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2019 Chevrolet Spark

$13,220 - $17,720
Price Range (MSRP)
Chevrolet Spark

2019 Chevrolet Spark Review: Affordable Fun

by Adam Lynton

Cheerful and cheap are words that describe the subcompact 2019 Chevrolet Spark perfectly. Carrying on its second generation, the Spark gives buyers inexpensive transport and immense value for money across all four trims. Under the tiny hood, you'll find a 1.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder motor that produces 98 hp and 94 lb-ft of torque, paired to either a five-speed manual or a CVT automatic. Interior volume might be limited, but the Spark offers benefits elsewhere to compensate for its small stature. Facing off against the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit, there's serious competition in this segment, and the question remains as to whether the Spark can actually measure up.

2019 Chevrolet Spark Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Spark?

2019 brings a few more elements into the mix for the Spark, with an updated front end design, revised headlights with LED daytime running lights, new wheel designs, and four additional exterior colors. There is also Chevrolet's Infotainment 3 system, the latter replacing the old Chevy MyLink and adding two illuminated USB ports. Automated emergency braking finally makes an appearance on the Spark, too.

Pros and Cons

  • Great value for money across the range
  • Small and nimble size
  • Brilliant infotainment system
  • Manual offering as standard
  • Automatic braking now available
  • Below-average fuel economy
  • Essential safety tech only available on the top trim
  • Cramped rear legroom

Spark Exterior

The Spark has come a long way since its South Korean Daewoo roots, having matured into a subcompact hatch with its own unique style. LS models ride on 15-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, while 1LT and 2LT derivatives get a set of silver-painted 15-inch alloy wheels. ACTIV models get 15-inch alloys with black contrast inserts to match the black body cladding and bumpers of the rugged trim, while also benefitting from foglamps with chrome rings. LS and ACTIV models get daytime running lamps, while 1LT and 2LT models upgrade to signature LED DRLs. meanwhile, all trims get halogen headlights, which are projector on all but the ACTIV. Chrome detailing is present only on the 2LT, while all models feature an integrated rear spoiler.

2019 Chevrolet Spark Front Angle View
2019 Chevrolet Spark Front View Driving
2019 Chevrolet Spark Side View
See All 2019 Chevrolet Spark Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The Chevrolet Spark is tiny by any measure, occupying the smaller end of the subcompact hatchback segment. Its body measures 143.1 inches long, 62.8 inches wide and rides on a wheelbase of 93.9 inches, making it an easy fit for any parking space or garage. It's also rather short, at only 58.4 inches in height on regular models. The ACTIV, along with its model-specific design traits, gets roof rails that push the height to 58.76 inches while retaining the rest of the dimensions of the standard trims. Depending on your model of choice, the Spark weighs between 2,246 pounds at base trim and 2,266 lbs for the fully loaded spec. Its diminutive size makes it a perfect urban crawler.

Exterior Colors

Subcompact cars arguably have a tough time competing in the market, with buyers focusing on price and value for money, while also targeting young, first-time buyers. The Spark offers an extensive range of ten colors to attract old and young with equally as catchy names as the colors are bright. Eight standard hues include the sedate Summit White, Silver Ice, and Nightfall Gray, as well as the more interesting Toasted Marshmallow. New for 2019 are Passion Fruit and the vivid Raspberry, along with the $395 premium options of Orange Burst and Caribbean Blue that stand out in any crowd.

Spark Performance

In the subcompact commuter segment, performance often takes a backseat to frugality. To this end, the Spark range makes use of a 1.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder motor, producing 98 hp and 94 lb-ft of torque. Two transmissions are offered, with the quicker being the five-speed manual that manages the 0-60 mph sprint in a sluggish ten seconds, while the CVT-enabled model takes nearly a second longer to hit the mark. Drive is sent to the front axle - the standard configuration in the subcompact segment - with no option for AWD offered by any rivals.

2019 Chevrolet Spark Front Angle View
2019 Chevrolet Spark Rear View Driving
2019 Chevrolet Spark Front Bumper

Engine and Transmission

The entire Chevy Spark range utilizes a 1.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder motor, capable of producing 98 hp and 94 lb-ft. Power is sent to the front wheels via either a five-speed manual gearbox or a two-step continuously variable transmission, with all four trims sporting the manual in standard form. The 1.4-liter motor serves its purpose as a daily runaround, providing efficiency over performance, with the CVT gearbox great for driving in slow-moving traffic. But when you want to get moving, the CVT exhibits some delay but at least doesn't subject occupants to the traditional CVT drone under full throttle loads.

The five-speed manual sees the motor's potential under a different light, albeit only slightly, offering more grunt right throughout the rev-range and actually offering more than adequate pull for city driving. Getting up to speed on the highway doesn't yield any different results from the CVT though, and overtaking is a rather calculated and lengthy maneuver to execute; the manual fares much better and - once up to speed - is actually quite capable. It does protest a little at higher speeds. If a more nippy and responsive drive is required, then the manual is definitely a better gearbox choice, leaving the CVT reserved for only the most fuel-conscious drivers.

  • Engine
    1.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmissions
    5-Speed Manual, Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The Chevy's playful nature is almost immediately apparent once you get behind the wheel. Despite being let down by its engine, the small subcompact feels as nimble as it does fun. The steering feedback is excellent - well-weighted and inspiring confidence enough to point the Spark in and out of tight spaces without much second thought. But it does this without feeling out-of-control at higher speeds. The suspension does well to cope with urban roads, feeling refined and capable of absorbing anything but the largest of potholes.

Drivers who struggle with the dimensions of a large car, especially teenagers and first-time owners, will find the Spark the perfect driving companion. With its comfortable yet responsive driving dynamics, it is the ideal daily commuter; whether it be to campus, work, or the morning school run, the Spark manages quite well. Getting out of town reveals some of the Spark's less stellar traits, where Chevy could've given noise insulation a lot more attention in our opinion. The cabin isn't unbearably loud, but it's enough to leave it feeling less refined, especially at higher speeds. The Spark is capable, however, and provides a rather fun drive, especially with the manual gearbox allowing an extra layer of engagement.

Spark Gas Mileage

Small doesn't always mean frugal, and unfortunately, the Spark is a prime example of that. The EPA rates the 2019 Chevrolet Spark in its five-speed manual configuration at 29/38/33 mpg for city/highway/combined cycles. With its optional CVT gearbox, city driving only gains a single mile per gallon at 30/38/33 mpg, while both the manual and CVT Spark in Activ trim lose one mile per gallon for highway driving. That still places it ahead of the Ford Fiesta's 27/37/31 mpg, but ultimately loses out to the Honda Fit's 33/40/36 mpg estimates.

The Fit's 10.6-gallon fuel tank sees it go 382 miles before fillup, with the Fiesta's 12.4-gallon fuel tank affording it only two extra miles. The Spark, however, comes up short by a substantial margin, with its nine-gallon fuel tank allotting it a mere 297 miles between refueling stops.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    9.0 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 29/38 mpg
* 2019 Chevrolet Spark Manual LS

Spark Interior

The Chevrolet Spark's cabin is a rather fun place to be. It may not be the most comfortable in the segment, but it's undoubtedly among the more attractive options. The dashboard carries a V-shaped design, sloping toward the seven-inch Infotainment 3 screen at the center of it all. The design is quirky and centers around the new infotainment touchscreen at the heart of the dashboard's design. Visibility is good all-around thanks to large windows and smaller roof pillars. On the base trim, the interior is a little stripped out and lacks a sense of refinement (mainly due to an abundance of plastic), but with the protruding center cluster bringing controls within easy reach, it's something we can live with.

2019 Chevrolet Spark Dashboard
2019 Chevrolet Spark Interior Overview
2019 Chevrolet Spark Infotainment System
See All 2019 Chevrolet Spark Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

The 2019 Chevrolet Spark is a four-seater, ditching the use of the center seat in favor of practicality and increased shoulder room and a storage console. The driver and front passenger get 39 inches of headroom and 41.7 inches of legroom, which will seat tall adults with relative ease, while standard four-way manual adjustment on the driver's seat and a tilt-only steering wheel have enough adjustment for most drivers to get comfortable. The two rear-seated passengers get 37 inches of headroom and a measly 33 inches of legroom to work with, limiting anyone larger than a teenager from tagging along for extended trips. Despite compact dimensions, upright seating maximizes the available space, but rivals like the Honda Fit still give buyers vastly more usable and comfortable space.

  • Seating capacity
    4-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

Chevrolet brings the vividness of the exterior color palette into the interior of the Spark with four interior upholstery combinations. Standard on the LS and 1LT you'll find Jet Black cloth with what Chevrolet dubs Dark Anderson Silver accent trim, which also adds piano black trim on the instrument panel. The ACTIV and 2LT get standard jet black leatherette with a Dark Anderson Silver accent stripe and matching trim, while the 2LT also gets the option of an Orange Burst or Caribbean Blue stripe if those exterior colors are selected.

Spark Trunk and Cargo Space

The Spark's small dimensions don't leave it much room for luggage in the back. That said, trunk space comes in a respectable 11 cubic feet with the rear seats up, which opens up to 27.2 cubic feet once the rear seats are folded in their 60/40 split. Two week's worth of groceries or even one medium-sized suitcase fits in the trunk, although some planning may be required for bigger items. It's not the most versatile in its class but is sufficient for the first time buyer not needing excessive amounts of space.

Internal practicality, however, is rather impressive. With no fifth passenger to worry about, the center rear seat center gets repurposed as a small storage tray with two cup holders. There's no center console to be found between the two front seats, but ample storage is available in an open compartment directly beneath the climate controls. Two more cupholders are situated here but are distanced far enough back not to cause any ergonomic problems. There are small storage compartments in the doors as well, though they seem best suited to minor miscellaneous items.

2019 Chevrolet Spark Front Seats
2019 Chevrolet Spark Trunk Space
2019 Chevrolet Spark Side View
  • Maximum Cargo Space
    27.2 ft³

Spark Infotainment and Features

Features

The Spark's base LS trim features manual air conditioning, a rear console with storage tray, rear-window defogger, driver information center display, tire pressure monitoring system, a single power outlet, tilt steering column, and rearview camera. Cruise control, power windows and door locks, remote keyless entry, push-button start, and steering-wheel-mounted controls feature on higher trims. Heated seats are exclusive to the higher ACTIV and 2LT trims, while the 1LT and 2LT models benefit from an optional sunroof. An enhanced driver information center is only available to the range-topping 2LT model. Advanced driver assistance features such as forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and low-speed automatic braking are only available on the 2LT as part of the optional Driver Confidence Package.

Infotainment

The Chevrolet Infotainment System 3 is comprised of a seven-inch touchscreen display with AM/FM radio, Bluetooth, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a four-speaker sound system, built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and two illuminated USB ports as standard. A bump up from base trim adds SiriusXM satellite radio streaming and increases the speaker-count to six. Chevrolet's seven-inch touchscreen is vivid, easy to use, and proves to be quite responsive - new users will be able to navigate it without any issues. Integrated navigation is nowhere to be found on any of the trims, leaving smartphone integration as the best workaround.

Spark Problems and Reliability

At the time of writing, a single recall had been issued for the 2019 Chevrolet Spark which pertains to the "manufacturing mode" setting on the airbag sensors not being turned off after assembly, which will prevent airbag deployment in the event of a crash. The problem has since been resolved and newly-built models should be unaffected. A three-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty covers all the basics for the Spark, with a five-year/60,000-mile transferable powertrain warranty taking care of the rest.

Spark Safety

The NHTSA is yet to evaluate the current generation Chevrolet Spark, while the IIHS has only evaluated it for moderate front overlap and side impact tests, scoring the Spark the best possible score of Good in both metrics.

Key Safety Features

Safety features are plentiful for the small subcompact, featuring a plethora of airbags inside the cabin - ten to be exact, which in itself is pretty impressive for such a small car. It is also equipped with antilock brakes, hill start assist, a tire pressure monitoring system, seat belt pretensioners for the driver and front-seated passenger, and Chevrolet's StabiliTrak electronic stability control system with brake assist and traction control. Exclusive to the 2LT trim is rear park assist with an audible warning. forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and low-speed forward automatic braking are available as options, but only on the 2LT model.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Chevrolet Spark a good car?

The 2019 Chevrolet Spark offers an attractive package at an almost ridiculously cheap entry-price and continues to provide exceptional value for money across all four of its trims. Despite being let down by a somewhat weak motor, the driving dynamics are quite brilliant for a car of its size. The introduction of advanced collision avoidance equipment this year gives the Spark an edge over fellow budget rivals, but only being available on the 2LT means you're paying the same sort of money as a decently equipped Honda Fit. Aside from fun driving dynamics and an exceptional infotainment system, the Spark fails to do anything else exceptionally, with middling gas mileage, seating for only four people, and average storage space. But fun styling and an affordable price are big drawcards in a segment often dominated by the mundane.

What's the Price of the 2019 Chevrolet Spark?

As an entry to the Spark range, the LS trim carries an MSRP of $14,095, excluding tax, licensing, registration, and an $875 destination charge. Opting for the CVT configuration will set you back a further $1,100 across all trims. One step up is the 1LT trim priced at $15,995, followed closely by the Activ at $17,095. Topping the range is the 2LT model boasting all the bells and whistles at an MSRP of $17,495.

2019 Chevrolet Spark Models

The Spark range consists of four trims: LS, 1LT, Activ, and 2LT. All four trims make use of a 1.4-liter Ecotec four-cylinder producing 98 hp and 94 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard, with the option of a CVT automatic also available.

The LS trim rolls on 15-inch steel wheels and boasts automatic halogen headlights and manual air-conditioning. There is also a tilting steering column, a rearview camera, manual windows, cloth upholstery, four-way manual-adjustable driver's seat, and a seven-inch infotainment system with four speakers and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay functionality and a built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot.

Stepping up to the 1LT trim adds LED daytime running lights, power-adjustable mirrors, cruise control, 15-inch alloy wheels, and remote keyless entry. Inside you gain steering-wheel-mounted controls, power windows, a six-speaker sound system, and SiriusXM satellite radio.

The ACTIV trim gets bespoke styling with rugged black overlays and chrome-surrounded foglights, as well as roof rails. Inside you'll find a leather-wrapped steering wheel, leatherette seats, and heated front seats.

At the top of the range, the 2LT features chrome exterior detailing, rear park assist, an enhanced driver information center display, and keyless entry, while also being the only trim to offer access to driver assistance features.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
LS
1.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
5-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$13,220
1LT
1.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
5-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$15,120
ACTIV
1.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
5-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$16,220
2LT
1.4-liter Inline-4 Gas
5-Speed Manual
Continuously Variable Automatic (CVT)
Front-Wheel Drive
$16,620
See All 2019 Chevrolet Spark Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

With only four trims and a limited array of features, options and packages are relatively limited.

Package options are limited to either a $250 winter/summer floor mat package or a $175 interior protection package with all-weather floor mats, available across all trims. A power sunroof is available on the 1LT and 2LT trims for $1,000, while exclusive to the CVT-equipped 2LT trim is the $295 Driver Confidence Package which adds forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and low-speed forward automatic braking.

What Chevrolet Spark Model Should I Buy?

Cheap and cheerful, the four trims give buyers a range of options to suit their needs. We'd recommend the 1LT as it strikes the finest balance between cost and specification, cramming in six speakers and luxuries such as cruise control, keyless entry, power windows and mirrors, and SiriusXM functionality without breaking the bank. The driver assistance features available on the 2LT are great, but they're only optional, which pushes the Spark's price into territory where it simply can't compete with other offerings at that price.

2019 Chevrolet Spark Comparisons

2019 Chevrolet Spark
2019 Chevrolet Spark

2019 Chevrolet Spark vs Ford Fiesta Hatchback

The Ford Fiesta puts up quite a fight with its sporty and agile driving dynamics, trumping the Spark for all the driving fun it has to offer. Performance is more readily accessible, too, with 22hp and 18 lb-ft more on tap from the Ford's 1.6-liter engine, but it pays the price at the pumps, returning weaker gas mileage than the Spark. The Fiesta is bigger than the Spark, seating five and boasting 2.1 cubic feet more cargo volume behind the rear seats. Both offer great infotainment systems, but the Spark offers available driver-assist features not present on the similarly priced Fiesta, as well as ten airbags. Ultimately, the Spark is less practical, but safer and more modern, while the Fiesta is showing its age, which is why we'd opt for the more contemporary Spark.

See Ford Fiesta Hatchback Review

2019 Chevrolet Spark vs Honda Fit

In the subcompact segment, the Honda Fit reigns supreme as the do-it-all family hatchback for the modern family. It's more practical in a number of areas, with more seating space and more than four cubic feet of extra space behind the rear seats, which expands to a mammoth 52.7 with all the seats folded. The diminutive Spark only offers up 27.2 cubic feet. The Fit gives buyers an engaging chassis and frugal gas mileage estimates superior to those of the Spark, but all while providing the extra performance of 32 hp and 20 lb-ft extra from its 1.5-liter engine. Honda also gives the Fit more standard safety features and access to driver-assist functionality on lower trims, and the exemplary safety ratings prove the Fit superior in this regard. While the Spark may be cheaper to get into, the moment you add safety features to the mix it's quickly on par with the Fit's pricing, while offering much less as an overall package. The Fit remains the benchmark for a reason, it's superior in almost every way.

See Honda Fit Review

Chevrolet Spark Popular Comparisons