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  • 2015
  • 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV

#14

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $26,685 - $27,010
Invoice: $25,618 - $25,930
MPG: N/A
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Chevrolet Spark EV Performance

Reviewers say the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV’s zippy acceleration and agile handling make it a fun car for tooling around the city. Its ride is quieter and more composed than rival electric cars, they add. Some critics note that the regenerative brakes feel numb and it takes a very firm push of the pedal to slow the Spark EV. Several auto writers say that the long charging time and limited range could be a major drawback for some drivers.

  • "Apart from these practical considerations, the electric Spark is in many measures a better-performing car than its gasoline counterpart. The Spark EV accelerates more quickly and effortlessly handles the pace of urban traffic. As we noted in our 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV rating, this is easily the best-driving EV in this price range." -- Edmunds
  • "Though we were impressed with the Spark EV, just what we found impressive came as a surprise: It's not a rocketship, despite its 400 lb-ft. of instant torque. Yet it's vastly smoother and more refined than EVs that have come before.” -- Left Lane News
  • "The Spark EV's electric powerplant also gives the car a refined feel, as the EV model feels more substantial and better built than the standard, gas-powered Spark. Thanks to the electric motor, it's quieter and smoother, too.” -- AutoTrader
  • "The Spark EV will, not surprisingly, destroy a gas-powered Spark in a straight line. That's where it seems like an SS." -- Motor Trend

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV has an electric motor that produces 140 horsepower and 400 pound-feet of torque. It has a single-speed transmission. The Spark EV gets an EPA-estimated 128/109 mpg-equivalent, which is slightly better than that of the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric. On a full battery, the Spark EV can go about 82 miles, which is on par with rival electric cars.

Test drivers say the Chevrolet Spark EV is a capable city runabout and is notably peppier off the line compared to its gas-only rivals, thanks to its electric motor, which generates lots of torque, even more than sports cars like the Ferrari 458.

  • "Right out of the gate, the Spark EV feels fast -- especially from a dead stop -- thanks to its 400 lb-ft of torque. It may not look the part, but the Spark EV really pushes you back in your seat when you push down on the accelerator.” -- AutoTrader
  • "Compared to the gasoline-powered Spark (or any other conventional subcompact car), the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV accelerates quite briskly. Cut-and-thrust maneuvers through suburban traffic are no problem at all, given the car's immense low-end torque." -- Edmunds
  • “As we saw in its recent commercial, Chevy is enjoying the fact that the Spark EV puts out more torque than a Ferrari 458 Italia, but more than just a marketing gimmick, this abundance of torque makes the EV surprisingly quick and fun to drive. In fact, the bounty of torque was enough to get the low-rolling-resistance Bridgestone tires to chirp on a couple occasions." -- Autoblog
  • "Goose it at around 20 mph, though, and you'll get a brief glimpse at that sea of torque beneath the hood, as it'll rip your head back a bit. The Spark EV is definitely the quickest of its competitors - but not substantially so. It'll never leave you breathless." -- Left Lane News

Alternative Fuels/Charging

Chevrolet says the Spark EV’s lithium-ion battery recharges in about 20 hours when plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet and in seven hours using a 240-volt outlet. The Spark EV is also available with a fast charger that Chevrolet says will charge the battery to 80 percent capacity in about 20 minutes. Drivers can monitor the battery level and estimated range in real time on the gauges and adjust their driving style to maximize battery life.

  • "Still, the main knock against the electric Chevy Spark is its lengthy recharging time." -- Edmunds
  • "Given access to the new SAE charger, I suspect many commuters could make the Spark EV work, but for others the range just isn't there." -- Motor Trend
  • "According to EPA, the Spark EV also returns 82 miles of range -- though we think it can do even better if you drive conservatively." -- AutoTrader
  • "We started the day with a full charge, with the confidence gauge showing a range between 75 and 90 miles. Throughout the day, this gauge proved to be a useful tool, as it accurately showed the expected available range based on driving style and surrounding road conditions.” -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

Most reviewers say the Chevrolet Spark EV feels steady around curves and is fun to drive. Steering is accurate, they say, though not very communicative. The ride is generally smooth and composed, test drivers add. Test drivers also note that it’s extremely easy to maneuver and park in small spaces. Some critics take issue with the regenerative brakes, saying that you have to press down quite hard on the pedal to get any response from the brakes.

  • "The electric power steering responds quickly, even if its light effort guarantees there isn't much in the way of feedback. The Spark EV feels nicely planted when going around turns, and unusual for a car with such a small footprint, it has a relatively composed highway ride with minimal choppiness over seams and ruts." -- Edmunds
  • "The Spark EV is quick out of the hole, and it's the easiest thing this side of a motorcycle to place in tight gaps in traffic. Parking usually isn't an issue either, given its diminutive size." -- Motor Trend
  • "The regenerative braking is not as grabby as that of some systems, which is nice, but the pedal pressure required to achieve the desired rate of deceleration is too high, and the driver has to keep a firm foot on the brake at stoplights to keep the car from creeping forward." -- Popular Mechanics
  • "Instead, it shines brightest during cruising and cornering. Delightfully smooth, the Spark EV benefits from engineering work to the drivetrain, which dials in positive or negative torque as needed. The result is a degree of refinement we haven't seen before in an EV.” -- Left Lane News
  • "Recalibrated springs, dampers, and suspension components strive to make good on Chevy's promise that the Spark EV is ‘fun to drive,’ and they mostly succeed-the handling felt pleasantly balanced and responsive on Portland's curving parkway roads, the steering a little sharper than in the gas model, if still lacking in feel. Grip might be a concern." -- Car and Driver
Review Last Updated: 5/16/14

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