BY MOTORING REPORTER
THE Chevrolet Spark, with its edgy design, offers an up to the minute trendy urban transport solution with a premium specification and a host of segment leading features. The Spark is a modern latest generation competitor in the small car value segment of the market.
In its segment the Spark offers features akin to an upmarket large car in a small car package. Even in its segment entry-level Spark Campus specification features include air-conditioning, ABS brakes with EBD, and front airbags for both driver and passenger, and key activated central locking. On a price versus features comparison with its competitors the Spark delivers an excellent value proposition with a high level of occupant protection. Add to this excellent operating economy, a segment best 5 year 120 000 kilometre warranty with Roadside Assistance for the full warranty period, and the solid reputation of the Chevrolet brand for a top-of-the-class small car.
Originally offered in just ‘L’ and ‘LS’ specification levels, General Motors South Africa (GMSA) expanded the range late last year to include the Spark Campus as an entry model to the range targeted at a cost conscious youth market. For the 2013 model year GMSA has added a top-of-the-range ‘LT’ specification level in a new four-model passenger line-up. Also added is a unique urban delivery solution, the Spark Pronto.
The Chevrolet Spark is refreshed for 2013 with the adoption of a number of exterior and interior styling revisions. The edgy, sporty profile remains but is complemented by a new contemporary frontal treatment including revised front fascia; rocker mouldings; a larger radiator grille, revised headlamp treatment, and side mirrors that incorporate turn signals.
Side-on the 2013 Spark now features a decorative chrome strip along the belt line and latest design alloy wheels in either 14 inch or 15 inch sizes for the Spark ‘LT’. A new tail-light treatment is featured at the rear along with a decorative chrome strip on the tailgate lift handle. The rear bumper is restyled with a triangular chromed tailpipe incorporated. On the ‘LS’ and ‘LT’ models a large roof spoiler incorporating a high mount stop light is a standard fitment.
Body styling on the Spark LT is enhanced with the optional Sports Style Decal kit available in white, silver, and black. This consists of components for the hood, roof panel, lift gate and rear roof spoiler.
The interior of the Chevrolet Spark for 2013 is defined by new fabric materials and designs. Minor changes have been made to the positioning of controls in the centre stack for improved ergonomics and styling. Interior trim colour is matched to exterior colour choice with four variations of interior trim available. The Spark benefits from excellent and functional space utilisation within the vehicle, including front leg and head room that rank amongst the best in the segment.
The functional and efficient space utilisation within the Spark provides adequate and comfortable seating for five with 170 litres of luggage capacity available. The rear seat offers a 60/40 fold-down split to provide a versatile increase in available luggage space. Additional storage is provided in the form of a centre console with dual cup holders and storage bin for small items such as cellphones. Both front doors have storage pockets incorporating bottle holders. Seatback pockets on passenger front seat provide generous storage for rear seat passengers.
All Spark models are powered by a latest technology 4-cylinder, 16-valve, double-overhead camshaft engine. The bore and stroke are 69,7mm X 79mm for a capacity of 1 206 cm3. The compression ratio is 9,8:1. Multi-point fuel injection is utilised for precise fuel metering with excellent fuel economy and low emissions. Maximum power is 60 kW @ 6400 r/min with peak torque of 108 Nm delivered at 4800 r/min. Drive is via a 5-speed manual transmission to the front wheels. This performance is matched to exceptional economy with average combined cycle fuel usage just 5,4 l/100km. CO2 emissions are just 129 g/km.
The specification of the range entry level Spark Campus offers features normally found in higher cost models and includes items such as power steering, air conditioner, ABS brakes, and driver and passenger airbags.
GMSA offers one of the most comprehensive vehicle warranty and roadside assistance programmes available in South Africa. As with other models in the GMSA range the Chevrolet Spark is covered by a 5 year/120 000km warranty with 5 year unlimited kilometre anti-corrosion cover. Roadside assistance is available throughout the warranty period.
Service intervals for the new Spark are 12 months or 15 000km. A service plan is available as an on cost option at the time of purchase.
Pricing ranges from R113 600 (entry), to R123 000 for Spark LS (14-inch alloy wheels, electric front windows and mirrors, auto-locking doors and steering wheel-mounted audio controls) and peaks at R136 500 for the LT (15-inch alloys, extra colour-coding on the body, rear parking sensors). Such luxury for so less, local is really lekker as SA-built Spark shows.