You might be wondering why Chevrolet would be developing the next generation of its popular Spark so soon. After all, 2013 was the Spark’s first year in the U.S. While the likeable little subcompact was new to us last year, the overall design has been in production since 2009 and sold in countries around the world as the Chevrolet Beat.
The aging Beat (Spark) is due for a refresh and the General looks to be making a clean sweep.
Not much is know about the prototype seen here as it scurries about during cold-weather testing near the Arctic Circle. The redesign will likely be more evolutionary in nature, and will feature a heavily updated grille as evidenced by the thick camouflaging.
The Spark has sold well in the U.S. over its first year, selling 26,869 units — 35 percent beyond what Chevy had originally forecasted. Worldwide sales total 720,000 units since the model’s 2009 introduction.
An all-electricSpark EV came to market for 2014 and has sold over 400 examples in the EV’s limited markets of California and Oregon. The EV has a range of 82 miles on a single charge (7 more than the Nissan Leaf ), and is powered by an electric motor that produces 140 horsepower and an impressive 400 pound-feet of torque.
The standard gasoline model isn’t quite as powerful, as its 1.2-liter I-4 puts out a scant 84 horsepower and 83 pound-feet of torque. But at only 2,269 pounds, the Spark doesn’t need much more for its inner-city intended purpose. Both a manual and CVT are available in the gasoline-powered Spark.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2015 Chevrolet Spark.
First Encounter - 02/07/2014:
GM has done a good job of camouflaging the Spark’s nose. We imagine the redesign will be more a refresh than a rethink. The Spark’s refresh is the first in the line of redesigns for the Chevrolet fleet. The Sonic and Cruze will be up next for a refresh and will likely share the same styling as the 2015 Spark.
Chevy will probably stick close to the Spark’s current base price of $12,170, as it keeps the subcompact in a very competitive place for least expensive new car sold in the U.S.
The Ford Fiesta is a bit larger than the Spark, but still solidly competes with it. Base power comes from a 1.0-liter EcoBoost in-line three that somehow manages to make 123 horsepower and 125 pound-feet of torque. EPA estimates for the Fiesta are listed 32 mpg city, 45 mpg highway and 37 mpg combined — the best non-hybrid numbers on the market today.
Base price for the Fiesta is $13,925 for the sedan and $14,425 for the hatchback version.
Gallery Ford Fiesta
The Kia Rio is yet another smart competitor in the small car segment. It combines the functionality of a hatchback with the tidy exterior dimensions of a subcompact. It’s powered by a 1.6-liter I-4 producing 138 horsepower and 123 pound-feet of torque. That extra power doesn’t seem to hinder its EPA rating too badly at 27 city, 37 highway and 31 combined.
Starting price for the Rio is $14,000 and is comparable to the Fiesta, but still more than the Spark. The Kia does boast the famous Hyundai/Kia 10 year/100,000-mile warranty, and for some, that might be worth the extra buy-in price.