The new Chevy Spark could be the smallest model ever offered by General Motors in North America if the company follows through with plans to bring it here in 2011. Given the continuing upheavals at the tubes, and the questions about the micro-car segment in the U.S., this one is anything but certain. Nonetheless, the Spark is now on sale in other parts of the world and the folks at the UK's Channel 4 recently had the opportunity to drive it.
The Europeans get two four-cylinder engine options in the Spark, a 67 hp 1.0-liter or an 80 hp 1.2-liter. The larger engine takes 12.1 seconds to hit 62 mph while the smaller unit takes 15.5 seconds. Neither is especially refined in doing so, and they struggle climbing grades at highway speeds. They are rated at 49.0 and 46.1 mpg (U.S.) on the EU combined cycle, good but not outstanding especially given the sluggish thrust. A diesel or battery version would probably be a better choice for the city car. It sounds like the ride and handling could use some more tweaking as well.