When GM looks overseas, as all American automakers do, it scrutinizes wide-ranging travel trends in Asia and Europe to see not only which vehicles consumers are buying, but also how they're driving them, whether in bucolic rural areas or high-density urban settings.
And apparently it found a vehicle --the Chevrolet Spark-- that until now, GM had sold in Asia and Europe, but had been overlooked as a car for Americans... That's about to change.
In the Spark, you have a four-seater powered by a 4-cylinder engine; a very basic vehicle that gets you safely from point A to point B... It's a vehicle that should certainly stay out of the left lane, but, it's got power windows, air conditioning and a base price of $12,995. For many consumers interested in getting into an affordable new vehicle, the Spark warrants a closer look.
GM upgraded its "global minicar" for U.S. buyers and in doing so may have landed on a sturdy, fuel efficient vehicle that is an excellent fit for many younger, cost-conscious drivers.
AutoWeek noted that since safety is a key concern for buyers of small cars, Chevrolet loaded the Spark with 10 standard airbags. Additionally, 60 percent of the Spark's body is made from high-strength steel for extra rigidity while helping to keep the weight down to abut 2,500 pounds.
Power door locks and a full complement of electronic gadgets are available and for motorists who prefer them they may want to consider the 1LT and 2LT models. The Spark is equipped with Chevy's 'MyLink' infotainment system and its seven-inch color touch screen. MyLink connects with smart phones for Internet and navigation services.
If you opt for a model with all the bells and whistles, you're looking at a MSRP that's closer to $16,720, which brings you closer to the Chevy Sonic, among others.
Although the Spark is sold in Europe and Asia as a five-person car (driver included), Chevy's product team reconfigured the back seat to hold only two passengers in order to accommodate the generally larger size of Americans.
The vehicle reportedly has excellent headroom. It has a bit of engine noise to live with, but, c'est la vie. GM designed the outside mirrors to help reduce wind noise and with mileage at 32 mpg in the city and 38 mpg on the highway, AutoWeek says you'll enjoy driving past gas stations too.
If you've driven one, please share your impression of the Spark. We want to know how this car compares with others.