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Chevrolet introduces 2016 Spark; new 1.4L engine with 16% more power and 40 mpg highway

At the New York International Auto Show, Chevrolet introduced the all-new 2016 Spark—a completely redesigned and more sophisticated execution of the brand’s global minicar. It offers greater efficiency and refinement, along with new, available safety and connectivity features. As one of Chevrolet’s most global vehicles (global Chevrolet Spark sales have surpassed 1 million since it went on sale in 2010), the 2016 Spark will be offered in more than 40 markets around the world.

The new Spark has a sleeker appearance, thanks to a slightly longer wheelbase, and an overall height about 1.6 inches (40 mm) lower than the current model. The lower profile reduces aerodynamic drag to help improve efficiency and interior changes maintain the Spark’s headroom. The new Spark is built on an all-new, more robust architecture that serves as the foundation for an improved driving experience. The stronger body structure enabled engineers to tune ride and handling more precisely, for greater feelings of control and refinement, while fostering a quieter ride.

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The 2016 Spark is powered by an all-new 1.4L engine that is part of GM’s new, global family of Ecotec small-displacement engines. It offers an estimated 98 horsepower (73 kW)—a 16% increase over the current model.

Spark’s new 1.4L features an aluminum cylinder block and head, which helps reduce the vehicle’s overall mass to enhance performance and efficiency. The cylinder head also incorporates an integrated exhaust manifold, which further reduces weight—an attribute that contributes to increased vehicle efficiency and a more favorable front-to-rear weight balance, for a more responsive driving experience.

Engine efficiency is also enhanced through reduced friction, including low-friction piston rings, a low-friction camshaft drive and a low-friction oil pump. A five-speed manual transmission or dual-range continuously variable transmission are available with the new 1.4L. GM estimates that Spark with the CVT will deliver 40 mpg (5.88 l/100 km) highway.

Enhanced safety. The 2016 Chevrolet Spark builds on the current model’s reputation for delivering excellent passenger safety in the minicar segment, where the 2015 Spark is a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

A stronger body structure is at the core of the new Spark’s safety story and is complemented by a wider array of passive and active safety features. Ten standard air bags include driver/front passenger knee air bags, roof rail side air bags and seat-mounted thorax/pelvic air bags. A rollover sensing and protection system is also offered. Additionally, new active safety features can help drivers avoid collisions through camera-based technology providing alerts to possible collision threats:

  • Forward Collision Alert
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Side Blind Spot Alert

A rear-vision camera system is standard and rear park assist is offered.

The 2016 Chevrolet Spark will be produced from globally sourced parts at GM’s Changwon, South Korea assembly facility. It goes on sale in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Comments

tpl

Until GM improves the quality of their vehicles, it doesn't matter how good the cars are.

Brent Jatko

@ tpl: Isn't quality a measure of goodness? I think you may mean "durability," i.e. quality over time, depreciation, etc., rather than initial quality.

Brotherkenny4

I had a Spark as a rental last week and thought it was a reasonable car. Good gas mileage and more room than I thought it would have. The square body style makes the back seat bigger than in my own car. Once upon a time chevy's were the shade tree mechanic car since parts were cheap and repairs relatively easy. Remember all the performance parts available to chevy owners. People don't do their own work anymore. We have been told to work smart not hard and that really means get a desk job. We have no respect societally for people who do their own work. That is a problem for GM that they have not adapted to. Anyway, I liked the Spark and wish that GM would sell more of the EV version, since the one draw back was that it was just a little under powered, which should be remedied by the EV drive system.

ecoskidder

This could still be my next car. I currently am driving a '06 Scion xB 5 speed. However, will GM offer the Ecotec 1.0T 3 cylinder as promised? 40mpg is great BUT well into the 40's (44mpg, for example) would be the deal maker for me. Brotherkenny4: I like the fact that this engine is not turbo charged and I think that this bodes well for its reliability and longevity....I hope. If we as owners can change out the oil, plugs, filters and transmission fluid on our own, I'd be satisfied with this little car. Well done, GM.

Christian LeBlanc

I bought a new 2016 Spark 3 days ago. Wow, have small cars come a long way since my 1984 CRX! I was way surprised by the base Spark LS's touchscreen, Bluetooth, rear backup camera, standard A/C, rear wiper & defrost etc. At the same time my daughter was more interested in the tech stuff than the power locks, power side mirrors, power windows, nicer materials, and cruise that this car does not have. A good trade-off. We both found the backseat to be cozy but acceptable.

I was quite comfortable driving home for 2 hours, although I missed having cruise. But it's not going to be my car, and the daughter doesn't like to use cruise anyway. I was satisfied with the 98hp of the new 1.4L, and find the CVT to be completely unobtrusive and smooth. The car was weirdly quiet even at 60+ mph for being so petite and upright. And 2,000rpm at 60 mph? I would have expected 3,000.

It's light and nimble, and fun; but I won't be seeing how fast it stops, corners or accelerates. I have my own car for that kind of tossing.

I did not testdrive an older Spark, so can't compare the two.

In the 3 days (1 highway, 2 in town) the car has been driven it's averaged 36.6mpg, so the 41mpg EPA is probably accurate.

Re longevity etc., my household has a 2002 Camaro Z28 and a 2003 Pontiac Montana that are still going strong. I take care of them as much as I am able (maintaining fluids, filters, etc.) and expect to do the same with the Spark. If it does as well as the other two GM cars, gasoline may be obsolete before I need to replace it.

philmcneal

wow thanks for the review! The all in price for the new spark is only 9999 cad, so that's really a good price for the base model. Curious what the 5spd gearing is at but it can't be no worse than my 5spd 2007 honda fit.

kkollwitz

Hey I considered coordinating with Canadian relatives to buy one in Canada, but decided it was too much trouble.

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