The 2016 Chevy Spark: Re-Invented and Doing What It Does Best
The past year has been a big one for Chevrolet, with the company showing a lot of promise in its creative and sometimes revolutionary upgrades to its vehicle lineup. Between notable upgrades to classic lines, like the Corvette and Camaro, to the ramped-up experimentation with hybrid technology seen on the popular Malibu and the hybrid-electric Volt, Chevy has made some impressive changes to its classic models in 2015.
But perhaps equally impressive have been the changes Chevy has made to its newer model lines - like the sporty, compact Spark. Boasting major changes to its architecture, an all-new drivetrain, and a fully-updated interior design, the 2016 Chevy Spark is a serious improvement on an already impressive compact model that's sure to deliver for the modern urban driver.
New, From The Outside In
Sit two Chevy Spark models side by side - one from 2015 and one from 2016 - and you'll notice that although similar in appearance, these are actually very different cars.
That's in part because of the major upgrades Chevy has made on the underpinning system used on the 2016 Spark. Now built on a new, shorter chassis meant to reduce some of the boxy appearances, the new Spark offers much smoother handling alongside a more conventional, family-focused exterior design.
Part of this redesign involves the new "shrinkwrap" style body, which pushes the wheels to the very edge of the wheel wells. This gives the new Spark a skintight look that perfectly matches its compact size. Plus, with new wraparound angled headlights and a character crease running from the fender flare to the rear, the new Spark looks tougher and scrappier than any compact that's come before it.
Available in ten different colors - including three new ones, called "Kalamata," "Toasted Marshmallow," and "Splash" - this Spark is also uniquely customizable, with drivers able to choose from either the LS or higher 1LT or 2LT trim levels, each available with a manual or automatic transmission option. The Spark also comes standard with 15-inch aluminum wheels.
Whatever option you choose, the updated design on the 2016 Spark is sure to turn heads no matter where you go - and you'll be proud of it.
A Better Ride, Thanks To A New Drivetrain
One of the most immediately tangible changes to the new Spark comes with its updated drivetrain system, which utilizes a more powerful engine and better architecture to improve performance without losing efficiency.
A new all-aluminum 1.4L EcoTec four-cylinder engine offers a powerful replacement to the 1.2L four-cylinder found on earlier Spark models, boosting fuel economy up to 41 mpg highway from 39 on the older model. Drivers can also choose between the standard five-speed manual transmission or the improved automatic Continuously Variable Transmission for even more seamless shifting power.
For having such a small block engine, it's impressive that the Spark can reach up to 98 horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque - plenty nimble for a sporty urban vehicle that's ready to take on crowded streets as well as trips out of town.
A Roomy Compact - And Not An Oxymoron
You read that right - this compact doesn't feel like a compactor. Boasting near-legendary headroom for a compact - even with its lower roofline - the Spark offers spacious seating for four with over 50 inches of shoulder room and 33 inches of legroom in the rear seats. And with up to 27.2 cubic feet of available cargo space with the rear seats folded down, your Spark will be more than capable of hauling whatever you need for that weekend trip out of the city, or for that long day on the beach.
Designed for supreme comfort, the cabin features premium materials color coated to match the vehicle's color scheme and available in heated leatherette in the 2LT trim level. Cool ambient lighting sets the perfect mood for your ride, while an all-new instrument cluster adds a touch of modern class to this boldly designed interior.
Tech: How'd They Fit That All In There?
You wouldn't know it from looking but the 2016 Spark packs a serious amount of tech into its compact cabin. With everything that's available in the Spark, you won't find yourself wanting for entertainment or connectivity any time soon driving this around.
Perhaps most noticeable among these additions is the standard MyChevrolet infotainment system, accessible through the Spark's 7-inch diagonal color touchscreen. With this technology, drivers can access streaming music services, can connect to Apple CarPlay or AndroidAuto phone connectivity software, and find your way with 6 months of included OnStar Guidance navigation.
With 4G LTE and a Wi-Fi hotspot available throughout the cabin, all of your passengers can stay connected no matter where you head to. And those who still like to go physically can plug in, charge, and play from an MP3 or audio player through the USB and auxiliary inputs located in the front center stack storage bin.
Because the Spark comes standard with OnStar, drivers can also access the OnStar RemoteLink mobile app to act as a remote key fob that can unlock and sound the horn of your Spark remotely to help you locate it.
City Safe - With Updated Safety Tech
Built to stay safe on just about any road, the Spark boasts a host of safety features and tech upgrades to help keep your passengers out of harms way when on the go.
Between the standard rear vision camera with available Rear Park Assist, which helps make tight city parking a breeze, and the available Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert technologies, the Spark does just about everything it can to help prevent accidents before they happen, and mitigate the damage if they do. And, in the event that an accident does occur, you can count on the high-strength steel safety cage and 10 standard airbags to keep everybody inside as safe as possible.
When we hear the words "efficient compact," our first thoughts are of cramped, basic, utilitarian hunk of glass and metal with a sewing machine engine. That being said, the 2016 Chevy Spark is all the more impressive - far exceeding our expectations of what a compact could be, and maybe even setting a new standard for what a compact should be. Next time you're at your local Chevy dealer check out a Spark - you may just find its got everything you need.