2016 Chevy Spark vs. 2015 Ford Fiesta

The 2016 Chevy Spark and the 2015 Ford Fiesta look quite similar on first glance. Yet though the exteriors could be confused for doppelgangers in a crowded parking lot, these small cars are quite different under the hood.

To truly understand which car is the better buy, you will have to look beyond the facade and delve deeper into the features that each offers. Here's a closer look at the 2016 Chevrolet Spark compared to the 2015 Ford Fiesta to help you make the choice:

Powertrain

The most notable difference between the new Spark and the current Ford Fiesta is the power train.

The 2016 Chevrolet Spark receives a notable power upgrade with a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 98 horse power -- a 17 percent increase over the previous model's 84 horse power. The Spark won't win any races with that power train -- in fact, it takes 11.2 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph -- but the Spark's compact size and lightweight engine make for exceptional fuel efficiency. It gets 31 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway.

The engine is paired with a five-speed manual transmission, and a continuously variable automatic transmission is an option.

Meanwhile, the base model Ford Fiesta comes with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 120 horse power. Two other engine options are available: a tiny 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine that puts out 123 horse power and a 1.6-liter four-cylinder that puts out 197 horse power.

While the Fiesta offers more power than the Spark, many reports have said that the car does not handle well, and shifting does not provide the responsiveness one would expect in the smaller car segment. Most buyers who are shopping this segment are more interested in affordability and fuel economy than power.

Exterior and Interior Design

2016 Chevy Spark

As noted, the Spark and Fiesta are very similar in their exterior design, but there are some differences. Both have a hatchback design with a small body, but the Spark has a slightly boxier and bulkier look about it. The roofline is not as swept back, and the rear does not slope back but rather drop down starkly. The head lights are slightly larger and more compact, and the split grille does not take up nearly as much room on the front fascia.

The interior of the Spark has been upgraded with higher-quality materials and cushier upholstery. Not only does the cabin look nicer, but it is also more comfortable. The Spark also employs body color accents throughout the interior for a fun twist.

There isn't much of note in the design of the Fiesta's interior. The design appears to focus more on practicality than luxury. The comfort and design are adequate enough, but no aspect stands out for acclaim.

Convenience and Safety Features

Neither the Chevy Spark nor the Ford Fiesta are considered luxury vehicles, so they are not packed with features. Yet they do both have enough convenience features to create a pleasant ride and enough safety features to protect all the passengers.

The 2016 Chevy Spark comes standard with features such as a 7-inch touch screen for the MyLink infotainment system, a backup camera, an LCD digital gauge cluster, and 10 air bags. The infotainment system features a user-friendly interface that is similar to a tablet or smart phone.

Many more features are available for the Spark, including a forward-collision alert system, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning, rear parking assistance, OnStar system, 4G LTE data connection, and WiFi hot spot. The Spark can also be fitted with rollover detection.

Safety is built right into its bones. The 2016 Chevy Spark has a more rigid frame that is better able to withstand pressure during a crash and that provides better handling.

The 2015 Ford Fiesta includes standard features such as Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling and audio streaming, an auxiliary jack to connect an iPod, steering wheel-mounted controls, stability and traction control, and anti-lock brakes.

Features available as options include heated front seats, remote keyless entry, power moon roof, automatic temperature control, and heated door mirrors.

No infotainment system is available for the Fiesta, nor are advanced safety features like a backup camera or collision monitoring systems. The 2016 Chevy Spark clearly prevails with its standard and optional features.

Trim Levels

2016 Chevy Spark

The 2015 Chevy Spark was available in three trim levels (the LS, 1LT and 2LT), but information has not yet been released on trim levels for the 2016 model. It is likely that we'll see a lot of the same options in the new Spark, with the possibility of a few extras on some of the trim packages.

The 2015 Ford Fiesta also offers three trim levels, the S, SE and Titanium. In addition, the Ford Fiesta offers the option of a sedan as well as a hatchback.

Where the two cars really compete with one another is in the available features, not so much what trim levels they fall into, and the Spark is the clear winner in that category.

Pricing

Both the Spark and the Fiesta are affordable vehicles. Pricing has not yet been revealed for the 2016 Chevy Spark, which is expected to be released in the final quarter of the year. However, pricing for the 2015 Spark ranges from $13,095 to $17,350, depending on options.

Meanwhile, the 2015 Ford Fiesta starts at $14,455 and goes up to $18,405.

Obviously, the 2016 Chevy Spark is the better buy, not just for the lower price but also for the additional features. Ultimately, you will have to decide for yourself what features are more important to you in order to make the choice. You may decide that you need more power than the Spark offers and look at another model.

 

Head into your local dealership to take a test drive of the 2016 Chevy Spark when it becomes available and find out for yourself what kind of performance it offers. We're sure you'll be surprised at what can come from such a tiny package.

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