• Mar 2nd 2009 at 7:59AM
  • 30
Click image above for a high-res gallery of the 2010 Chevrolet Spark

We've just disembarked from our transatlantic journey, and we haven't even managed to exit the airport here in Switzerland without stumbling into show-related news. The folks at Chevrolet have thoughtfully set up a surprisingly cozy lounge right in the outer concourse of the Geneva International Airport for media members, complete with a pair of attractive models standing by um... errr... an attractive young model – in this case, the production version of the 2010 Chevrolet Spark.

While we are evidently not allowed to sit in the Spark (let alone rap on the dashboard and check out interior materials and fits), we have been able able to open up the five-door and peer inside, and it appears to be surprisingly capacious for both front- and rear-seat passengers, and the cargo looks right-sized as well.

Better still, the roadgoing version of 2007's New York Auto Show star (then dubbed "Beat") promises to return 47 miles-per-gallon (U.S.) on the combined cycle while emitting less than 120 grams-per-kilometer of C02, regardless of whether the 66-horsepower, 1.0-liter four-cylinder or the 78-hp, 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine is fitted.

The Palexpo press preview doesn''t officially start until tomorrow, so consider the Spark galleries below (and the press release after the jump) to be a tasty amuse-bouche before the parade of Swiss delights that we will be bringing you over the next couple of days. Enjoy.

[Source: General Motors]


World Premiere

All-New Chevrolet Spark: A Mini-Car with Attitude

Edgy styling adds brio to mini-car segment
Youthful interior look with unique motorcycle-inspired instrument pod
Class-leading front and rear passenger room
Frugal 1.0/1.2-liter engines deliver sub-120 g CO2 emissions

The all-new Chevrolet Spark, making its world premiere at Geneva, is a small car designed to make a big statement. It's big on style, big on fuel economy and, like all products carrying the gold bowtie, big on value.

Distinctive, edgy styling conveys energy and spirit because this is a mini-car that's as fun to drive as it is economical to own.

With punchy 1.0 and 1.2-liter four-cylinder gasoline engines and a five-door hatchback body format offering surprising versatility, the Chevy Spark is set to light up Europe's mini-car segment.

Due on sale early next year, it is a production-ready version of the Beat concept car, the most popular of a trio of Chevy mini concepts that toured international motor shows in 2007. A clear majority among 1.9 million internet voters said it was the car they preferred.

"Spark will bring a fresh dimension to Europe's growing mini-car segment," says Wayne Brannon, GM Europe Vice President, Chevrolet. "It offers fuel efficiency, functionality and eye-catching design combined with excellent value."

Size matters

For 'cute and cuddly', read 'strong and sharp' – that's the message behind Spark's head-turning looks. Its edgy styling breaks the usual mold for city car design by making no soft, visual concessions about lack of size. Spark continues Chevrolet's design revolution by bringing exciting looks to products in the value segment.

The crisp lines of the mono-cab body express a wedge-like profile, with the deep glasshouse balanced by prominent side body scallops, sculptured fenders and slim, teardrop headlamp units. The 'active' contours of the bodywork are free from rubbing strips or exterior trim.

At the front, the bold twin-port grille leads up to a hood that's heavily sculpted above the headlamps. Below the grille, the lines of the fog lamp housings and the 'floating' lower air intake extend the sense of forward movement. Muscular rear wheel-arches, well filled with a choice of 13, 14 or 15-inch wheels, give the car a crouched, ready-to-go stance.

Rear door handles, disguised to preserve the clean look of those wheel-aches, an integrated rear tailgate spoiler and signature Chevy tail lights with round elements are other design details that add to Spark's 'must-have' appeal.

Purposeful and poised, the Chevy Spark is a city car with 'attitude', small yet proud of its size.

Inspired cabin

The progressive design of Spark's surprisingly spacious cabin has the flair to match its exterior looks. The use of quality materials and an uplevel execution were key interior design requirements, demonstrating that small cars offering big value need not look utilitarian or spartan inside.

Bright and engaging, the interior features an evolution of Chevrolet's signature 'dual cockpit' design. The textured front fascia moldings flow each side of the cabin into the doors, creating a feeling of space that belies Spark's diminutive size.

Exterior bodywork colors are carried through into the lower fascia and door panels. And the main controls are all highlighted in signature Chevy ice-blue, adding to the cabin's youthful looks.

A unique, motorcycle-inspired main instrument pod, incorporating a large speedometer and digital tachometer display, is another striking design feature.

The audio, heating, ventilation and navigation displays are all neatly presented in an integrated center stack. A small floor console includes twin cup-holders, ample storage cubbyholes and a gearshift molding finished in aluminum to match the spokes of the steering wheel.

Spark packs a generous 2,375 mm wheelbase into its 3,640 mm long body, which helps to deliver a cabin with class-leading passenger leg and hip room, front and rear. The seats are upholstered in a range of bright, contrasting fabrics, with top-of-line variants even including uplevel French seam stitching.

Despite its minimal rear overhang for ease of parking, Spark offers an above average 170-liter trunk volume, easily increased to 994 liters by lowering the 60/40 split-fold rear seat-back. All four door pockets are large enough to provide useful onboard storage for oddments. Spark's versatility can be taken a step further by specifying roof rails, a rare option in the segment.

The extensive equipment roster includes: a height-adjustable driver's seat, tilting steering wheel, electrically-powered front windows, heated front seats, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, electrically-powered and heated door mirrors, a trip computer and 'anti-freeze' windshield wipers.

On the move

Newly-developed, all-aluminum 1.0 and 1.2-liter gasoline engines, generating 66 hp/49 kW and 78 hp/58 kW respectively, are expected to offer combined cycle fuel economy of below 5.0L/100 km, together with CO2 emissions of less than 120 g.

These efficient, Euro 5 compliant, 16-valve motors are mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. The 1.2-liter engine is expected to deliver zero to 100 km/h acceleration in a brisk 12.4 seconds.

Apart from fewer visits to the filling station, Spark also delivers a level of running refinement and NVH (noise, vibration, harshness) typical of a larger car. A three-level noise suppression program focused on effective insulation in the floor, the front bulkhead and inner body panels. The chassis is based on McPherson strut front suspension, with a space-saving torsion beam set-up at the rear. Electronic Stability Control (ESC) will be offered as an option.

Standard safety equipment includes driver, front passenger, side and curtain airbags. The front seatbelts are equipped with pre-tensioners and there are three, three-point belts for rear passengers. Spark is expected to achieve a high EuroNCAP crash test rating.

Brand carrier

In the last three years, annual mini-car sales in Europe have grown from under one million to almost 1.4 million units and Spark, backed by the high value promise of the gold bowtie, is expected to substantially increase Chevrolet's penetration of the segment, particularly in western European markets.

While re-energizing Chevrolet's mini-car offer, Spark is the next step in a new product development program led by the Cruze compact sedan, being launched this spring. Both cars feature a new, more expressive design language for the brand. They will also be joined next year by an all-new compact MPV, based on the Orlando concept car first shown last year.

Chevrolet continues to be Europe's fastest-growing mainstream automotive brand. Despite challenging market conditions in the second half of 2008, Chevrolet increased its annual sales volume by almost 11 percent, selling more than 500,000 cars in Europe for the first time. The launches of Spark, Cruze and Orlando will add momentum to this unfolding success story.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      +1. On a Suburban those headlights would look normal. On a Beat, they're freakishly huge.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Interior looks amazing, Exterior would be fantastic given the headlights didn't look like a Home for Rosie O'Donnell and *his* kids.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That's excellent fuel economy for a car that hasn't processed by hybrid hype.

      • 6 Years Ago
      Given the proportions of the headlights, upper & lower grille, foglights, I get the feeling it's trying to be a Fiesta. (???) But it was clearly sytled by an 8-year-old.

      What a horrible miss for GM when they desperately need a hit...:(
        • 6 Years Ago
        The exterior styling wasn't the only thing they stole from ford, those dash vents are straight out of the '04-'08 F150.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The motorcycle-esque gauges are cool and the rest of the interior is pretty nice with the exception of the indiglo colored lighting. The exterior has some great surfaces, but the proportions are out of whack.
      • 6 Years Ago
      No thanks.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Somewhere within those headlights you will find the devoured city of Cleveland.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The spark concept car looked quite good, that's why people voted for it.

      The bastardization that is this car is rubsih! There are general ques taken from the concept, but it's not the conecpt. All the lines are off, and all the "bold" characteristics of the conecpt don't work on this car.
      GM is the FAIL.

      do an image search for "Chevrolet Spark concept" and compare with this turd.

      The concept is amazing because of it's lines. The production car's windows are taller, they added a rear door thus elongating the chassis (Why!) making the whole "Squished" look even worse. The production front fascia is crap, the grills are huge, and the lights... well they are enormous. Look at the concept, the grill and lights look fine because they are in proportion to the rest of the car.

      Honestly, GM needs to fail, these people don't have a clue.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Whoa! Mischa Barton will do just about anything these days....
      • 6 Years Ago
      Agreed with everyone! My first thought was why are the headlights the largest thing on the car. It would have been sexy if they had made that all aerodynamic plastic or metal and used tiny headlights.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So they placed a model right between the front and rear doors to hide the fact that it is a 4-door. GM could've saved money by keeping it a two door and hiring one less model. They could save now by firing the person who insisted this car should be a 4-door.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't mind the 4-door aspect. Maybe a 2 door will show up down the line. The four door should be better for sales - more practicality. It looks like a Honda Fit so it may as well have the utility of a Fit. I like the interior and the exterior for a economy car. much in line with the competition. Much better than anything GM has ever done for this segment and looks as good as the best competition in the price segment (I assume Fit and Yaris buyers are the target audience?).
      • 6 Years Ago
      Third & fourth graders all around the country will want one...but once you get on past Jr. High, nobody looks cool in a Tranformers / Power Rangers / Pokemon Clown-Mobile like this. Can manufacturers not give us a cheap yet dignified-looking car any more? The Hyundai Accent and Kia Rio are the only entry-level "runts" that look like an adult designed them.
        • 6 Years Ago
        These are smaller than those by a fair bit.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm baffled at those who say this interior is anything special. Don't get me wrong, much as Cmicasa says above, I do agree the interior is good for a city car. But it's junk for anything else.

      The center console is well laid out, I'll give you that. That display panel used to show the climate control status looks okay too. However, the instrument cluster is awful, failing basic usability. The whole thing is the same plastic swath as any other low-end vehicle. The knobs all look very cheap, including the shift knob. The seats are look okay.

      The best part of the interior is the center stack and that's mostly better because GM finally got rid of their double-DIN replaceable radio. Which is a mixed blessing at best. What if I don't like that the aux in jack is right there in the middle of the dash instead of down by the cupholder where my mp3 player will be sitting? I guess that's just too bad.

      This looks fine. I'd like to see this car here. It'll compete better than the Aveo, but it just isn't worlds different to me.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I gotta say.. and it's been said several times in this thread..

        This car is smaller than the Aveo. This car is 143 inches long... and Aveo5 is 154.. Yup.. I said the AVEO is almost a Foot longer than this car.

        Leave your perceptions at the door.. GM is building some of the best cars on the market. Their financial situation is not a result of the cars they build now.. or even as far back as 10 years ago.. it's a result of them bending to the UAW for far to long... and an economic situation that even had the "Golden Boy" Toyota closing down dealerships and renting space on "Portless Freighters" to HIDE their unsold inventory
        • 6 Years Ago
        I know it's smaller. I know what a city car is.

        I have no idea where you got your perceptions of what my perceptions are.

        I said the same thing in the Ford Kuga article. People are looking at the interiors of these cars in pictures and seeing something I don't think is there. They're cheap plastic interiors. They're not leagues beyond what we already have.

        In this specific case, the instrument cluster is awful. Awful.
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