Ace of Base: 2018 Chevrolet Spark LS Manual
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.
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- ToolGuy CXXVIII comments?!?
- ToolGuy I did truck things with my truck this past week, twenty-odd miles from home (farther than usual). Recall that the interior bed space of my (modified) truck is 98" x 74". On the ride home yesterday the bed carried a 20 foot extension ladder (10 feet long, flagged 14 inches past the rear bumper), two other ladders, a smallish air compressor, a largish shop vac, three large bins, some materials, some scrap, and a slew of tool cases/bags. It was pretty full, is what I'm saying.The range of the Cybertruck would have been just fine. Nothing I carried had any substantial weight to it, in truck terms. The frunk would have been extremely useful (lock the tool cases there, out of the way of the Bed Stuff, away from prying eyes and grasping fingers -- you say I can charge my cordless tools there? bonus). Stainless steel plus no paint is a plus.Apparently the Cybertruck bed will be 78" long (but over 96" with the tailgate folded down) and 60-65" wide. And then Tesla promises "100 cubic feet of exterior, lockable storage — including the under-bed, frunk and sail pillars." Underbed storage requires the bed to be clear of other stuff, but bottom line everything would have fit, especially when we consider the second row of seats (tools and some materials out of the weather).Some days I was hauling mostly air on one leg of the trip. There were several store runs involved, some for 8-foot stock. One day I bummed a ride in a Roush Mustang. Three separate times other drivers tried to run into my truck (stainless steel panels, yes please). The fuel savings would be large enough for me to notice and to care.TL;DR: This truck would work for me, as a truck. Sample size = 1.
- Art Vandelay Dodge should bring this back. They could sell it as the classic classic classic model
- Surferjoe Still have a 2013 RDX, naturally aspirated V6, just can't get behind a 4 banger turbo.Also gloriously absent, ESS, lane departure warnings, etc.
- ToolGuy Is it a genuine Top Hand? Oh, I forgot, I don't care. 🙂
$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.
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.