Tiny Chevy Spark Gets Mom, Teen Approval

2013 Chevrolet Spark
I learned long ago not to assume I know what teenagers think is cool. That's why I asked my 17-year-old niece if she would be caught driving the candy-colored subcompact 2013 Chevrolet Spark. Not only would she, but her social network gave it the thumbs-up as well. By using "thumbs-up" I've proven that I have officially moved into the mom category and should always check with teenagers about what is "cool" or "hip to the now."

More 2011 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

But as a mom of younger kids, could I contemplate them as teenage drivers in something that's categorized as a mini car? After checking out the Spark at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show, my answer is a definite yes.  

That's mainly because of the 10 standard airbags, stability control and antilock brakes along with OnStar tech. Those are enough safety features to keep this nervous parent happy.

2013 Chevrolet Spark
Boasting more cargo and passenger space than the Fiat 500, Smart ForTwo and Scion iQ, this five-door mini car still seats only four, but it seats them comfortably. And you'll at least know your teen isn't going to be stuffing too many friends in it. That just isn't possible.

Chevy is expecting to beat competitors when it comes to fuel efficiency; however, official EPA estimates haven't been announced.

While Mom and Dad may like the practicality of the Spark, I have a sneaking suspicion that the available personalization features are going to be the selling point for the younger crowd. Chevrolet's MyLink multimedia system, which includes a 7-inch color screen, will be included on the uplevel - meaning more expensive — 1LT and 2LT models. With MyLink, the driver's smartphone and Bluetooth connectivity can access Pandora and Stitcher internet radio and navigation. One neat features of the color touch-screen is the option to play movies or personal photo albums when the vehicle is stopped. It's a modern day drive-in theater, if you ask me. Then again, maybe Mom and Dad don't want to hear that.

2013 Chevrolet Spark
Pricing for the Spark is expected to be well under the starting price of its larger sibling, the Chevy Sonic, that starts at $13,735. It will be available in dealerships August 2012 just in time for back-to-school car shopping.

BreAnn Ahara is a contributor for Cars.com Family.

Comments 

Rockaby

At the very end, you meant to say the larger sibling as the Chevy Sonic.

Great article otherwise!

Amuro Ray

As a parent myself, I found that your reasoning

"That's mainly because of the 10 standard airbags, stability control and antilock brakes along with OnStar tech. Those are enough safety features to keep this nervous parent happy."

rather strange. Mainly because these are NOT features that will "save" our kids during an accident; these are preventive features, which require skills, patiences, and most important, good control of your (teenagers) temper. They will help your children to avoid crashes, but they provide no safety to your kids when you are in the crash (other than airbags).

Crash test rating, fatality rate from insurance company, and proper driver training / rules from parents - now those I consider real safety indicators. Unfortunately, 2 out of 3 of these are out yet from US, and international rating such as

http://www.euroncap.com/results/chevrolet/spark/2009/377.aspx

doesn't give it that good on driver/passenger protection (read beyond the 4 out of 5 stars, and it will explain where the Spark has done well, and areas that you'll need to be concern. A lot of adequate and marginal as you can see (instead of good). The Korean test indicated that it's also great - THROUGH GM media, but I am unable to find more info since the Korean site is only in Korean.

What even amazes me is your apparent approval to have the touch screen to play movies or multimedia, even if the vehicle is stopped. Safety driving 101: defensive driving by paying attention on what's going on the road. Instead of, say, looking around to see if there's anything going to run into you when you are stopped at the stop lights/signs, you are watching a movie. Great.

And just out of curiosity, what competitors are you/GM referring to when you state that the Spark will beat its competitors? The ones mentioned by you are 500, Smart, and iQ. From Euro engine specs that are the same as the US, Spark is looking at less than 40 mpg. And what price range are you looking at with all the gimmicks you are frequently referring to? If those make the Spark cost $18K, will you still go for it than, say, Versa, Sonic, 500, etc.?

Rockaby

AR, I took "stopped" to mean "the vehicle is in park". I could be wrong, but I couldn't imagine Chevy deciding that playing a DVD at a redlight when the car is in drive as a good idea.

AladdinSane

AR: U sure make a lot of noise, man.
To each their own:
U don't dig this machine? Great. But not everyone is you.

Peace!<-AladdinSane-

J

The MyLink system will play a movie at the stop light!? Wow!

Amuro Ray

@AladdinSane,

So your point is...?

That this is a safe vehicle for kids, because of the airbags, traction/stability control and OnStar, and not the safety rating test, with pictures and analysis on body damages and survival rates?

Or the fact that it has features that will distract teenagers, by simply shifting from D to P, yet MSRP will likely reach that of a similarly equipped, say, Versa or Accent?

This article is about buying a Spark for kids...so you are right on 1 thg: the audience of this vehicle/article is NOT for me, but for my kids.

My point is, if I'm to shop for a teenager vehicle, I will go for something a bit larger, in the Versa/Sonic/Fit/Yaris/Fiesta/Cube/Soul/Rio/Accent/Soul class, as these got really good safety ratings all around, plus all the features (except 10 airbags - these have 6-8), plus pretty much same price as a similar equipped Spark, plus similar or better fuel efficiency, plus much more space too - so that I can finally be the passenger!

Allistar

I would never drive such a tiny car despite its astronomical fuel economy. I want a heavy pickup truck with a v8 engine that weighs 5,000 pounds. Screw the carbon footprint, we have made our beds!

cody

one thing about crash test ratings is they depict how the car would fair if it crashed into a similarly sized car...so even a good rating for a small car will do it no good if it hits or is hit by a large truck/suv/minivan. that being said, i'm sure any car that fairs well going through today's crash test battery will be safer than a 15-year old used compact.

AladdinSane

AR: My point?
Purchase what you consider is right, and let anyone else buy what they want, even if it doesn't meet to your standards...Ms. Ahara considers this to be a good vehicle for her offspring to own and runabout in. Power to her.
You dig and purchase what you consider right for yourself and YOUR offspring. Great. Freedom of choice for anyone, no matter what they may choose. Maybe you think this machine is not all that, but another may find it to be on target.
Cheers...
Peace!<-AladdinSane-

Amuro Ray

Sure it's freedom of choice. We live in a capitalist country, don't we? More power to that!

But, this is an informational site. It provides recommendation, with reason for the support. Thus, any point-counterpoint is perfectly valid. Most importantly, if incorrect info is provided (or use of less relevant info), commenters should point out and reflect it to the site editor(s)/contributor(s).

Otherwise, why would you read, think, then comment on this blog?

AladdinSane

Great...
Power to you...
Have fun commenting then...
Cheers-
Peace!<-AladdinSane-

If a person wants to buy a car but does not have the budget for a brand new one then he may selltle for buyibg a used car which is a very good option. The best feature of buying the used car is that you get your value for money and depriciation rate is less while reselling it.

Much more time is spent in the design and development phase. Time is money, and makers have to spend a lot of time ensuring the engine meets targets for power, longevity, efficiency, sound, feel, so on and so forth.

nlpnt

I would suggest forgetting about the touchscreen, or ever putting it in D or P, and buy the Spark only as a touchscreen-free LS with a manual transmission.

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