Review: Chevrolet Spark (2010 – 2015)

Rating:

Enjoyable and easy to drive. Easy to get in and out of. Decent engines. Good rear space. Good ride quality.

Entry level models on small wheels don't look great. Not especially fun to drive.

Recently Added To This Review

3 February 2015

Apparently bonnet catches of Chevrolet Sparks sold in Europe from 2009-2014 are prone to fail. Under certain conditions, corrosion may cause the secondary hood latch striker to stick in the open position.... Read more

4 October 2014

Just-Auto.com alerted us to NHTSA Recall No 14V-593, Manufacturer Recall No: 14456, date 23-9-2014 of 89,294 2013-2015 model year Chevrolet Spark cars in the US to fix a bonnet (hood) catch fault... Read more

4 July 2014

Just-Auto.com alerted us to a Reuters report that GM will recall 27,051 Chevrolet Spark cars in South Korea due to a defective transmission mount. The gearbox mount may destabilise and cause a drop... Read more

Chevrolet Spark (2010 – 2015): At A Glance

The Spark replaces the Matiz - a particularly underwhelming car that was well past its best by the time its successor arrived. Thankfully the Spark is a much, much better car which manages to improve on its predecessor in every way that matters.

The styling is more up-to-date, with angular light clusters and neat, hidden door handles for the back doors – yes, it is a five-door car. The cabin is far more interesting than the old Matiz, too, with hardwearing, solid plastics where they’re needed and nicer glossy materials for looks.

The drive is fine, too, although it’s a stretch to call it anything more. The steering is nicely weighted, the gear change is adequately smooth and the handling is perfectly safe and sensible, although you wouldn’t take it over a twisting mountain pass or out on a racetrack at any speed unless you were a masochist.

It’s practical, with a tall cabin to give decent head room and more space in the back than you’d expect, given the tiny external dimensions. The boot is fine for a small weekly shop or a couple of suitcases, too, so there’s little to fault with the Spark as an everyday car.

Chevrolet offers the choice of two engines – a 1.2 and a 1.0-litre. Both have four cylinders but the 1.2-litre offers better acceleration and more in-gear torque. Both are reasonably economical, too – the smaller engine offers 55mpg compared to 57mpg for the 1.2. Neither offers groundbreaking emissions, though – both are over 110g/km. 

Road Test and Video Chevrolet Spark 2010

What does a Chevrolet Spark (2010 – 2015) cost?

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Chevrolet Spark (2010 – 2015): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 3595–3640 mm
Width 1597 mm
Height 1522–1551 mm
Wheelbase 2375 mm

Full specifications

Firstly, it has the best back seat access of any small car. Your body simply inserts itself without any unnecessary bending. Front seats are easy too. So that’s two benefits for retired people who are getting a bit stiff and whose friends are as well.

The back seat squabs yank over and the backrests fold flat, which is another advantage not shared by the likes of the Ford Fiesta. There are five proper three-point seatbelts, built into the seats, not the roof, making the back seat perfect for three small adults or children and the car rather more sensible for the school run than the usual Q7, XC90, Disco or X5. (It needs half the parking space.)

Sit in the driver’s seat and you’re confronted by a speedo flanked by a funky LED display showing engine revs, time of day, distance travelled and fuel left in the tank. That and the speedo both go up and down with the height-adjustable steering wheel, so you never lose sight of them. The rev counter isn't as easy to read at a glance as a traditional analogue clock, but it's not really a big issue.

Child seats that fit a Chevrolet Spark (2010 – 2015)

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What's the Chevrolet Spark (2010 – 2015) like to drive?

The little 1.0-litre engine produces 69PS and 93Nm of torque, which isn’t a lot. Nonetheless it’s a perfectly sweet little engine that settles down quietly at motorway speeds. It gives its best when pushed hard, owing to the fact peak torque and peak power arrive later in the rev range – but that’s not great for fuel economy.  The 1.2-litre engine is similar in character to the 1.0-litre but has a bit more to give, making it a better choice for those who do more miles out of town and on A-roads.

Regardless of engine choice you get the same suspension set up, which is softer than the average modern small car – good news if you’re surrounded by potholes. There is a disadvantage and that’s a tendency to roll around when cornering at speed – but that ought to be no problem at all in and around town and would likely only pose issues to those who spend time on country lanes.

The major controls are all decent – steering isn’t too light or too heavy and the gear change is smooth enough. However it can be tricky, at least first, to balance the throttle and clutch nicely when pulling away, so you might find yourself stalling until you get used to it. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0 55–57 mpg 15.3–15.5 s 118–119 g/km
1.2 55–57 mpg 12.1–12.7 s 118–119 g/km

Real MPG average for a Chevrolet Spark (2010 – 2015)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

84%

Real MPG

35–56 mpg

MPGs submitted

67

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Chevrolet Spark (2010 – 2015)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

Best small/city car £4500?

My girlfriend needs a small/city car to replace her ageing Ford Ka. She has £4000 to spend plus whatever she can get for her Ka (circa £500). I'm thinking of a 2012 Chevrolet Spark with around 10,000 miles. It seems cheaper than the Kia Picanto/Hyundai i10 and has the long balance of warranty. She needs something with low predicable running costs and reliability. Is the 1.2 worth an additional £500 over the 1.0? She drives 80 per cent city, 15 per cent country A-roads, 5 per cent motorway. Any other cars you think may suit?
Not a bad idea. Nice little chain cam engines. The best ride quality of a car this size. Test and video here (in the snow): http://www.honestjohn.co.uk/road-tests/chevrolet/chevrolet-spark-2010-road-test// Just remember that Chevrolet packs up in Europe in 2015 and that may affect the remaining warranty. Also worth checking out a Hyundai i10 1.2 (but not an i10 1.1).
Answered by Honest John
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