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2019 Chevrolet Spark

Starting at $14,095

2019 Chevrolet Spark

Select a year

  • Highs Class-above interior, loaded infotainment system, rides and drives better than expected.
  • Lows Just plain slow, unremarkable fuel economy, cumbersome cargo solutions.
  • Verdict Nothing else this small and this affordable is this good.
By Eric Stafford


The Chevrolet Spark disproves the notion that cheap transportation must be soulless. Instead, the pint-sized hatchback provides a cheerful cabin environment and unfettered driving engagement. Its four-cylinder powertrain is unenthusiastic but discreet and obedient in city traffic. Chevy's excellent infotainment system brings standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. The Spark's raised seating height and tough-looking Activ model emulate popular crossover traits. Although a small back seat and limited driver assists diminish its mass appeal, the Spark breaks the mold used by rival small cars. We think it's one of the best small cars you can buy, which is why we awarded it a spot on our Editors' Choice list.

What's New for 2019?

Some 2019 Chevrolet Sparks receive an updated front end, with a fresh grille design and revised headlights. New wheel designs and more exterior colors—Orange Burst, Passion Fruit, Caribbean Blue, and Raspberry—are further changes. Every model adds the latest Chevrolet touchscreen interface (called Infotainment 3) plus two illuminated USB ports. White interior lighting now surrounds the climate controls. Also, low-speed automated emergency braking is now available.

Pricing and Which One to Buy


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The 2019 Spark price makes it the most affordable hatchback in its class, barely cresting $14,000 in base trim. While that version is the best bargain, every model provides an excellent value. We recommend the Spark Activ (sans "e") with the manual transmission, which saves $1100 over the optional automatic. Its distinct appearance includes a chunkier front end and plastic lower cladding, roof rails, and special 15-inch wheels. The interior receives a leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated front seats wrapped with faux leather.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

Likes: Unobtrusive CVT operation, unexpected ride quality, playful steering feedback.
Dislikes: Highway passes require premeditation, bumpy surfaces are poorly concealed.

Every Spark has a feeble four-cylinder engine that drives the front wheels through either a five-speed manual or continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). Thankfully, the gearless automatic managed power well without droning engine noise. While the version we tested was responsive at low speeds around town, be prepared to wait as it moseys up to higher speeds. The Spark struggled from zero to 60 mph in 10.7 seconds and needed 7.6 seconds to go from 50 to 70 mph, which simulates passing at highway speeds. This diminutive hatchback is definitely not designed for long road trips, but it's effective and quiet in the city.

The Spark is easy to thread through slow-moving traffic, with quick lateral movements and stable motions. Its short wheelbase aids maneuverability in tight spaces without compromising ride quality. Still, the Chevy was bouncy on uneven surfaces, and the harshest bumps were barely isolated. However, rattles and road noise were more subdued than in rival economy cars. The Spark's steering felt direct and communicated the road surface to the driver's hand. It was also relaxed at highway speeds and made changing lanes easy without feeling twitchy. The firm brake pedal had strong responses that helped scrub speed quickly and consistently.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

Despite its teensy size and teeny engine, the Spark doesn't earn fantastic EPA estimates. In city driving, it's rated at 29 mpg with the manual transmission and 30 with the automatic. Highway estimates are 37 mpg on Activ models and 38 on the others. These figures are better than the Fiat 500's but are outdone by the Mitsubishi Mirage's rating of up to 36 mpg city and 43 highway. The automatic Spark LT we tested on our 200-mile highway fuel-economy route returned 37 mpg, 1 mpg shy of both its EPA rating and the last 500C we tested.

Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo

Likes: Interior quality transcends price point, popular standard infotainment features.
Dislikes: Tight back seat, unwieldy folding rear seats.

The Spark avoids the shoddy interior quality that is common on cars this cheap. Although most plastics are hard, they fit together evenly and have attractive textures. Desirable features are mainly limited to leather trimmings and heated front seats. The driving position is upright like a crossover's, with a fold-down armrest that keeps things comfortable. The large front doors and raised seat height make climbing into the cockpit easy. Unfortunately, the narrow front seats have flimsy cushions and no lateral support. The back seat is undeniably cramped; the front seats must be slid forward to comfortably fit an adult.

Even the entry-level Spark has a standard 7.0-inch touchscreen with a 4G LTE mobile hotspot, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. The infotainment screen is primarily controlled by touch, but a useful rotary volume knob and redundant buttons are conveniently located. A pair of USB ports and a 12-volt outlet are situated below the center stack.

We fit three carry-on bags behind the Spark's back seat, which offers 11 cubic feet of cargo space. That increases to 27 cubes with the rear seat stowed, allowing it to swallow 15 bags total. However, this was a very clumsy transformation. It required moving the front seats forward, so the bottom cushions could flip up before the seatbacks could fold down. Even then, the cargo floor was nowhere near flat. Likewise, loading luggage involved lifting it up and over the rear bumper. Inside, the Spark has cubbies in the center console and a useful shelf above the glovebox, but there's only a plastic tray between the back seats.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hasn't crash-tested the Spark, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety didn't name it a Top Safety Pick. While the tiny hatchback is available with some driver assists, the most notable options are reserved for the most expensive model. Key safety features include:

  • Available forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking
  • Available lane-departure warning
  • Available rear parking sensors

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

The Spark's limited and powertrain warranties are unspectacular compared with the Mirage's 10 years or 100,000 miles. However, the Chevy is a much better car overall. It also includes five years or 60,000 miles of roadside assistance.

  • Limited warranty covers 3 years or 36,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers 5 years or 60,000 miles
  • Complimentary maintenance covers one visit for the first year


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