Ace of Base: 2018 Chevrolet Spark LS Manual

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy

Question for ya. When does it become imperative that one must have a new car? The 2018 Chevy Spark shown here stickers for a mere $13,050 before incentives (and, yes, there are incentives, even at the Ace of Base end of the market.) Thirteen large can buy a heckuva used car, after all.

I’ll tell you when it becomes imperative: the minute a full warranty becomes more important than being thrifty. Whatever the reason, there’s intangible value in having a reliable commuter car or sending a family member into the big bad world in a car that won’t leave them stranded with an unexpected repair bill. As much as some of us would like to, it’s not always realistic to drive $1,000 Malaise-era clunkers.

Instead of approximately thirteen rattletraps, one can get into a Spark in LS Manual trim. Along for the ride will be an iPad-sized touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a backup camera, and WiFi hotspot. A $1,000 beater will not possess anything remotely resembling those features, but will instead feature a cassette player and paper-based satnav system. The gauges vaguely remind me of a sportbike but the GM corporate wheel looks plain and sad. At least it has a tilt adjustment.

A 1.4-liter inline-four making 98 horsepower doesn’t sound like much, but is light years ahead of anemic and raucous mills found in base cars of yore. A five-speed stick shift will serve as a handy anti-theft device. Stabilitrak should keep things shiny side up even with the most ham-fisted of new drivers at the wheel, while hill start assist keeps the brakes engaged for a fraction of a second on an incline while the driver figures out the aforementioned five-speed.

No fewer than 10 airbags will make the situation all pillowy if Stabilitrak fails in its task, popping out of the dash, front and rear seats, and roof. Two more whack you on the kneecaps like Tony Soprano. Cupholders abound for all occupants, who can also cool off by way of the standard equipment air conditioning.

A diminutive nine gallon fuel tank gives me pause, as the car will likely have to stop for a break before the driver will. Tiny 15-inch rubber will be cheap to replace, though 55-series sidewalls still qualify as low profile in this author’s antiquated brain.

Jazzy colors costing $0 always rank high on the Ace of Base meter; the hue shown here is simply called Splash (aside – I dearly hope the new Ranger has a Splash trim, even though I know it won’t). Optional $395 colors include the entertainingly named Brimstone. That one’s for sinners only, but fire is not included. The vain part of me would spend $425 on fog lamps.

For once, Canucks have it better, with the same car described above listing for only $9,995. That’s about $7,800 American. The only gratis color choices in the Great White North are red, silver, and white, but for that we will be grateful and probably apologize for our selection.

[Images: General Motors]

Not every base model has aced it. The ones which have? They help make the automotive landscape a lot better. Any others you can think of, B&B? Let us know in the comments. Naturally, feel free to eviscerate our selection.

The model above is shown in American dollars with American options and trim, absent of destination charges and available rebates. As always, your dealer may sell for less.

Matthew Guy
Matthew Guy

Matthew buys, sells, fixes, & races cars. As a human index of auto & auction knowledge, he is fond of making money and offering loud opinions.

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  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on Apr 04, 2018

    $13K or not, its still an $8K car. Let it be known at your Chevrolet dealer, you're happy to buy one of these with under 10K miles for wholesale plus a pack (which is about 8-8,5). This saves them auction fees and gives them a pack for profit on something nobody wants. These little sh!tboxes are frequently used as parts runners and shop cars, look into it cheapskates of the interwebz. "For once, Canucks have it better, with the same car described above listing for only $9,995. That’s about $7,800 American." Hell in Canada they are selling new at wholesale valuations, that's a first. Salute Amerika for adding an additional $5K in cost. Because freedumb.

  • Trichobezoar Trichobezoar on Apr 04, 2018

    What are the prices of these things in the Russian market? Saw a ton of them all over the place when I visited last year, many with mods. Will share pics of anyone is interested.

  • ToolGuy "and leaves auto dealers feeling troubled" ...well this is terrible. Won't someone think of the privileged swindlers??
  • ToolGuy "Selling as I got a new car and don't need an extra." ...Well that depends on what new car you chose, doesn't it? 😉
  • El scotto The days of "Be American, buy America" are long gone. Then there's the mental gymnastics of "is a Subaru made in Lafayette, IN more American than something from gm or Ford made in Mexico?" Lastly, it gets down to people's wallets; something cheap on Amazon or Temu will outsell its costlier American-made item. Price not Patriotism sells most items. One caveat: any US candidate should have all of his/her goods made in the USA.
  • FreedMike Well, here's my roster of car purchases since 1981: Three VWsTwo Mazdas (one being a Mercury Tracer, full disclosure)One AudiOne FordOne BuickOne HondaOne Volvo I think I hear Lee Greenwood in the background... In all seriousness, I'd have bought more American cars had they made more of the kinds of cars I like (smaller, performance-oriented).
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X I'll gladly support the least "woke" and the most Japanese auto company out there.