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Chevrolet Spark: Test Drive Review

Date: 03 December 2009

Category: City car
Key rival: Kia Picanto
P11D price: £8445

This is both the smallest and biggest car in Chevrolet's line-up. Replacing the Matiz as the brand's city car below the supermini Aveo, the Spark will be the UK's biggest selling car with a Chevrolet badge, accounting for around 30% of volume.

Coming into the 10% benefit-in-kind tax bracket thanks to a choice of 113g/km 68PS 1.0- or 119g/km 81PS 1.2-litre petrol engines, the Spark is on sale in the UK next spring.

Expected to be the top-selling trim, the LS driven here is also the one that best-balances pricing and specification. The £6945 entry model is barren as an understatement, without even basic niceties like central locking or electric windows, let alone air conditioning. It does though get six airbags. But by the time you get to LS trim, the middle of five specifications, at £8445 for the 1.0-litre, remote central locking and an host of styling details that improve the looks are added, along with the air conditioning, MP3 player socket and electric front windows that come with the Spark + trim level below LS. Alloys, electric door mirrors and trip computer are only available further up the range.

Having sampled both engines, it's probably not worth paying the extra £350 to bump up to the 1.2-litre engine over the 1.0. There doesn't feel to be a great difference between the two models in performance terms, and neither are particularly impressive, so it makes sense to plump for the cheaper one.

To drive, the Spark is around the class average, with decent, light steering and a rubbery and slightly notchy gearchange. The cabin does though greatly impress in terms of size, with four adults capably carried in decent levels of comfort, while the 170-litreboot isn't compromised either, with plenty of space for a couple of suitcases and significantly more space than a Citroen C1 or Kia Picanto. The front seats also have an impressive array of storage bins on various sizes.

The Spark is a fairly straightforward, capable but unexceptional new city car alternative. It's up with the class best in packaging terms, but not with the best for driving enjoyment. Though the front is attractive and distinctive, from other angle it looks similar to many of its rivals, but does little to offend or put potential customers off. A decent effort.

Chevrolet Spark 1.0 LS
P11D price£8445
Model price range£6945-£9845
Fuel consumption58.9mpg
CO2 (tax) 113g/km (10%)
BIK 20/40% per month£15/£29
Service interval12,500mls
Insurancegroup 10
Boot space (min/max)170/568 litres
Engine size/power1995cc/68PS
Top speed/0-62mph96mph/15.5secs
On sale Spring 2010
VerdictImpressive package creates
plenty of space, but Spark is
otherwise lacking in sparkle.

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Impressive package creates plenty of space, but Spark is otherwise lacking in sparkle.