To that end, the entry-level Spark has been designed carefully. Obvious forethought went into the packaging of the virtually hidden rear passenger doors (not unlike its larger cousin, the five-door Sonic), and color choices with names like Salsa, Jalapeno, Denim, Lemonade, and Techno Pink are clearly aimed at a customer looking for something imaginative. Unique to our Spark will be a redesigned front fascia with distinct foglamp housings and airdam. The grille stretches further down the nose, too, and out back there are taillamps and bumper designs specific to the United States and Canadian markets.
Beyond the aesthetic alterations, important Spark details include a 1.2-liter dual-overhead cam four cylinder that spins 15-inch alloy wheels with 85 hp through a standard five-speed manual transmission or optional four-speed automatic. Chevrolet MyLink is available in the Spark with a seven-inch touchscreen. Mylink features Bluetooth phone integration, and Pandora or Stitcher can be piped through your smartphone and directly into Mylink. Standard air conditioning and power windows, along with a motorcycle-inspired gauge cluster (there's that Sonic influence again) and color coordinated interior serve to spiff things up. It seems the message has sunk in that small cars don't have to be brutally decontented.
Check out the press release after the jump, and stay tuned to our full-court-press coverage of the LA show, where we'll get a chance to climb in and around the 2013 Chevrolet Spark and give you our firsthand impressions.
2013 Chevrolet Spark Mini Car is the Key to the City
Nimble, affordable, five-door hatch lets urban drivers live larger in tight spaces
• Available Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system includes seven-inch color touch screen
• Choice of vibrant exterior and interior colors makes Spark stand out in a crowd
• Fuel-efficient, affordable and maneuverable for young city dwellers
• Integrated safety system including 10 air bags and OnStar
LOS ANGELES – The 2013 Chevrolet Spark mini car, to be revealed Wednesday, November 16th at the Los Angeles International Auto Show, is the only car in its segment to offer a seven-inch color touch screen radio capable of displaying smart phone-based navigation, media and contacts for hands-free calling.
A sporty four-passenger, five-door hatch updated for United States and Canadian consumers, Spark is designed to excite first-time buyers and city dwellers with its bold styling and colors, affordability, the safety of 10 standard air bags, fuel efficiency and maneuverability.
Though compact, Spark offers more passenger and cargo room than other mini cars such as the Fiat 500, Smartfortwo and the Scion iQ. Equipped with the 1.2L four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission, Spark will offer competitive fuel economy.
Chevrolet's exclusive MyLink infotainment system, which features the personalized connectivity of Pandora and Stitcher internet radio, will be offered on 1LT and 2LT models when Spark goes on sale in the United States and Canada in mid-2012.
In addition to MyLink, Spark is the only car in its segment to provide the added value of a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and the safety and security of OnStar.
"Spark is for buyers who want much more than a 'cute' small car – they want a car that can be personalized, is dynamic and fashionable, and delivers a lot of value for the money," said Chris Perry, vice president, global Chevrolet marketing and strategy. "Spark's vibrant exterior and interior colors make a fashion statement, but it is also affordable, safe, maneuverable and very fuel-efficient."
The original version of the Spark is already on sale in Europe, Asia, Australia, Mexico and South America, where it has received several styling and safety awards.
Designed for those who live large and loud
Just as the Chevrolet Cruze helped strengthen Chevrolet's position in the small car segment with its more-than-expected value, the Spark is designed to challenge preconceived notions of how an affordable mini car can look, feel and drive.
While the Spark looks like a three-door hatch, designers cleverly disguised the rear doors by integrating the handles into the C-pillar area. The technique gives Spark its sporty appearance without sacrificing four-door comfort and utility. An integrated spoiler over the rear hatch door enhances Spark's dynamic appearance while also improving the car's aerodynamics, for fuel efficiency.
Spark's wheels-at-the-corners stance is further emphasized by standard 15-inch alloy wheels. Other exterior styling enhancements include a new grille and front fascia, a longer rear fascia, and modified headlamps and taillamps. Redesigned outside rearview mirrors also improve aerodynamics.
Uplevel features include matching rocker panel moulding, chrome brightwork at the beltline and liftgate handle trim, detail around the poke-through exhaust outlet and around the fog lamps.
Attention-grabbing exterior finishes include Salsa, Jalapeno, Denim, Lemonade and Techno Pink, as well traditional hues such as Grey Area, Black Granite, Silver Ice and Summit White.
Inside, the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, included on 1LT and 2LT Spark models, provides a seven-inch color touch screen. With MyLink, Spark buyers can bring their customized music libraries into the vehicle and use their smart phones and Bluetooth connectivity to access both Pandora and Stitcher internet radio and navigation. When the vehicle is stopped, owners can project video and even personal photo albums onto the screen.
SiriusXM Satellite Radio also is available on uplevel Spark models
"This level of infotainment and connectivity was unheard of in this segment, until now," said Perry. "We know Spark buyers do not want to give up personalization just because they drive a smaller car."
Air conditioning and power windows are standard across the Spark lineup. Color-coordinated interiors feature a lower instrument panel – with a motorcycle-inspired gauge cluster – and lower center console for maximum visibility and storage. Decorative inserts in the front door and instrument panel add a premium touch, as does the ice blue ambient lighting and faceplates across the door pockets and dash. Heated leatherette seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel are included on Spark 2LT.
Efficient powertrain saves fuel, money
In the United States and Canada, the Spark will be powered by a 1.2L dual-overhead cam four-cylinder engine with variable valve timing that delivers an estimated 85 horsepower (63 kW). It is mated to a standard five-speed manual transmission for competitive city and highway fuel economy. A four-speed automatic transmission will also be available.
The dual-overhead cam 1.2L was developed using best practices from GM Powertrain technical centers.
It combines competitive performance with sophisticated technologies such as dual continuous variable cam phasing, electronically controlled thermostat and low-friction engine oil to give customers an engine that is low-maintenance, with reduced emissions and outstanding fuel economy.
Ride and handling
Spark's body-frame integral structure is tight and stiff for improved driving dynamics. The electronic power steering, MacPherson strut-type front suspension and anti-lock braking systems are designed to deliver taut, tight handling characteristics that better connect the driver with the road and provide outstanding overall stability. StabiliTrak electronic stability control is standard.
Spark is equipped with vented front disc and rear drum brakes with low-compressibility brake pads for optimal stopping performance and good pedal feel. Low-rolling resistance tires use a silica compound and revised tread design for a solid road feel and improved fuel efficiency.
Safety features include 10 air bags
Spark was designed with occupant safety in mind, and has won safety awards in both Europe and Korea.
Its safe design begins with a structure composed of 60 percent high-strength steel.
In addition to crash-avoidance technologies such as StabiliTrak and ABS, Spark is equipped with 10 standard air bags, including both driver and passenger front knee air bags to reduce the risk of lower extremity injuries in frontal crashes. Dual-stage frontal air bags, seat-mounted side air bags and side curtain air bags that extend over the front and rear seating rows are also standard.
Other safety technologies include rollover sensing system; three-point safety belts in all four seating positions; seat belt pretensioners in the front driver and passenger seats; the LATCH child seat attachment system; releasable pedals; adjustable head restraints; and a collapsible steering column.
Spark also is equipped with the OnStar safety and security system, which uses GPS and cellular phone technology to automatically call for help in the event of crash.
Founded in Detroit in 1911, Chevrolet celebrates its centennial as a global automotive brand with annual sales of about 4.25 million vehicles in more than 140 countries. Chevrolet provides consumers with fuel-efficient, safe and reliable vehicles that deliver high quality, expressive design, spirited performance and value. The Chevrolet portfolio includes iconic performance cars such as Corvette and Camaro; dependable, long-lasting pickups and SUVs such as Silverado and Suburban; and award-winning passenger cars and crossovers such as Sonic, Cruze, Malibu, Equinox and Traverse. Chevrolet also offers "gas-friendly" solutions including Cruze Eco and Volt. Cruze Eco offers 42 mpg highway while Volt offers 35 miles of electric, gasoline-free driving and an additional 344 miles of extended gasoline range, according to EPA estimates. Most new Chevrolet models offer OnStar safety, security and convenience technologies including OnStar Hands-Free Calling, Automatic Crash Response and Stolen Vehicle Slowdown. More information regarding Chevrolet models, fuel solutions and OnStar availability can be found at www.chevrolet.com.