By on August 30, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Spark LS

I could live with this car … under a couple of conditions.

Air conditioning is a must have, and I may have told you about the need for an aftermarket shifter solution.

But GM Canada’s $9,995 2016 Chevrolet Spark LS, which lacks A/C and a tolerable shifter, is nevertheless an acceptable place to spend time. Though it drives with far less verve than the not-sold-in-Freedomland $9,988 2016 Nissan Micra S, the Spark is the more comfortable and refined option.

Up the price with an array of options and the argument for North America’s second Chevrolet Spark falls apart. As a $10,000 car, however, there’s a case to be made. (Read More…)

By on August 29, 2016

Spark Power Lock Math

We told you — yea, we even showed you — that the most basic 2016 Chevrolet Spark you can buy has manual locks, but also a power lock.

Fascinated? We were. After driving around in a car with manual locks that automatically locked its driver’s door at 8 miles per hour and unlocked its driver’s door when the key was removed from ignition, we were spooked and amazed and perplexed. We asked GM for comment but initially did not hear back.

Now we have. (Read More…)

By on August 26, 2016

2016 chevrolet spark ls

Are you sure you want to save the manuals?

In theory, of course, you want to save the manual transmission. You enjoy driving. You enjoy enhancing the man-machine connection by synchronizing movements between your left foot, right hand, and right foot. You value the art of a perfectly timed shift, of properly holding a gear through a corner when even the most intelligent automatic would upshift. You know the corner. You know driving. You know how to get the best out of a Ford Fiesta ST half an hour before sunrise on Italy’s Stelvio Pass, even though you’ve never set foot outside Iowa, even though you drive a RAV4 Hybrid.

“What? I would’ve gotten a manual if Toyota offered one,” thou doth protest too much.

As we approach greater degrees of autonomous driving, as roads fill up and speed limits are not altered to reflect our vehicles’ huge improvements in stopping ability and safety, saving the manuals sounds like a noble campaign. Preserve that last shred of pure driving already forsaken by Ferrari, by performance-oriented Porsches, by the general populace that believes their right hands are better off holding a skinny cinnamon dolce latte than a leather-wrapped shifter.

But I’m driving proof, a $9,995* 2016 Chevrolet Spark, that we shouldn’t paint with such a broad #SaveTheManuals brush. We should save some of the manuals, but certainly not all of them. (Read More…)

By on August 24, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Spark LS locks overlay, Image: © 2016 Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars

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. (Read More…)

By on January 15, 2016

2016 Chevrolet Spark

Chevrolet might be trying to sell its newest Spark in the United States for $12,660 ($13,535 with freight), but the automaker is bringing its game to other low-priced subcompacts in Canada with a starting price of $9,995 CAD ($11,595 CAD with freight/PDI).

That means the Spark costs $6,880 USD on the Canadian side of the border after adjusting for current exchange rates. Either GM Canada is taking a massive financial hit on the Spark, or Americans are getting hosed — by $5,780 USD, to be exact — for the Korean-made hatchback.

(Read More…)

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