2018 Chevrolet SparkShould you buy? Well, it depends..
What’s New for 2018?
Chevrolet made almost no changes to the Spark for the 2018 model year. One exterior color option is no longer available, and a new one has been added to replace it. Otherwise, the 2018 Spark is identical to the car that came out of the full redesign the model experienced for the 2016 model year.
Top 10 Reasons to Buy a 2018 Chevrolet Spark – The Pros
1. Respectable Exterior
The subcompact class is filled with unusual designs like that of the Fiat 500 or the Prius c, which can often turn off buyers looking for something more conventional. The Chevrolet Spark is an attractive car without any design gimmicks like bulbous headlights or large plastic grilles, which expands its appeal to a larger demographic.
2. Well-designed Interior
As a low-price subcompact model, the interior of the 2018 Chevrolet Spark may not be trimmed out in the most expensive materials, but the plastics and the upholstery found throughout its cabin are a grade higher than one would expect. The designers also made good use of the material and the space they had available, resulting in a very attractive interior.
3. Functional Rear Seats
A major downside of many subcompact cars is the lack of space, especially in the rear seats, which makes the Spark’s rear seating notable. Adults can easily sit in them without feeling claustrophobic, and there is even some leg room for stretching out left over. For someone that expects to have people in the rear seats of their subcompact regularly, the Spark holds a definite advantage.
4. Available Active Safety
Unlike many of its competitors, it is possible to equip the Spark with all of the latest safety technology. In addition to the standard rearview camera and parking assist, the can can be fitted with a lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitors, and forward-collision alerts to minimize the chance of an accident.
5. Excellent Infotainment System
The Chevrolet MyLink system is an often-lauded technology that makes the Spark stand out from other subcompacts. It is a standard feature, along with a wireless internet connection, on all models, and can be easily controlled through the same gestures used on smartphone touchscreens, such as swiping and multi-touch. It also makes it easy to use smartphone apps thanks to its Android Auto and Apple CarPlay features.
In addition to the general safety and infotainment features, the 2018 Chevrolet Spark has a surprisingly rich options sheet for a subcompact vehicle. Among the other options available are a six-speaker sound system, an enhanced driver information display, leatherette-trimmed and heated seats and satellite radio.
7. Very Maneuverable
Just like all subcompact cars, the Spark’s low weight and small footprint make it easy to get around obstacles and perform complex maneuvers. The suspension is pleasantly tight and the steering offers a good feel of the road, making driving a Spark a fairly enjoyable experience.
8. Capable Engine
The 2018 Spark is armed with an engine that may seem weak on paper, but is easily capable of keeping up with traffic in practice. At 1.4-liters and 98 horsepower, this car will not be winning any drag races, but the low weight and the responsive transmission - either a continuously variable automatic or a five-speed manual - easily launches this car into motion and leaves one feeling satisfied with the performance.
9. Above Average Fuel Economy
In addition to its spirited performance, the Spark’s engine also returns some fairly solid economy numbers. At 30 miles per gallon city, 38 mpg highway and 33 mpg combined, it is among the most efficient subcompact cars currently on the market, though it does not hold the top spot.
10. Low Price Point
The 2018 Chevrolet Spark is one of the cheapest cars available for purchase in the subcompact segment, with a starting price that is only matched by a few competitors and a fully-equipped model that is only slightly more expensive than some rivals’ entry-level offerings. That alone is a good enough reason for price-conscious buyers to give it a try.
Reasons Not to Buy a 2018 Chevrolet Spark – The Cons
1. Small Cargo Area
At 11.1 cubic feet, the Spark offers one of the smallest cargo areas in the class, and is beaten not only by most other hatchbacks, but also some sedans in that regard. Shoppers expecting a car that can carry anything more than a few boxes, some luggage or the weekend’s grocery shopping will find the Spark limiting.
2. Below-average Front Seats
In addition to the cargo area, the Spark’s spacious second-row seating also comes at the expense of some front-seat comfort. Most other subcompact cars provide more legroom for the driver and the front passenger than the 2018 Chevrolet Spark does.
3. Strong Competition
The Spark offers a lot of positives, but it lacks the name recognition and the established niche that other subcompact cars have carved out for themselves, such as Honda Fit’s versatility or the Mini Cooper’s performance credentials.
How It Stacks up to the Competition
Though it can be compared to pricier vehicles like the Mini or the Fit, the 2018 Chevrolet Spark competes primarily against other low-price subcompact sedans and hatchbacks, such as the Ford Fiesta or the Kia Rio. The Fiesta offers a very wide variety of engines, giving it an edge in power and efficiency over the Spark, though not in the same model. However, for the money, the Spark offers more options and features than a comparable Fiesta, and Ford’s infotainment system is still not nearly as good as Chevrolet’s. The Kia Rio stands out as the sportiest of the subcompacts with its powerful base engine. But in practice it is not as big of a difference, and the Rio does not offer the same value in features that the Spark does.
The 2018 Chevrolet Spark is a good subcompact hatchback when it comes to price, features and all-around utility, supplemented by a good options list, respectable performance and above-average fuel economy. It makes the best of the compromises that come with being a subcompact car, and buyers who appreciate a car that is above average in most categories will like the Spark’s well-rounded nature.
• Why buy a 2017 Chevrolet Spark? w/ pros vs cons