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The Chevrolet Spark belongs to a dying class of vehicles. In today's SUV obsessed world, many manufacturers simply do not believe there is room for a subcompact car. Still, the Spark manages to be a fun hatchback that has great fuel economy and a certain kind of charm.
Moving into 2021, the Chevrolet Spark receives no significant changes. This is somewhat surprising considering there were zero upgrades last year either. The technology features still manage to be competitive, although safety features leave something to be desired. The Spark is still in its second generation, which first hit the scene in 2015.
What the 2021 Chevrolet Spark ultimately represents is a great deal. On top of the impressive fuel efficiency, it also has a starting price that is hard to beat. These things may win over those looking for a daily commuter.
Four total trim levels of the 2021 Chevrolet Spark exist. Choosing the right one relies on deciding how many features can be sacrificed to maintain that low price. The following breaks down the features by trim level to help buyers find the right one.
Compare the 2021 Chevrolet Spark LS vs 1LT - What is the Difference?
Like all models of the Spark, the LS is a four-seater hatchback. It also has the same engine that remains consistent for the line. The 1.4L four-cylinder manages to make just 98-horsepower and 94 lb-ft of torque. These numbers do not feel any more impressive than the sound. The LS can be equipped with either a five-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission.
There is, of course, an advantage associated with having such little power. The Spark gets 33mpg on the highway with either transmission. As far as city driving goes, the manual will give drivers 29mpg while the CVT manages 30mpg. It is these city numbers that truly make the Spark a great commuter. While the manual transmission is a little less efficient, it makes driving this power-lacking vehicle a bit more enjoyable.
The Spark is a front-wheel-drive vehicle exclusively. The LS does have a few performance-oriented features, such as hill start assist. This no-frills hatchback comes with disc brakes in the front and drum brakes in the rear.
Chevrolet keeps up the bare-bones approach on the exterior of the Spark LS. It sits on 15-inch steel wheels and has black manually-adjustable outside mirrors. The LS relies on halogen projector-beam headlights to illuminate the night. It does get a sporty rear spoiler.
One thing that draws consumers to the Spark is the sense of fun that goes with it. This vehicle is available in a variety of unique colors, such as Red Hot, Passion Fruit, and Toasted Marshmellow. For an extra $395, drivers can go with Mystic Blue, Caribbean Blue, or Cayenne Orange instead. In total, there are eleven paint colors to choose from.
The interior of the Spark LS is nothing to get excited about. Cloth upholstery is the only option. There is a lot of plastic to be found inside the cabin, which also lets quite a bit of wind and road noise in. Perhaps most disappointing for this hatchback is the cargo space. Buyers get just 11.1 cubic feet with the back seat up. Even more dismal is the maximum cargo capacity, which comes in at 27.2 cubic feet.
There are not many comfort or convenience features to be found in the LS. Drivers will find manual door locks, single-zone air conditioning, and even windows that have to be cranked up and down. The driver and front passenger sit in high-back bucket seats that are manually-adjustable as well.
Before buyers write this trim off, they should know it is full of popular high-tech features. This entry-level model comes with a 7-inch touchscreen and a reconfigurable driver information center. The LS is equipped with a four-speaker audio system. A 12-volt power outlet is conveniently located in the center stack storage bin.
The Spark is a great choice for those who want to stay connected on the road. It comes with Bluetooth as well as both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There is even a WiFi hotspot on this base model. Drivers can opt to take advantage of the Chevrolet Connected Access services as well. These services are through OnStar and include things such as vehicle diagnostics.
Although the Spark does offer some high-tech driver aids, buyers will have to look at a higher trim than the LS for them. This model gets a tire pressure monitoring system and rearview camera, features that are found standard on nearly every new vehicle. Otherwise, drivers will have to rely on more traditional features such as electronic stability control and traction control.
There is no real customization available for the entry-level Spark. This trim offers very few packages. The options are an Interior Protection Package, which is simply all-weather floor and cargo mats, and a Smoker's Package. This gives the Spark an ashtray and lighter. Buyers can choose to add an engine block heater or upgrade to alloy wheels on this model, however. The LS, like all other trims, can also have red wheel inserts for a little extra pop.
Buyers can move up to the 1LT trim without spending too much more than they would on the LS. Although this model is mechanically the same, it does offer significant upgrades. Many of the features added by this trim are for extra convenience.
On the outside, the 1LT gets 15-inch silver-painted aluminum wheels. Buyers can also choose to add black bezels for the daytime running lights if they upgrade to the 1LT. Speaking of those daytime running lamps, they are LED for this trim level and up.
The 1LT is the first trim to offer two-tone paint schemes. It can come with either a Summit White or Mosaic Black Metallic roof. In order to have this, buyers must go with the Spark Special Edition package. On top of a different roof color, this package includes a black-painted grille, black emblems, and black-painted alloy wheels.
As far as convenience goes, the 1LT gets heated and powered side mirrors. The 1lT is one of two trims that have the option of adding a power sunroof. This trim is eligible for an interior lighting package that adds dual reading lights as well as an overhead console.
Upgrades continue in the cabin where drivers will now find a six-speaker audio system. Satellite radio with a trial SiriusXM subscription is included. They can easily control this system with steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. Many things are now automatic for the Spark, including the door locks and windows. Along those same lines, the 1LT gets cruise control.
A remote keyless system becomes standard. While the Spark LS had "rigid" keys, the 1LT gets foldable ones instead. Both a remote panic alarm and a theft-deterrent system join the list of standard equipment here.
Buyers still after more advanced driver aids are out of luck with the 1LT. Still, this trim has an incredibly low starting price and offers upgrades over the LS that actually make a difference.
Compare the 2021 Chevrolet Spark 1LT vs ACTIV - What is the Difference?
Based on the name, it is no surprise that the ACTIV trim is the sportier version of the 2021 Spark. The major upgrade to the performance is the touring-tuned suspension. The ground clearance is also increased here, although by less than half an inch. This trim also has 15-inch wheels but they are Gunmetal silver.
Further adding to the adventurous spirit of the ACTIV trim are exterior touches such as black bumpers and black rocker moldings. This trim level also gets a custom grille. The headlights are halogen for this trim, which also adds fog lights to the standard equipment. Finally, the exterior of the ACTIV trim adds luggage racks. As a result, it cannot have the power sunroof.
Not all upgrades for the ACTIV are under the hood or on the exterior. This trim gets heated front seats. It also gains a leather-wrapped steering wheel and leatherette trim for the seats.
Once again, no safety features are added by this trim. It seems unlikely that any buyer looking at the Spark is overly concerned about performance, making it unlikely that the suspension is a deciding factor. Still, the interior upgrades are appealing enough to attract some consumers to the ACTIV trim.
Compare the 2021 Chevrolet Spark ACTIV vs 2LT. What is the Difference?
The top-of-the-line 2LT trim does not have the performance-oriented upgrades that are found on the ACTIV model. Like all the models that came before it, this trim can be had with the manual or automatic transmission. The only significant mechanical upgrade made by the 2LT is keyless start.
There is plenty of chrome to be found on the outside of the 2LT. It is found on the trim as well as the door handles. This trim level goes back to the silver-painted aluminum wheels that were found on the 1LT. There are no fog lights for this trim, which also reverts back to halogen projector-beam headlights. A power sunroof is back on the table for the 2LT.
Sitting down in the cabin will reveal an enhanced driver information center. The 2LT comes with what Chevrolet calls "keyless open." This simply means drivers can lock and unlock their vehicle without taking out the key fob as long as the Spark can detect it. This is designed to reduce the odds of locking the keys inside of the vehicle.
Finally, buyers can equip their Spark with advanced driver assistance features, as long as they choose the continuously variable transmission. The Driver Confidence Package comes with forward collision alert with automatic emergency braking. It also includes lane departure warning.
With either transmission, the 2LT gets rear park assist. This feature simply alerts the driver when it detects nearby objects while the vehicle is in reverse. Rear park assist only works at low speeds.
The fully-loaded 2021 Spark may not be all that impressive. That said, it still has an incredibly low starting price that represents a good deal considering all of the features that do come equipped. It also only costs a few hundred dollars more than the ACTIV, further adding to the appeal.
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Which Trim to Choose?
The Spark will continue to draw consumers as a result of its low starting price. Despite lacking many modern convenience features, the vehicle is loaded with technology. This alone may make some buyers overlook the Sparks other shortcomings.
Although the top trim of the Spark is appealing, most people looking at this vehicle are out to save money. Accordingly, sticking with the 1LT is the way to go. It gives buyers many more automatic features than the entry-level LS, which is worth skipping altogether. Buyers who genuinely want an athletic hatchback are better off looking at elsewhere rather than settling for the ACTIV.
Unless a buyer cannot live without things such as chrome accents and keyless entry, they should stick with the 1LT.
• Compare the 2020 Chevrolet Spark Trim Levels