Used Car Review

2013 Chevrolet Spark: Used Car Review

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ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Ron Sessions October 2016

The 2013 Chevrolet Spark was the first minicar offered by a domestic automaker. It's super-affordable, easy on gas, has plenty of interior room for four fully grown adults and can be parked in places most other cars would never fit. Even though it's more than a foot shorter than a subcompact Ford Fiesta or a Chevrolet Sonic hatchback, the Spark has four doors. Other minicars such as the FIAT 500 or the Scion iQ have just two doors, and the smart fortwo has only two seats. When it comes to cargo capacity, the Spark offers 11.4 cu ft. through the rear hatch -- about twice the cargo space of a MINI Cooper. Fold down the Spark's rear seat, and that jumps to 31.2 cu ft., about the same as the foot-longer Sonic hatchback.

With only 84 horsepower under the short hood, the Spark is no hot rod, but because the mini-Chevy's 1.2-liter 4-cylinder only has to move 2,300 pounds, performance is tolerable. With an edgy interior design, 10 standard airbags and the available MyLink infotainment system, Chevrolet packs a lot of personality into the Spark's small package.

The Spark is a good used-car choice for first-time buyers on a budget and urban dwellers short on space. It offers an impressive amount of interior space in a very compact package.

What We Like

Roomy interior; good outward visibility; easy-to-use MyLink infotainment system; easy parking and maneuverability; good fuel economy; 10 standard airbags

What We Don't

Jouncy highway ride; small fuel tank; rubbery manual-transmission shifter; leisurely acceleration; complicated rear-seat folding; tiny secondary gauges; hard-plastic door armrests

Fuel Economy & Engine Specs

The 2013 Chevy Spark is powered by a 1.2-liter dual-overhead-camshaft 4-cylinder with four valves per cylinder and continuously variable valve timing. It makes just 84 hp and 83 lb-ft of torque, but keep in mind that the Spark weighs less than 2,300 pounds, about half the heft of a typical Ford Explorer or other midsize SUV. The Spark burns regular unleaded gas, and its fuel tank holds just 9.2 gallons -- so while cruising range is short, fill-ups don't break the bank. The Spark has fuel-economy estimates of 32 miles per gallon in the city and 38 mpg on the highway with the standard 5-speed manual transmission, and 28 mpg city/37 mpg hwy with the optional 4-speed automatic.

Standard Features & Options

The 2013 Spark is available in LS, 1LT and 2LT trims.

LS equipment includes air conditioning, power windows, cloth and vinyl upholstery, a tilt steering wheel, a height-adjustable driver's seat, a fold-down center driver's armrest, a 60/40 fold-down rear seat, OnStar with turn-by-turn navigation, a 4-speaker AM/FM stereo with Internet access and Pandora and Stitcher apps, 15-inch alloy wheels, a rear cargo cover, variable intermittent wipers, a trip computer, outside temperature and clock displays, stability and traction control, anti-lock brakes, dual front airbags, front-seat side airbags, overhead airbags and front-knee airbags.

1LT adds cruise control, MyLink infotainment with a 7-in touchscreen, an uplevel 6-speaker voice-activated AM/FM/MP3 stereo with SiriusXM satellite radio and steering-wheel audio controls, Bluetooth phone connectivity and audio streaming, remote keyless entry and auto-locking doors.

2LT comes standard with heated front seats, faux-leather upholstery, power mirrors, roof rails, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, fog lamps and a chromed exhaust tip.

Pricing

Chevy didn't sell a ton of these minicars in the first place -- when gas is cheap, small-car sales suffer. The Spark can be a real bargain, especially in the more outlandish colors such as pink and lime green. Because these are generally city cars, most used examples will have relatively low miles on the odometer.

To get an idea of the 2013 Spark's price range, check out the Kelley Blue Book used-car values at KBB.com. You can also search the Autotrader Classifieds to see what models are for sale in your area.

Recalls

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the following recalls for the 2013 Spark:

An improper weld on some front-passenger airbag inflators may prevent the airbag from inflating in a crash, increasing the risk of injury.

Corrosion of the secondary hood latch may prevent full engagement, allowing the hood to open while driving and increasing the risk of a crash.

On models equipped with the Bring Your Own Media radio, the audio speakers may not sound a warning chime if the driver fails to latch the seat belt when driving or leaves the key in the ignition switch when exiting the car. If the seat belt is not latched, the injury risk in a crash is increased, and if the key is left in an unattended car, the risk of theft increases.

Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, they'll fix the car at no charge to you.

Safety Ratings & Warranties

The NHTSA did not rate the crash performance of the 2013 Chevrolet Spark minicar.

The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2013 Spark an Acceptable rating for small-overlap front impacts and a Good rating for moderate-overlap front impacts, side impacts, roof strength, head-restraint and seat crash performance.

General Motors covered the 2013 Spark with a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty with roadside assistance and a 6-year/100,000-mile corrosion-perforation warranty.

Chevrolet certified pre-owned (CPO) cars cannot have more than 75,000 miles on the odometer and must be 5 years old or less. Every CPO Spark undergoes a 172-point inspection. Those that pass receive a 12-month/12,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, plus whatever remains on the transferable, original 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain coverage. Also included is a 2-year/30,000-mile maintenance plan with roadside assistance.

Other Cars to Consider

2013 Ford Fiesta -- Although technically a size larger than the Spark, the subcompact Fiesta actually has less room inside than Chevy's 4-seat minicar. The Fiesta is available as a stylish 4-door sedan or a 5-door hatchback, delivering sporty handling, good fuel economy from its 120-hp 1.6-liter 4-cylinder (up to 40 mpg hwy with the optional Super Fuel Economy Package) and the latest in infotainment and safety systems. However, rear-seat room is cramped, the dash design is very busy, and the 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is jerky.

2013 FIAT 500 -- Smaller and significantly less roomy than the Spark, the FIAT 500 3-door hatchback emphasizes sportiness and retro Italian styling flair over practicality. The rear seat is useful only for pets and shopping bags. There's also a convertible version. Engine choices include a 1.4-liter tuned to either 101, 135 or 160 hp, the latter two turbocharged. Premium fuel is required.

Autotrader's Advice

Just because you're thinking of downsizing to a minicar doesn't mean you need to forego all amenities. Our recommendation is to at least step up to a midlevel-trim Spark 1LT, which comes with the MyLink infotainment system, a 7-in touchscreen, SiriusXM satellite radio, cruise control, remote keyless entry and Bluetooth connectivity. When possible, choose a Chevrolet CPO Spark, but if none are available in your area, seek out a low-mileage model that's received obvious care and maintenance. And check with the dealer to make sure the car you're considering has had all applicable safety-recall items resolved.

Find a Chevrolet Spark for sale

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2013 Chevrolet Spark: Used Car Review - Autotrader