Would You Buy a Pink Car?

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Unless your neighbors sell a lot of Mary Kay cosmetics, pink cars are pretty scarce, but it seems like Chevy is on a mission to make pink the new black. The bow-tie brand is releasing its second pink car, the 2014 Chevrolet Sonic, in Deep Magenta Metallic.

It's the first in a series of limited-edition colors and boldly more Malibu-Barbie- esque than Chevy's last bubble-gum-inspired offering, the Spark in Techno Pink.

"We know that about one-third of our Sonic buyers note exterior color as an 'extremely important' factor in their purchase process — a higher percentage than other small car buyers," Michelle Killen, lead creative designer in General Motors' color and trim studio and exterior paint expert for Chevrolet, said in a statement.

But why pink? According to GM designers, the color is a "lasting trend," but it doesn't sound like many car shoppers agree. Chevrolet spokeswoman Annalisa Bluhm told us Techno Pink only "accounts for 10% of all Sparks sold — and they are not all to ladies, either!"

The Sonic in Deep Magenta Metallic will be available August through October. Next up will be Cool Blue from November until March followed by Dragon Green during the first quarter of 2014.

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By Jennifer Geiger | July 22, 2013 | Comments (12)

Top 10 Best Base Models

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An ode to the base model.

Black door handles and a seat that can't move up and down/
paying monthly for not a lot has me feeling like a clown.

Just because you might not be able to afford more than the very least in a car doesn't mean you have to sing the base-model blues. Automakers are adding more features to their lowliest trim levels to entice shoppers even if some are stuck in the stone ages before the USB port became a necessity.

Here are 10 models that we consider to be solid picks, even in their base-model version.

By David Thomas | June 12, 2013 | Comments (9)

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Starts Under $20K After Federal Tax Credit

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Attention, California and Oregon residents: The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV, whose 21-kilowatt-hour battery enables 82 miles of travel when fully charged, will start as low as $19,995, including an $810 destination charge and the maximum $7,500 federal tax credit. That undercuts the 2013 Nissan Leaf ($22,150), 2012 Mitsubishi i-MiEV ($22,475) and 2013 Fiat 500e ($25,000) with destination fees and the full tax credit.

Californians may also qualify for additional incentives as high as $2,500, lowering the pint-sized EV to less than $17,500. Like other plug-in vehicles, Spark EVs also get carpool-lane access with a single driver. If you ever drive Los Angeles' Interstate 405 at rush hour — OK, any time of day — that's no small incentive.

California and Oregon get the Spark EV starting next month, but GM has yet to announce plans to sell it in the other 48 states. The automaker is "evaluating the business case" for national availability, spokeswoman Annalisa Bluhm said.

By Kelsey Mays | May 23, 2013 | Comments (2)

EPA Rates 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV 119 MPG Equivalent

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Chevrolet announced Wednesday that it expects an EPA rating of 119 miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) for the 2014 Spark EV. The all-electric version of the mini-hatchback will travel 82 miles when fully charged, Chevrolet says.

With a dedicated 240-volt (Level 2) charge, the Spark EV’s battery reaches full capacity in about seven hours. Chevrolet says the Spark EV can charge to 80% capacity in as little as 20 minutes with a direct-current Level 3 quick charger. It's also among the first cars to get the industry's new combo charger, which integrates all types of charging into the same connector.

Chevrolet says that the Spark EV's electric drivetrain, which makes some 130 horsepower and 400 pounds-feet of torque, accelerates the car to 60 mph in less than 8 seconds. The efficiency figures compare well with other EVs. See how they stack up below:

By Kelsey Mays | April 25, 2013 | Comments (3)

Who Buys the Chevrolet Spark?

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The bow-tie brand's smallest car is gaining a big following with the in crowd. According to GM, the new Spark is attracting every automaker's dream demographic: young buyers new to the Chevy brand.

The subcompact hatchback has been on sale since summer of 2012 and Chevy says that 29% of its customers are younger than 35 and 51% of Sparks are purchased by women — the highest percentage of all the brand's cars. 

More important is where the buyers are coming from. GM says around 54% of Spark buyers are new to the brand and more than one in five are decamping from import makers' vehicles. Chevrolet spokeswoman Annalisa Bluhm told us that "Nissan is the import brand we are conquesting most from." She noted that Chrysler is No. 2 on the conquest list.

By Jennifer Geiger | February 6, 2013 | Comments (1)

Car Talk: What's the Ugliest Car?

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Just as a person's beauty is only skin deep, a car's is in the eye of the pink-slip holder. Still, there's just no denying that some have a face only an owner could love. Tom and Ray Magliozzi, the hosts of NPR's "Car Talk" radio show, solicited input online to determine the ugliest automobile currently in production.

Based on the nominations received, the field was narrowed to 10: Chevrolet Spark, Fiat Multipla, Infiniti QX56, Kia Soul, Lincoln MKT, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Cube, Nissan Juke (photo above), Toyota Prius v and the Smart ForTwo. At last check, the Multipla was trouncing the uncomely competition with nearly 39% of the vote. Its nearest opponent is the Juke with nearly 26%; the balance of the nominees' vote tallies were in the single digits.

Is the Multipla being unfairly maligned in the face of an uglier opponent? Or perhaps you wish to contribute to the pile-on? Click here to cast your vote.

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By Matt Schmitz | January 23, 2013 | Comments (15)

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV: Photo Gallery

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Now making its second Los Angeles Auto Show appearance since 2011 and still without a hard number backing up its competitive-range claims, it remains to be seen how far the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV will go with consumers. What we do know is that it offers a colorful exterior — with options like Electric Blue and Silver Ice paint — and some neat tech on the inside, specifically a pair of 7-inch color screens — one for the standard MyLink multimedia system and the other for function reports.

More 2012 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

It'll hit dealerships in limited quantities this summer in California and Oregon with a price tag of less than $25,000 after incentives. Check out the gallery below.

By Matt Schmitz | November 30, 2012 | Comments (0)

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV: Up Close

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Chevrolet's electrified version of the Spark micro-car will look nearly identical to the gasoline version when it goes on sale in summer 2013. Mildly tweaked front styling with a blocked grille for aerodynamics and an electric charge door are two giveaways on the exterior that there is something unique powering the wheels.

More 2012 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

Inside, there are two 7-inch screens to keep tabs on the electric stats, and the newfound lithium-ion battery pack makes its home under the backseat.

By Joe Bruzek | November 30, 2012 | Comments (0)

iPhone's Siri makes its way to the Spark and Sonic

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Drivers of Chevrolet's two youth-oriented models, the Spark and Sonic, will be able to use the iPhone's virtual assistant, Siri, through the help of the standard Chevrolet MyLink multimedia system.

Coming in 2013 to the Spark 1LT and 2LT and the Sonic LTZ and RS trims, Siri in Eyes Free mode will allow drivers to make various hands-free commands, such as making phone calls, calling up music, listening and responding to text messages, and even adding appointments to the iPhone’s calendar.

After syncing the iPhone with MyLink over Bluetooth, Siri comes to your assistance as you drive. Siri won't be able to answer complex questions like, "What's the flavor of the day at Kopp's Frozen Custard in Milwaukee, Wisconsin," but the hands-free integration allows for basic assistance without the driver having to glance at the smartphone's screen, which stays completely dark in Eyes Free mode.

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By Robby DeGraff | November 27, 2012 | Comments (0)

2014 Chevrolet Spark EV at the 2012 L.A. Auto Show

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  • Competes with: Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Nissan Leaf
  • Looks like: This Spark won't go anywhere near a gas station
  • Drivetrain: Lithium-ion battery pack and electric motor make a total of 130 hp
  • Hits dealerships: Limited quantities this summer in California and Oregon

We first saw the electric version of Chevy's smallest car at the 2011 L.A. Auto Show. The Spark EV is back at the 2012 show, and the automaker confirmed it will go on sale in the summer.

More 2012 L.A. Auto Show Coverage

Chevy's first all-electric car uses a lithium-ion battery pack to power the motor; the automaker says it's good for 130 horsepower. An onboard charging receptacle accommodates 120- and 240-volt outlets as well as DC quick-charging. Using the latter, the Spark's battery can reach an 80% charge in 20 minutes, according to the automaker. Using a 240-volt setup, the Spark EV can be recharged in less than seven hours, Chevy reports. It can be charged and monitored using a smartphone app or online through OnStar; it comes with three years of standard OnStar service.

By Jennifer Geiger | November 27, 2012 | Comments (6)

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