2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT Review

MPG-o-Matic 2013 Chevrolet Spark Review Summary: The 2013 Chevy Spark isn’t just one of the smallest cars sold in America. It’s one of the least expensive and packs a huge amount of value into its 93.5 inch wheelbase. Although the 1.2-liter engine produces a meager amount of power, it’s a hoot to weave through city traffic and slip into undersized parking spaces that most vehicles would pass up. The Spark trumps the Scion iQ and Fiat 500 when it comes to starting MSRP, passenger comfort, maximum cargo space, and powertrain warranty. With five doors and room for four adults, the Spark is the most versatile and cost-effective city car on the market today.

The Chevy Spark is fitted with a naturally aspirated DOHC 1.2-liter inline four-cylinder engine that produces 84 horsepower and 83 foot pounds of torque. The tiny four-banger can be mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission. There are three levels of trim: LS, 1LT and 2LT.

The official fuel economy estimates for the 2013 Chevrolet Spark are 32 city / 38 highway miles per gallon (MPG) for the five-speed manual and 28 city / 37 highway for the four-speed automatic.

We covered more than 400 miles on our five-speed manual-equipped Salsa Red 2LT Spark and dispensed the official mileage estimates, scoring an average of 36.6 MPG combined with temperatures ranging from the thirties through the fifties.

Along with our tester’s Salsa Red, the Spark’s standard color choices include Silver Ice, Summit White, Jalapeno Green, Denim Blue, Lemonade, and Techno Pink. You read that right: PINK. Black Granite is available at extra cost.

Our test vehicle was equipped with 15-inch machined-face aluminum alloy wheels, clad with Goodyear Integrity 185/55-15 all-season tires, and was delivered with under 4000 miles on the odometer. The 2013 Spark is equipped with an 9.2 gallon fuel tank and is designed to run on regular unleaded gasoline. Highway driving range is good. It feels far more substantial on the open road than the Scion iQ.

The Spark is fitted with an Anti-Lock Braking (ABS) system that uses 10.1 inch vented discs in the front and drums in the rear. The manual transmission-equipped Spark tips the scales at 2,237 pounds.

Make no mistake about it. The Spark is anything but a speed demon. Our best 0-60 MPH time fell in the 12 second range.

While the Spark has an Average MPG gauge, it’s lacking a Real Time display. We’d recommend adding an aftermarket unit like the AutoMeter EcoMeter or ScanGaugeE for optimal fuel economy.

The three-spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel has a sporty feel and features integrated infotainment and cruise control buttons. The motorcycle-like gauges echo the Chevy Sonic with an analog speedometer and a digital tachometer. OnStar is standard in all models. A six-speaker audio system with a seven-inch LCD screen is standard in the 1LT and 2LT, while the base LS gets by with a four-speaker system. Handsfree Bluetooth and the touchscreen Chevy MyLink system are a standout at this price point.

MyLink includes streaming Bluetooth audio, Pandora, and Stitcher, along with the requisite iPhone or Android music integration. The 7-inch screen can display video when the car is stopped and out of gear.

(I did not have the opportunity to put the Bringo navigation app, Siri Eyes Freem or TuneIn apps to the test with this car, as I’m overdue to update my iPhone.)

There’s a single twelve-volt outlet located at the base of the dash, just above the USB and auxiliary audio input ports. The 2LT’s front bucket seats have single level seat heating. The two-tone leatherette upholstery features a unique graphic pattern and the interior’s quality level exceeds what’s often expected at this price point. (The top of the line LT2 has a MSRP of $15,895.)

The hidden back door handles give the Spark the appearance of a three-door coupe.

The second row seats provides 37.3 inches of headroom and 35.2 inches of legroom. A center seat storage cubby and cup holder make it very clear … the back seat is only intended for two passengers.

The Spark offers 11.4 cubic feet of storage behind the second row seat. Folding the split seat down yields a total of 31.2 cubic feet of cargo space. The seat bottoms must be flipped forward before the seat backs are folded down. (If you’re looking for a place where cost cutting is most apparent, look no further than those seat bottoms.)

All-in-all, the South Korean-built 2013 Spark packs a lot into a tiny and inexpensive package. It’s the most versatile and cost-effective city car in America today. The 2014 model year will bring a CVT transmission and a new electric model, the Spark EV, to do battle with the Honda Fit EV and Fiat 500e. While the Spark is available overseas with a tiny three-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, it’s unclear when or if a diesel version will reach our shores.

Chevrolet Spark 2LT Pricing Information:

2013 Spark LS Manual $12,995
2013 Spark LS Automatic $13,920
2013 Spark 1LT Manual $14,595
2013 Spark 1LT Automatic $15,520
2013 Spark 2LT Manual $15,895
2013 Spark 2LT Automatic $16,820

2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT Review

Daniel Gray

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3 thoughts on “2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT Review”

  1. How’s the shifter feel compared to similar cars?
    It bugs me that they didn’t give it an analog tach and digital speedo like the Sonic – they reversed it.

  2. @Rich – For a $12K, not too bad. If I owned one, it would be one of the first things I would swap out for an aftermarket unit. Not sure what might be available …

  3. 2013 Spark LS 5-spd Owner: Mine came with an instant mpg indicator as well as avg mpg so I can switch back and forth.

    The gearshift lever doesn’t feel very substantial but it is accurate and easy to use if you don’t force it.

    MPG’s have been excellent – 38-50 around town, 44-53 on the highway. The tranny is designed to be in 5th gear by 25mph if you keep your foot out of the carburetor (sorry flash back to older cars) and pay attention to the shift indicator on the dash. If you’re managing such lower mpg numbers, try using a lighter touch on the accelerator – this car wasn’t meant to be a Corvette!

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