FIRST DRIVE: Chevrolet re-ignites its Spark

Autos Apr 02, 2016 by Jim Robinson Oshawa This Week

Chevrolet calls the 2016 sub-compact Spark the “ultimate mobile device” with some justification.

Starting at $9,995, it has standard Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, standard Bluetooth and standard OnStar 4G LTE with WiFi hotspot that includes a 3G/three-month data trial.

Also part of the package is the all-new Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with seven-inch colour touchscreen.

In terms of safety, a rear-view camera and 10 air bags are standard.

Chevrolet makes no bones about going aggressively after buyers well under 50 years of age and making about $50,000 a year, and that means people whose lives revolve around being connected.

At the press preview of the 2016 Spark in Toronto, a Chevy presenter said people in the target demographic will line up around the block for the latest cellphone, but rarely walk into a car dealership.

So to entice them, the MyLink infotainment system has a seven-inch centre stack touchscreen with icons similar to those found on a smartphone interface and allows users to swipe, pinch and use gestures making it intuitive for even those without smartphones.

When it comes to Apple CarPlay, you simply plug in your phone and CarPlay takes over, providing all the iPhone features customers want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple manner.

It enables drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. Apple CarPlay supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third-party apps.

The Android Auto system is predicated on Google Maps with Google Now giving the driver the ability to talk to Google or access a growing number of apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify and podcast players.

Many features for both applications can be controlled via voice commands through a button on the steering wheel, helping drivers spend more time with eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

At the launch, I plugged in my iPhone and asked Siri to call my wife at work, which it duly did seamlessly. How Siri understands what people are asking with all the accents and dialects is beyond me.

In Canada, the Spark is classified as a sub-compact, but in the U.S. it is considered a “mini-car” which seems a more apt description.

With an overall length of 3.6 metres it’s definitely on the small side and similar in size and competes against the Nissan Micra and Mitsubishi Mirage and the more expensive smart fortwo and Fiat 500.

Last year, Nissan came out with the Micra at $9,998, making it the most affordable car in Canada.

Chevrolet is convinced the suite of standard features on the base LS model that the others don’t offer will be the tipping point for those who want a new car at a used car price.

The $9,995 LS comes with a five-speed manual that increases to $13,895 with two-step CVT. The 1LT and 2LT come with the manual standard and CVT optional.

The 1LT with CVT (as tested here) will probably be the volume model, although Chevrolet said it is bringing in a bunch of LS models, 90 per cent of which are manuals.

All Sparks are powered by a new 1.4-litre, inline four-cylinder non-turbo with 98 hp and 94 lb/ft of torque. By comparison, the last Spark had a 1.2-litre with 84 hp and 83 lb/ft of torque.

It doesn’t sound like a lot of power, but it is quite peppy especially in an urban setting, where Chevrolet estimates something like 42 per cent will be sold in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver alone.

With a wheelbase of 2,385, the wheels are really pushed to the corners and the result is a reasonably roomy interior, but with an adequate 838 mm of legroom in the rear with Chevrolet admitting rear seating is for two only.

The roof is lower and the stylists gave Spark a lot of character lines so it wouldn’t look upright and boxy.

The trunk, at 314.4 litres, is adequate, but it grows to 770.3 with the 60:40 back seat folded.

Part of the media launch exercise with the Spark was to find an IKEA store and purchase up to $100 in goods to be given to a needy charity and deliver it in the vehicle.

My drive partner and I chose small tool sets, drills and screw and nut packages, which we dropped off in hopes of making a small difference.

And the end of the day, we both agreed the little Spark have also delivered a number of welcome surprises besides its price and content.

Bottom line is this car should Spark the interest of any sub-compact buyer, especially in the city.

What’s Best: Unrivalled connectivity with content/price to match.

What’s Worst: Could use more power, but fine in a mainly city setting.

What’s Interesting: How did Chevrolet squeeze 10 airbags into something as small as the Spark?


CHEVROLET SPARK 2016 AT A GLANCE

BODY STYLE: Five-door, four-passenger hatchback subcompact

DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive, five-speed manual transmission standard, two-step CVT optional

ENGINE: 1.4-litre DOHC inline four-cylinder (98 hp, 94 lb/ft)

FUEL CONSUMPTION: Manual, 7.8/5.8/6.9L/100 km city/highway/combined; CVT, 7.6/5.7/6.7L/100 km

CARGO CAPACITY: 314.4 litres; 770.3 litres with rear seated folded

TOW RATING: Not recommended

PRICE: Base LS, $9,995; LS CVT, $13,895; 1LT manual, $14,195; 2LT manual $18,195 not including $1,600 shipping fee

WEB SITE: www.gm.ca

Jim Robinson is an automotive journalist for Metroland Media

FIRST DRIVE: Chevrolet re-ignites its Spark

Autos Apr 02, 2016 by Jim Robinson Oshawa This Week

Chevrolet calls the 2016 sub-compact Spark the “ultimate mobile device” with some justification.

Starting at $9,995, it has standard Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, standard Bluetooth and standard OnStar 4G LTE with WiFi hotspot that includes a 3G/three-month data trial.

Also part of the package is the all-new Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with seven-inch colour touchscreen.

In terms of safety, a rear-view camera and 10 air bags are standard.

Chevrolet makes no bones about going aggressively after buyers well under 50 years of age and making about $50,000 a year, and that means people whose lives revolve around being connected.

At the press preview of the 2016 Spark in Toronto, a Chevy presenter said people in the target demographic will line up around the block for the latest cellphone, but rarely walk into a car dealership.

So to entice them, the MyLink infotainment system has a seven-inch centre stack touchscreen with icons similar to those found on a smartphone interface and allows users to swipe, pinch and use gestures making it intuitive for even those without smartphones.

When it comes to Apple CarPlay, you simply plug in your phone and CarPlay takes over, providing all the iPhone features customers want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple manner.

It enables drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. Apple CarPlay supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third-party apps.

The Android Auto system is predicated on Google Maps with Google Now giving the driver the ability to talk to Google or access a growing number of apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify and podcast players.

Many features for both applications can be controlled via voice commands through a button on the steering wheel, helping drivers spend more time with eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

At the launch, I plugged in my iPhone and asked Siri to call my wife at work, which it duly did seamlessly. How Siri understands what people are asking with all the accents and dialects is beyond me.

In Canada, the Spark is classified as a sub-compact, but in the U.S. it is considered a “mini-car” which seems a more apt description.

With an overall length of 3.6 metres it’s definitely on the small side and similar in size and competes against the Nissan Micra and Mitsubishi Mirage and the more expensive smart fortwo and Fiat 500.

Last year, Nissan came out with the Micra at $9,998, making it the most affordable car in Canada.

Chevrolet is convinced the suite of standard features on the base LS model that the others don’t offer will be the tipping point for those who want a new car at a used car price.

The $9,995 LS comes with a five-speed manual that increases to $13,895 with two-step CVT. The 1LT and 2LT come with the manual standard and CVT optional.

The 1LT with CVT (as tested here) will probably be the volume model, although Chevrolet said it is bringing in a bunch of LS models, 90 per cent of which are manuals.

All Sparks are powered by a new 1.4-litre, inline four-cylinder non-turbo with 98 hp and 94 lb/ft of torque. By comparison, the last Spark had a 1.2-litre with 84 hp and 83 lb/ft of torque.

It doesn’t sound like a lot of power, but it is quite peppy especially in an urban setting, where Chevrolet estimates something like 42 per cent will be sold in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver alone.

With a wheelbase of 2,385, the wheels are really pushed to the corners and the result is a reasonably roomy interior, but with an adequate 838 mm of legroom in the rear with Chevrolet admitting rear seating is for two only.

The roof is lower and the stylists gave Spark a lot of character lines so it wouldn’t look upright and boxy.

The trunk, at 314.4 litres, is adequate, but it grows to 770.3 with the 60:40 back seat folded.

Part of the media launch exercise with the Spark was to find an IKEA store and purchase up to $100 in goods to be given to a needy charity and deliver it in the vehicle.

My drive partner and I chose small tool sets, drills and screw and nut packages, which we dropped off in hopes of making a small difference.

And the end of the day, we both agreed the little Spark have also delivered a number of welcome surprises besides its price and content.

Bottom line is this car should Spark the interest of any sub-compact buyer, especially in the city.

What’s Best: Unrivalled connectivity with content/price to match.

What’s Worst: Could use more power, but fine in a mainly city setting.

What’s Interesting: How did Chevrolet squeeze 10 airbags into something as small as the Spark?


CHEVROLET SPARK 2016 AT A GLANCE

BODY STYLE: Five-door, four-passenger hatchback subcompact

DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive, five-speed manual transmission standard, two-step CVT optional

ENGINE: 1.4-litre DOHC inline four-cylinder (98 hp, 94 lb/ft)

FUEL CONSUMPTION: Manual, 7.8/5.8/6.9L/100 km city/highway/combined; CVT, 7.6/5.7/6.7L/100 km

CARGO CAPACITY: 314.4 litres; 770.3 litres with rear seated folded

TOW RATING: Not recommended

PRICE: Base LS, $9,995; LS CVT, $13,895; 1LT manual, $14,195; 2LT manual $18,195 not including $1,600 shipping fee

WEB SITE: www.gm.ca

Jim Robinson is an automotive journalist for Metroland Media

FIRST DRIVE: Chevrolet re-ignites its Spark

Autos Apr 02, 2016 by Jim Robinson Oshawa This Week

Chevrolet calls the 2016 sub-compact Spark the “ultimate mobile device” with some justification.

Starting at $9,995, it has standard Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, standard Bluetooth and standard OnStar 4G LTE with WiFi hotspot that includes a 3G/three-month data trial.

Also part of the package is the all-new Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system with seven-inch colour touchscreen.

In terms of safety, a rear-view camera and 10 air bags are standard.

Chevrolet makes no bones about going aggressively after buyers well under 50 years of age and making about $50,000 a year, and that means people whose lives revolve around being connected.

At the press preview of the 2016 Spark in Toronto, a Chevy presenter said people in the target demographic will line up around the block for the latest cellphone, but rarely walk into a car dealership.

So to entice them, the MyLink infotainment system has a seven-inch centre stack touchscreen with icons similar to those found on a smartphone interface and allows users to swipe, pinch and use gestures making it intuitive for even those without smartphones.

When it comes to Apple CarPlay, you simply plug in your phone and CarPlay takes over, providing all the iPhone features customers want to access while driving and puts them on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple manner.

It enables drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. Apple CarPlay supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third-party apps.

The Android Auto system is predicated on Google Maps with Google Now giving the driver the ability to talk to Google or access a growing number of apps such as WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify and podcast players.

Many features for both applications can be controlled via voice commands through a button on the steering wheel, helping drivers spend more time with eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

At the launch, I plugged in my iPhone and asked Siri to call my wife at work, which it duly did seamlessly. How Siri understands what people are asking with all the accents and dialects is beyond me.

In Canada, the Spark is classified as a sub-compact, but in the U.S. it is considered a “mini-car” which seems a more apt description.

With an overall length of 3.6 metres it’s definitely on the small side and similar in size and competes against the Nissan Micra and Mitsubishi Mirage and the more expensive smart fortwo and Fiat 500.

Last year, Nissan came out with the Micra at $9,998, making it the most affordable car in Canada.

Chevrolet is convinced the suite of standard features on the base LS model that the others don’t offer will be the tipping point for those who want a new car at a used car price.

The $9,995 LS comes with a five-speed manual that increases to $13,895 with two-step CVT. The 1LT and 2LT come with the manual standard and CVT optional.

The 1LT with CVT (as tested here) will probably be the volume model, although Chevrolet said it is bringing in a bunch of LS models, 90 per cent of which are manuals.

All Sparks are powered by a new 1.4-litre, inline four-cylinder non-turbo with 98 hp and 94 lb/ft of torque. By comparison, the last Spark had a 1.2-litre with 84 hp and 83 lb/ft of torque.

It doesn’t sound like a lot of power, but it is quite peppy especially in an urban setting, where Chevrolet estimates something like 42 per cent will be sold in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver alone.

With a wheelbase of 2,385, the wheels are really pushed to the corners and the result is a reasonably roomy interior, but with an adequate 838 mm of legroom in the rear with Chevrolet admitting rear seating is for two only.

The roof is lower and the stylists gave Spark a lot of character lines so it wouldn’t look upright and boxy.

The trunk, at 314.4 litres, is adequate, but it grows to 770.3 with the 60:40 back seat folded.

Part of the media launch exercise with the Spark was to find an IKEA store and purchase up to $100 in goods to be given to a needy charity and deliver it in the vehicle.

My drive partner and I chose small tool sets, drills and screw and nut packages, which we dropped off in hopes of making a small difference.

And the end of the day, we both agreed the little Spark have also delivered a number of welcome surprises besides its price and content.

Bottom line is this car should Spark the interest of any sub-compact buyer, especially in the city.

What’s Best: Unrivalled connectivity with content/price to match.

What’s Worst: Could use more power, but fine in a mainly city setting.

What’s Interesting: How did Chevrolet squeeze 10 airbags into something as small as the Spark?


CHEVROLET SPARK 2016 AT A GLANCE

BODY STYLE: Five-door, four-passenger hatchback subcompact

DRIVE METHOD: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive, five-speed manual transmission standard, two-step CVT optional

ENGINE: 1.4-litre DOHC inline four-cylinder (98 hp, 94 lb/ft)

FUEL CONSUMPTION: Manual, 7.8/5.8/6.9L/100 km city/highway/combined; CVT, 7.6/5.7/6.7L/100 km

CARGO CAPACITY: 314.4 litres; 770.3 litres with rear seated folded

TOW RATING: Not recommended

PRICE: Base LS, $9,995; LS CVT, $13,895; 1LT manual, $14,195; 2LT manual $18,195 not including $1,600 shipping fee

WEB SITE: www.gm.ca

Jim Robinson is an automotive journalist for Metroland Media