Chevrolet’s zippy Spark minicar was a fun little runabout before, but was a little too goofy and cramped for some to consider for a daily runabout. Thankfully, the Spark gets a total, more sophisticated redesign for 2016 that looks like it improves the vehicle without losing any of its charm.
The improvements start with Spark’s slightly lengthened wheelbase but a 1.6-inch lowered overall height that gives the car a lower, sleeker profile. This not only gives the car a sharper look, it reduces drag and makes the vehicle more efficient.
Wheels look bold as they were pushed to the edge of the fenders to make it as sold-looking as we hope it rides. Chevy does away with the pushed in face and upturned headlamps for something a little easier on the eyes. Its signature grill is now complemented by elliptical headlamps that sweep sharply across the top of the front fenders. The entire package looks a little bit more grown up than the youth-focused model it replaces.
While not shooting to topple any premium luxury vehicles, the Spark’s interior gets upgraded fabrics and higher density seat foam to make the ride a little more bearable. Tech-wise, the Spark gets a new LCD control screen that also allows easy access to the media and climate controls. Powering it is an upgraded version of the MyLink radio that arranges the interface like a smartphone that should feel pretty familiar to its occupants. If passengers need to use their actual phones, OnStar with 4G LTE is available, making the spark a sharp-looking mobile hotspot.
Under the hood is a new 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine that replaces the 1.2-liter it housed before. The new Ecotec engine produces 98 horsepower to the front wheels that can either be routed through a five-speed manual gearbox or a dual-range continuously variable transmission.
It’s all packaged in a new, more robust architecture that provides a stronger body structure that allowed engineers to make the ride and handling feel more precise.
The Spark gets a little smarter about safety, too, now packed with sensors that make Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Blind Spot Alert possible.
The spark still comes in the wide array of tasty colors as it did before, but now adds Toasted Marshmallow, Kalamata and Splash. We’ll be able to see just exactly this new palette looks like, as well as pricing info, closer to when the Spark goes on sale later this year.