• Urban mini car aimed at young buyers
  • Affordable and fuel efficient
  • Bold style with funky colors and cool standard equipment


Chevrolet's two debuts here at the LA Auto Show represent opposite extremes of the automotive spectrum. The Camaro ZL1 is virtually track ready with a supercharged V8 that makes 580 horsepower. The Spark is a mini car built for efficient city driving. Its 1.2-liter four-cylinder is good for 85 horsepower. Both are purpose-built four-seaters that push the limits, but they happen to push in different directions.

The Spark is a five-door hatchback that conceals its rear door handles in the C-pillar for a three-door look. It's intended for young, urban buyers who seek affordable vehicles with high fuel efficiency and good maneuverability. At just over twelve feet long, the Spark should negotiate city streets well. Neither pricing nor fuel economy has been announced. Specifications point to competitive fuel economy - likely over 40 MPG.

The Spark comes in bold colors with funky names like Jalapeno, Lemonade and Techno Pink. Exterior colors carry over to the interior, accenting the dash and door panels. The Spark is nicely equipped for its class, with standard air conditioning and power windows, a motorcycle-inspired instrument cluster, an integrated spoiler and alloy wheels with low-rolling resistance tires. Electronic stability control, 60% high-strength steel construction and ten airbags augment safety.

Chevy's MyLink infotainment system is optional. Drivers can use the seven-inch color touch screen to integrate with smart phones and Bluetooth, enabling Pandora internet radio or phone-based navigation. It also allows Apple's Siri to run things if you have a connected iPhone.

Chris Perry, vice president of global Chevrolet marketing and strategy, says the Spark has the qualities mini car buyers are looking for.

"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 Perry. "Spark's vibrant exterior and interior colors make a fashion statement, but it is also affordable, safe, maneuverable and very fuel-efficient."

Only when pricing is announced can the Spark's value be stacked up against competitors like the Fiat 500, smart Fortwo and Scion iQ.

What it means to you: The littlest Chevrolet can squeeze through tight city streets, economically carrying four passengers.

See more LA Auto Show news.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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