looking for something small and agile to motor around town in, the 2017 Chevrolet Spark is worth a look. The Spark was just redesigned last year so there aren't any changes for 2017. Right up front, it's worth noting that the Spark is one of the slowest cars in its class. If you're looking for something peppy, this probably isn't the ride for you. Despite that lack of power, this is a pretty good subcompact car with some nice available tech and impressive fuel economy. The Spark is rated by the EPA at an impressive 41 miles per gallon on the highway. And if you're driving the Spark in a crowded city, the small exterior dimensions will definitely help you squeeze into tight parking spots. That size means it's tight on the inside though, with limited hip and shoulder room, both up front and in the back seat. Legroom and headroom in the back suffer too. So four adults will have a hard time squeezing in. The trunk isn't very large either, even by class standards. It should be enough for at least one or two suitcases, but for big road trips you might need to fall down one of the rear seats. Bottom line with the 2017 Spark is that you're looking at a low-cost hatchback with a few nice available tech amenities, but it's not that impressive out on the road. Rivals like the Honda Fit, Hyundai Accent, and Ford Fiesta are worth checking out before you make your final choice. For more Edmunds' expert rundowns, click the link to subscribe.
2017 Chevrolet Spark Expert Rundown Review
Looking for a high-tech, low-cost hatchback that's inexpensive, easy to maneuver and offers plenty of amenities and safety equipment? The 2017 Chevrolet Spark might be worth checking out. Here's a quick rundown of what we like, what we don't and the bottom line from the Edmunds… editors.
2017 Spark Highlights
|Combined MPG||33 MPG|
|Cost to Drive||$118/month|
|Cargo Capacity |
All Seats In Place
|Drivetrain||front wheel drive|
|Warranty||3 years / 36,000 miles|
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Small Overlap Front Driver-Side TestNot Tested
- Small Overlap Front Passenger-Side TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – OriginalGood
- Moderate Overlap Front Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Side Impact Test – OriginalGood
- Side Impact Test – UpdatedNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintNot Tested