2016 Chevy Spark - Miami, FL
You don't always need to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle to save gas and do your part for the environment. Just choosing a vehicle that has shed some of the standard bulk can be enough to maximize your fuel economy and minimize your emissions.
The aptly named Chevy Spark may be a little car, but it's the diminutive size that makes a big impact. Even though the 2016 Chevy Spark will have a beefier size, it will still be considered a minicar and it will still get excellent fuel efficiency.
The 2016 Chevy Spark also has several other changes in store, making it an exciting new way to go green.
Amped Up Power
One reason that some buyers are a little gun shy when it comes to minicars is that they don't have as much get up and go as standard sedans. The new Spark aims to overcome some of those concerns and add a little power to its punch by beefing up the engine.
The new engine is a 1.4-liter four-cylinder Ecotec (replacing a 1.2-liter powerplant). It increases the Spark's power a whopping 17 percent, taking it from 84 horse power to 98 horse power.
That's a little more than half what comes in most standard sedans, but with the Spark's lighter weight, it doesn't need an engine that's as powerful to get it where it needs to go.
Some tests have clocked it at 11.2 seconds in a 0 to 60 test, and performance is reported to be much smoother and more adept on the highway. The new drive train will include a five-speed manual transmission, and a continuously variable automatic transmission will be optional.
The more powerful drive train doesn't mean that the new Spark will lose its fuel efficiency. In fact, the opposite appears to be true. The new engine features an aluminum block and aluminum head, which helps to reduce its weight and improve fuel economy.
It also features an integrated exhaust manifold and direct fuel injection.
Official fuel economy numbers have not yet been released. However, the outgoing Spark gets 31 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. Industry insiders expect the 2016 model to get well above 40 mpg, which rivals that of many hybrid vehicles.
The Spark may be a little car, but it doesn't scrimp on convenience features. Every model comes standard with the OnStar system, 4G LTE connectivity, and a built-in WiFi hot spot.
Your Spark can be a mobile office or command center that you use to make phone calls, power your lap top or even just get information about the latest goings on around town.
The MyLink infotainment system is optional, and it comes with a 7-inch touch screen with a smart phone interface. You can tap through icons or swipe to get the information you need, just like with other mobile devices.
The interface is user friendly, which should make it easier to get information quickly -- a huge plus when you are driving and are looking for directions, for example.
Audio controls are mounted right on the steering wheel, as are other controls. The new layout puts everything you need right at the touch of your finger tips.
The 2016 Chevy Spark doesn't just get a makeover under the hood -- it also gets a facelift inside and out.
Right away, consumers will notice that the new Spark has a much less boxy look than previous iterations. The wheelbase is lower, the height has been lowered 1.6 inches, and a new chassis has been employed that allows the wheels to be moved to the edges of the wells.
Overall, the Spark looks more substantial and more grounded.
Styling updates include sculpting that runs from the front fender flare to the rear, more proportionate head lights, and a unique sculpted accent on the rear fender. The front end also features an oversized, split grille with a body color bar and oversized air intakes.
Three new exterior colors are available: Splash, Kalamata and Toasted Marshmallow.
Overall, the exterior is being praised for having a more grown up and stylish look. Some would even say it looks like it h as bulked up a bit.
Though the body height has been lowered, there is still plenty of interior room. The H point in the seats has been lowered, ensuring that head room is maintained and providing a more comfortable seat. Higher quality foam is also being used in the seats, creating a cushier ride.
The interior maintains the body color accents from the previous model, but higher quality materials are used throughout the cabin, including for the upholstery and the dash. The center stack has also been redesigned, and an LCD display has been added to the instrument panel.
Overall, the interior has a much more luxury feel than it had before.
When you are driving around town in a tiny car, you need to make sure that it offers the protection you need. You don't have size on your side to defend yourself in an accident. The 2016 Chevy Spark comes standard with 10 air bags, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, a rearview camera, and rear park assist.
Optional safety features include blind-spot monitoring, parallel parking assistance, and lane departure warning.
Nothing can substitute for your own driving skills to keep you safe, but the new Spark has safety features that help expand your field of vision and improve your accuracy.
The 2016 Chevy Spark was unveiled in April at the New York International Auto Show, but it will not go on sale until later this year. It will be available in 40 different markets, so buyers around the U.S. should have no problem finding the new model at their local Chevy dealership.
Pricing has not yet been revealed. However, the 2015 model starts at an unbeatable $12,270, making it one of the most affordable cars on the market.
Visit Miami Lakes Automall and ask about test driving the 2016 Chevy Spark.