When we first saw the Spark at the Geneva show in 2009, the Spark was expected to get a combined number of 47 mpg, though that may have been forecasting a European rating.
With its small size and small, 1.2 liter, 85 hp engine, it's easy to think of the Spark as super efficient. The similarly-sized Smart ForTwo gets a combined EPA number of 36 mpg, while the larger Hyundai Accent gets 34 as well.
In fact, the Spark's larger stablemates, the Cruze Eco and Sonic, can do almost as well if properly equipped. Both cars gets a combined 33 mpg with the turbocharged 1.4 liter and manual six-speed transmission. The Sonic even breaks the 40-mpg barrier in highway driving and the Cruze Eco gets an even better 42.
The moral of this story? Looks like a sixth gear makes a huge difference in fuel economy. And if you don't mind paying a little more, you can get a larger Chevy with better EPA numbers.