Chevrolet Spark Performance
Most auto writers say the 2015 Chevrolet Spark delivers precise handling, and they note that it is ideal for city driving thanks to its tight turning radius and small dimensions. Some add, however, that the Spark is not very well-suited for highway driving.
- "Chevy's city-friendly microcar can turn on a dime and fits anywhere, but is not ideal for long highway commutes." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Serious drivers might feel there's something lacking under the hood, but if you're not taxing the powerplant too much, you should be able to get decent fuel economy in the 30 mpg range." -- AutoTrader (2014)
- “Thankfully, it doesn't drive like a misshapen van, as it's remarkably agile around turns." -- Edmunds (2014)
- "Performance is modest though, let's be clear, in this segment the Spark more than holds its own." -- Road and Track (2013)
Acceleration and Power
The 2015 Chevrolet Spark comes with an 84-horsepower, 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) is available. With the manual transmission, the Spark gets an EPA-estimated 31/39 mpg city/highway, which is great for a subcompact car.
Although the Spark has a low horsepower rating for the class, test drivers think it has sufficient power for city driving and can hold its own accelerating onto the highway. Some critics feel the five-speed manual transmission makes the best use of the engine’s power, which they say makes the Spark more fun to drive.
- "True, the 83 horsepower generated from its tiny 1.2-liter engine doesn't sound like much, but it's enough to move this sub-2,400-pound car in and around traffic." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "While the Spark won't win any drag races, its 4-cylinder engine isn't severely taxed by its roughly 2,200-lb curb weight. The automatic CVT is an improvement over the 4-speed, but it's still designed more for fuel economy than for outright acceleration. Opt for the 5-speed manual, and you'll appreciate having more control over power delivery -- not to mention the fun of rowing your own gears." -- AutoTrader
- "With only 84 hp -- less than many motorcycles -- it's clear that the 2014 Chevrolet Spark is not intended to excite or inspire. With the five-speed manual transmission, there's adequate acceleration for merging onto freeways." -- Edmunds (2014)
The all-electric Chevrolet Spark EV is powered by a rechargeable battery and gets an EPA-estimated 128/109 mpg-equivalent, which is slightly better than that of all-electric rivals, such as the Nissan Leaf and Ford Focus Electric. The Spark EV can go about 82 miles on a full battery, and it takes around 20 hours to fully charge when plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet. An available 240-volt power cord charges the battery in about seven hours.
Handling and Braking
Reviewers agree that the 2015 Chevrolet Spark has nimble handling and responsive, precise steering. However, some critics say the Spark has a bit of body roll when cornering, and that it can feel jittery at high speeds.
- "The Spark is tossable in corners, but body roll is present. Wind and road noise are quite noticeable in the cabin, but at least we didn't have to shout to converse. At higher speeds the Spark can feel jumpy, and for that reason, it wouldn't be our first choice for freeway driving." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "Although the Spark is far from a sport sedan, this small Chevy still manages to deliver well-mannered driving characteristics overall." -- Edmunds (2014)
- "The steering is quick, precise, and provides better feedback than we've experienced in other small cars with electric steering and, just as important, doesn't get twitchy at higher speeds." -- Automobile Magazine (2013)
Next Steps: Chevrolet Spark
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