2013 Chevrolet Spark

General Motors is certainly taking some bold moves with their 2013 models and the recent introduction of the 2013 Chevrolet Spark is another step in the right direction.  The Chevrolet Spark is based on the South Korean platform of the Daewoo Matiz model which has already proven to be a potent sales success in other parts of the world. Having the opportunity to drive the Spark over a one week period, we can honestly say, if we were in the market for a small, fun, economical vehicle this would be at the top of our list. We were pleasantly surprised how much fun we ended up having behind the wheel of little “Sparky”, an endearing name my wife came up with which suits the car’s personality perfectly.

The combination of compliments from teenagers, its peppy performance and the utter jubilation of filling the gas tank at a price I can only remember from my high school days, there is a so much to love about this car.

We drove in both city and highway environments and the Spark passed all the usual tests with flying colours while being ultra convenient for parking and large enough to grab a few groceries in between. All the while, we averaged 6.5L/100KMs (36 MPG US) which is very solid fuel efficiency for a combined city and highway driving experience.

As for things we did not like, similar to the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic, the passenger seat is missing an armrest which can be aggravating on a long trip. As well, the steering wheel column is poorly designed since it is attached to the gauges as all one piece, this results in the steering wheel blocking the top of the speedometer from view.  However, aside from those two things, the Spark performed amazingly well, and was fun to drive around town.

The interior is solid for an entry level car and competes with anything on the market today. Of course, saying that, you get what you pay for as our tester was the top of the line model.

Our 2013 Chevrolet Spark review vehicle came in the 2LT Manual trim package which includes the following features:

  • ECOTEC 1.2L DOHC four cylinder engine
  • Horsepower: (hp @ rpm): 84 @ 6,400
  • Torque (lb.-ft. @ rpm): 83 @ 4,200
  • 5-Speed Manual transmission
  • Leatherette Seat Trim
  • Wheels: 15″ x 6″ Machined Faced Painted Aluminum
  • 10 airbags
  • Heated High Back Bucket Seats
  • OnStar ®System With 6 Months Directions and Connections Plan
  • Air conditioning, keyless entry, power windows, locks and mirrors, cruise control, and SiriusXM Satellite Radio
  • Trunk/storage space – Flip-and-fold rear seat with 31.2 cu. ft. (884 L) of cargo volume – based on GM Canada’s vehicle information
  • Chevrolet MyLink  TouchTM –  AM/FM stereo, 6 speakers, seek-and-scan, digital clock, 7″ diagonal colour touch-screen, Bluetooth streaming audio for music and select phones, Stitcher smartphone compatible, cruise control, steering wheel controls, software updatable for radio software and 1 USB/iPod/MP3 input jack located in front centre stack storage bin.
  • $16,995 MSRP* CAD MSRP from GM Canada’s website as of December 3, 2012

GM has recently announced they will be producing an electric version of the Spark as a 2014 model in selected markets.  The electrified version of the Spark will have a whopping 400lbs of torque and will do zero-to-60 mph in less than eight seconds. We can’t wait to get behind the wheel to see how it compares to its internal combustion engine sibling.

GM has also announced that select models of both the Sonic and the Spark will be receiving Siri integration.  Driver’s with a compatible iPhone will be able to hands free:

  • Make voice-activated, hands-free calls to Contacts on their iPhone
  • Play songs in the iTunes library, and even switch music sources automatically from AM/FM/XM radio to iPod mode
  • Listen to, and compose and send an iMessage or text message to a phone number or anyone in saved Contacts
  • Access Calendar and add appointments
  • Minimize distraction even more by keeping the screen of the iPhone from lighting up, even when Siri answers simple questions such as game scores or the dates of national holidays
  • While in Eyes Free mode, Siri will not provide answers to complex questions that require displaying a web page.


The micro or subcompact segment is growing fast as many manufactures now offer models in the category.  The key players currently competing with the Chevrolet Spark for buyers here in Canada  include the Ford Fiesta, Mazda2, Fiat 500, Smart fortwo, Toyota Yaris and Hyundai Accent.

2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ Review

Earlier this month, we accepted GM Canada’s offer to provide us with a 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ test vehicle to do a one week evaluation. In doing the review we drove the Chevy Sonic in both urban and rural environments to experience first hand what GM’s newest subcompact product is all about.  And I have to say, it did not disappoint and exceeded our expectations overall of what a subcompact car should be.  From its unique and distinctive styling, well appointed interior, powerful turbo engine, fun, six speed manual transmission and eco-friendly footprint it really is a solid car able to compete with the best cars in its class.

Our tester was a top of the line 5 door LTZ model which comes with all the bells and whistles including:

  • 1.4L Turbocharged ECOTEC four cylinder engine with 138 horsepower and 148 lb.-ft. of torque at 2500 RPM
  • 6-speed manual transmission with overdrive
  • Air conditioning, keyless entry, power windows, locks and mirrors, cruise control, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, USB port and auxiliary audio input jack, and Bluetooth: hands free phone and audio connectivity.
  • 17 inch painted aluminum wheels
  • Trunk/storage space – 19 cubic feet with rear seats up and 30.7 cubic feet with rear seats folded down – based on GM Canada’s vehicle information
  • $20,495 MSRP based on GM Canada’s website as of May 27, 2012

Some key facts about the Chevy Sonic:

  • Currently built in GM’s Lake Orion, Michigan plant, the Sonic is the only Subcompact car sold in North America manufactured within the United States.
  • This is really great news for us in North America as it signals more good things to come from GM in the way of innovative and high quality products.

With its modern, machined metal look and driver focused feel the Sonic’s interior has the appearance of a much more expensive automobile inside.  

We found the Sonic’s driver and passenger visibility to be very good overall which is reassuring since there has been some recent criticism about driver visibility within the subcompact vehicle segment.

And with a highway fuel consumption rating of 5.1 L/100 KM as based on GM Canada’s manufacturer information the Sonic is very fuel efficient even for its class.  An effective eco-feature with the six speed manual transmission is a notification on the dash of when to shift to a higher gear in order to save fuel.  While it’s hard to say if this feature will really change anyone’s driving behaviour, it is very cool to know what the optimal shift times are.

The nimble Sonic is a blast to drive. When accelerating off the line it felt solid, ready to give you more. The engine is very responsive as is both steering and braking.  The ride is elegantly quiet and smooth.  Literally, the only complaint over the week was the fact that there was not an armrest on the passenger seat, or a high enough centre console for the passenger to rest an arm – not exactly a big deal in the whole scheme of things.

Competitors to the Sonic in this subcompact class include the Ford Fiesta, Hyundai Accent, Kia Rio, Nissan Versa and the Mazda 2.

Our overall rating for the Chevrolet Sonic is a 4.5 out of 5. With this type of stellar performance, it should be at the top of your list if you are in the market for a new sporty subcompact.