This 2016 Chevrolet Spark LS With Manual Locks Has Hidden Power Locks

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
this 2016 chevrolet spark ls with manual locks has hidden power locks

General Motors’ 2016 Chevrolet Spark LS does not have power locks.

Correction: as shown in the high-production-quality video embedded below, the 2016 Chevrolet Spark LS has a mysterious power lock, singular.

For an advertised Canadian base price of $9,995, or $11,595 with destination charges, the 2016 Chevrolet Spark is at once both very well equipped and decidedly spartan. This is not the Ford Festiva you inherited from your ex-girlfriend’s uncle. “The bumper and hood are no good,” he told you, having recently run into a deer. “But she runs pretty good.”

No, in the base 2016 Spark, there’s a backup camera, for example, and antilock brakes, a bundle of air bags, decent seats, Bluetooth, and WiFi availability.

There’s also a bit of magic.

Magic aside, there are similarities between the Spark and econoboxes of yesteryear. The 2016 Chevrolet Spark LS requires a reach across to the right-side A-pillar to adjust the passenger-side mirror. There are no power mirrors.

Approaching a drive-thru window? You must manually crank a lever with your left hand so your left arm can reach through the aperture to claim your goods. There are no power windows.

Nor is there an air conditioning unit. When the wind begins to severely decrease your two-year-old’s level of highway contentment, you must reach around the passenger seat and crank his window up. Or pull over. But the Spark is tiny; it’s not that far of a reach.

The 2016 Chevrolet Spark LS also lacks power locks, known in the Chevrolet spec sheet and manual as “automatic locks.” On 1LT and 2LT Sparks, automatic locks are standard equipment.

Says the glovebox manual:

Automatic Door Locks

If equipped, the vehicle is programmed so that when the doors are closed, the ignition is on, and the shift lever is moved out of P (Park) for automatic transmissions, or the vehicle speed is above 13 km/h (8 mph) for manual transmissions, the doors and the liftgate will lock.

If equipped? Or if not.

Once our Spark tester reaches 8 miles per hour, the driver’s door locks. There is no lock button on the driver’s door armrest to press. Then, having reached your destination, you turn the Spark off, remove the key, and magically, the driver’s side door unlocks.

All of this happens without driver intervention.

None of this pertains to the other doors.

What is going on? Is a power door lock actuator wearing a disguise in this establishment?

We have asked GM representatives on both sides of the border for comment, but our inquiries have fallen on deaf ears so far.

[Images: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars]

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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5 of 76 comments
  • Ppxhbqt Ppxhbqt on Aug 25, 2016

    Someone got close with the IIHS comment, but it doesn't get you any additional "stars", which the IIHS doesn't assign anyway. But for the answer, look at the first crash test of the current generation Kia Sedona. The door came open because the option to override the automatic locking existed and the IIHS overrode, as is their policy, and something hit the handle and opened the door, greatly reducing the Sedona's score. Kia reprogrammed the software to only let you choose between speed or going out of park and they retested and the score was fine. So that's the reason: to make sure the door is locked during the IIHS test, because if the car doesn't automatically lock it every time, the IIHS makes sure it's not locked when the test is run and the results can be disastrous.

    • See 1 previous
    • Ppxhbqt Ppxhbqt on Sep 01, 2016

      @sgeffe After reviewing the test again, it looks like I didn't remember correctly. They just said the door came open. H-K products are like the old Fords up front; I assume GM continues to require the door to be unlocked manually, but I'm guessing you've seen the follow-up now that says it's for OnStar.

  • Mik101 Mik101 on Aug 25, 2016

    The first gen Wave/Aveo had power locks that you either had to use the keyless entry fob or pull the lock stocks on the doors to actuate from the inside just like that one pictured on the driver's door of the spark. No switches to be found. People have short memories. As to why it's only on the driver's door: Left hand drive car + IIHS crash testing policy of leaving them unlocked if they can be. basically Chevy shouldn't be cheap and just do it on both sides.

    • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Aug 28, 2016

      I wasn't aware that speed sensors worked with the car's power "ON" without an ignition signal from the ECU. Since the fluids are drained before the cars are sacrificed, does IIHS rig a false ignition signal to the CAN-bus? One wonders. (After having just spent time going over their test protocol for the small-offset test, that answer is unclear.)

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