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Chevrolet Spark LT Driven

Pushing out 60kW from a 1.2-litre 4-cylinder engine, the Spark LT retails for R136,000, and is a solid little car in it’s class.

Chev Spark LT-2

As an urban run around the Spark makes sense. It’s cheap to buy, maintain and run, but still feels like a car rather than a donkey cart.

Chev Spark LT-15

Chev Spark LT-16

 

Global pressure to reduce carbon emissions, combined with consumer pressure to make running a car cheaper is beginning to show as cheaper more economical cars begin to appear.

In theory the small engine makes sense, seeing as though manufacturers do manage a reasonable amount of power from them. Ford currently stands head and shoulders above the rest with their 92kW Eco-Boost variant, extracted from a 1.0-litre engine.

The Spark though is 60kW, as are most cars with a 1.2-litre engine, and the Spark has a 4-cylinder engine though. Because it’s such a small car, and so light the 60kW is more than ample, well almost.

You see, there is a problem with these small engines. If you live in Holland, these cars make sense. They have no hills, or inclines, or sense of humor. But if you live in Cape Town, where we test the cars, going over the mountain is part of the daily commute.

On flat surfaces, the small engines pull you along nicely, they’re comfortable, and economical. The minute you encounter an uphill though you have some problems. You need to gear down to second, give it the boot and be patient. This also destroys the good fuel economy.

Despite all that the Spark isn’t a bad little car. If affordable at R135k, doesn’t look too bad from the outside and has this whole funky red vibe going down on the inside.

Boot space is limited in a small car like this, but it’s bigger than some of it’s rivals, rear seat space isn’t bad either. The driving position is good, gear changes smooth and the pedals responsive.

All round it’s a good little car. There are one or two things that niggled me, and they’re purely just because it’s an entry level car. The doors lock automatically when you get to about 20km/h, but they make a bit of a racket when they lock, a very mechanical noise.

Road noise is noticeable at high speeds, (I mean about 100km/h) and on the highway getting to 120km/h can be problematic into a headwind.

As an urban run around the Spark makes sense. It’s cheap to buy, maintain and run, but still feels like a car rather than a donkey cart. Consumers must like them, Chevrolet sold 400 in March 2013 alone.

There is more behind the Spark though, Chevrolet have been building good cars for many years, so the Spark is bound to be a reliable little car.

All in all the Spark was a pleasure to drive for a couple of days. It’s a well built comfortable little car that holds up well when compared to it’s rivals.

Chev Spark LT-3

Chev Spark LT-4

Chev Spark LT-8

Chev Spark LT-9

Chev Spark LT-10

Chev Spark LT-11

Chev Spark LT-12

Chev Spark LT-13

Chev Spark LT-14

Chev Spark LT-17

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