In addition to the 2016 Malibu, Chevrolet also introduced a redesigned version of the Spark city car at the 2015 New York Auto Show. Updated to Chevy’s revised design language, the 2016 Spark is now more aerodynamic, more powerful and better equipped, thanks to a range of extensive updates inside and out. Production will commence in South Korea later this year, with U.S. sales to begin in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The Spark started life in 1998 as a Korean-designed city car powered by a 0.8-liter, three-pot and assembled in nine countries. Launched as the Daewoo Matiz, it was sold under different names globally, including as the Chevrolet Matiz, Chevrolet Spark or Pontiac G2. Revised in 2003, the subcompact retained most of its styling features and drivetrain components until 2007, when a brand-new model was developed on GM’s Gamma platform. The new Spark came to the U.S. for the 2010 model year, receiving an electric drivetrain later on.

The new Spark has pretty big shoes to fill, as its predecessor has been a massive success, with more than 1.1 million units sold globally since 2009. With the new model, Chevrolet hopes to draw young and first-time car buyers into its U.S. dealerships.

Updated 04/02/2015: The new generation Chevrolet Spark made its world debut at the 2015 New York Auto Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2016 Chevrolet Spark.

  • 2016 Chevrolet Spark
  • Year:
    2016
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    five-speed manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    98
  • Displacement:
    1.4 L
  • 0-60 time:
    10 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    110 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    13000 (Est.)
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2016 Chevrolet Spark
- image 625060
Chevy lowered the Spark's height by 1.6 inches, which resulted in reduced aerodynamic drag on top of making the hatch look a lot sleeker

The most obvious exterior change is the new front fascia, which updates the Spark to Chevrolet’s current styling language. Gone are the massive headlamps that stretched from the upper edge of the lower grille all the way to the A-pillars, replaced by sleeker, horizontal units that remind me of the Malibu and Impala. The trademark "dual-port" grille has been restyled into a sportier element with chrome surrounds. The lower piece stretches lower into the apron, replacing the previous thin air dam. The foglamps retained their positions at the sides of the bumper, but received redesigned surrounds.

Rear fascia changes are equally dramatic, starting with a completely redesigned hatch that now has a smaller glass area and more angular taillights. The bumper no longer features the diffuser-like element of the previous car, but sports a trapezoidal character line and a small splitter underneath.

On the sides, the city car gained a new character line across the front door and handle, while the rear-door crease defining the shoulders is more prominent and it extends into the taillights. The biggest news here, however, is that Chevy lowered the Spark’s height by 1.6 inches, which resulted in reduced aerodynamic drag and improved fuel efficiency, on top of making the hatch look a lot sleeker. I definitely prefer this new body over the previous box-on-wheels design.

The Spark also received three new "bold colors" with the new styling: Toasted Marshmallow, Kalamata, and Splash.

Interior

Despite lowering the roof, Chevy claims it managed to maintain the ample headroom of the previous model and comparable roominess front and rear

Although it has yet to release photos of the interior as of 04/02/2015, Chevrolet says the cabin features "upgraded materials and greater attention to detail, including everything from the higher-quality fabrics to higher-density seat foam that enhance comfort and durability, add sophistication." The all-new instrument panel includes an advanced LCD display, while the center stack, likely as tiny as in the previous model, incorporates an upgraded infotainment system and climate system controls. The round air outlets have been replaced by trapezoidal ones for a more dynamic appearance.

The 2016 Spark also got a new MyLink radio with a capacitive-touch display that allows smartphone-like swiping, pinching, and other gestures for easier operation. The already familiar OnStar with 4G LTE built-in Wi-Fi hotspot can be had as an option.

Despite lowering the roof, Chevy claims it managed to maintain the ample headroom of the previous model and comparable roominess front and rear.

A range of new safety features are also offered, including Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, Side Blind Spot Alert, a rear-view camera system and rear park assist (optional).

Drivetrain

2016 Chevrolet Spark
- image 625058
Under the hood, the 2016 Spark comes with a new Ecotec inline-four engine rated at 98 horsepower

Under the hood, the 2016 Spark comes with a new Ecotec, 1.4-liter, inline-four rated at 98 horsepower (torque figure isn’t yet available). The 1.4 replaces the previous 1.2-liter four-banger with 84 horses and 83 pound-feet of twist. With the added power and revised internals, the Spark should now be able to hit 60 mph in about 10 seconds, a half-second quicker than last year’s model.

Transmission options include a five-speed manual and a CVT. GM estimates the CVT-equipped Spark will return 40 mpg on the highway versus the 39 mpg of the previous car. While it’s nothing to sneeze at, it’s still significantly less than the Ford Fiesta’s 45 mpg highway.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type 1.4 liter engine Ecotec
Output 98 HP
Torque TBA
Transmission five-speed manual

Prices

2016 Chevrolet Spark
- image 625064

Pricing is not yet available as of April 2015, but Chevrolet will probably stick close to the Spark’s current base price of $12,270, as it keeps the subcompact in a very competitive place for least-expensive new car sold in the U.S.

Competitors

2014 Ford Fiesta

2014 Ford Fiesta High Resolution Exterior
- image 518611

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. Read more about it in our full review here.

2014 Kia Rio 5 Door

2013 Kia Rio Sedan High Resolution Exterior
- image 511511

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; 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. Find out more about the Kia Rio in our detailed review here.

Conclusion

2016 Chevrolet Spark
- image 625061

With a spacious interior and available high-tech features, the previous Chevy Spark was quite the deal for a subcompact. It was inexpensive without feeling cheap and its 1.2-liter delivered excellent fuel economy. That didn’t make it perfect though, as the styling wasn’t exactly appealing and the engine was rather underpowered compared to the Fiesta’s. For 2016, Chevy not only improved the Spark inside and out, but also added a new engine that’s both more powerful and fuel efficient than its predecessor. Yeah, it’s still slower than its competitors, but the lower starting price should balance the lack of performance.

  • Leave it
    • * Needs more horsepower to compete with the Fiesta

Update History

Updated 03/09/2015: Chevrolet announced that the new generation Spark will be officially unveiled in April at the 2015 New York Auto Show.

Spy shots

First Encounter - 02/07/2014:

2016 Chevrolet Spark Exterior Spyshots
- image 540972
2016 Chevrolet Spark Exterior Spyshots
- image 540975
2016 Chevrolet Spark Exterior Spyshots
- image 540977

Press Release

Chevrolet today introduced the all-new 2016 Spark – a completely redesigned and more sophisticated execution of the brand’s global minicar. It offers greater efficiency and refinement, along with new, available safety and connectivity features.

2016 Chevrolet Spark Wallpaper quality
- image 625056

As one of Chevrolet’s most global vehicles, the 2016 Spark will be offered in more than 40 markets around the world.

“Chevrolet is fast becoming one of the world’s most important mini- and small car manufacturers, offering customers around the globe a new road to the refinement, efficiency and connectivity features that resonate with them,” said Alan Batey, president, GM North America and Global Chevrolet.

“The redesigned 2016 Spark builds on a strong legacy and takes the segment to a higher level with features and technologies not typically offered.”

The new Spark has a sleeker appearance, thanks to a slightly longer wheelbase, and an overall height about 1.6 inches (40 mm) lower than the current model. The lower profile reduces aerodynamic drag to help improve efficiency and interior changes maintain the Spark’s traditionally generous headroom.

It is also built on an all-new, more robust architecture that serves as the foundation for its more sophisticated driving experience. The stronger body structure enabled engineers to tune ride and handling more precisely, for greater feelings of control and refinement, while fostering a quieter ride.

2016 Chevrolet Spark
- image 625057

“At its core, the new Spark is still the fun, agile urban car that made the first-generation model so popular, but it delivers that fun driving experience with greater sophistication,” said Sam Basile, executive chief engineer. “And while it’s a truly global car, it is targeted for more developed vehicle markets, allowing engineers to focus more precisely on the materials and technologies that resonate with customers in those markets.”

Additional new and enhanced vehicle features:

All-new Ecotec 1.4L I-4 with manual and continuously variable (CVT) transmissions – delivering a GM-estimated 40 mpg on the highway with the available CVT
New available safety features including Side Blind Spot Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert
Next-generation Chevrolet MyLink with 7-inch-diagonal color touch screen
Advanced dot-matrix LCD instrument cluster display
Comprehensive lineup of accessory packages for unprecedented personalization options.

Design details

With the instantly recognizable face of a contemporary global Chevrolet, the 2016 Spark is distinguished by a sleeker proportion and aesthetics.

The lower roof height reduces the characteristic upright look of many minicars, while a “shrink-wrapped” body – with the wheels pushed to the edges of the fenders – contribute to a firmly planted presence.

An evolution of Chevrolet’s signature dual-port grille is flanked by large, elliptical headlamps that sweep back into the front fenders. The headlamps have a highly detailed appearance that contribute to the Spark’s more sophisticated design.

“In short, the Spark has grown up,” said Michael Simcoe, GM International vice president of Design. “It retains a youthful flair, but reflects the maturation of the global minicar market and customers’ desires for richly styled and highly contented choices.”

A palette of bold exterior colors remains, and three new colors – Toasted Marshmallow, Kalamata and Splash – join the mix, depending on the market.

Inside, designers matched the lowered roof height by adjusting the hip-point dimensions for the seats, maintaining the ample headroom of the current model and offering comparable spaciousness with a more engaging driving position.

Upgraded materials and greater attention to detail, including everything from the higher-quality fabrics to higher-density seat foam that enhance comfort and durability, add sophistication.

“You have a greater feeling of sitting in the seats rather than on them,” said Simcoe.

An all-new instrument panel design with an advanced liquid crystal display (LCD) features a prominent “center stack” for the infotainment and climate system controls. The Spark’s signature color-matched instrument panel décors are updated with trapezoidal air outlets compared with round outlets on the current model.

The Spark’s all-new MyLink radio features a capacitive-touch color display, with an icon-based interface similar to smartphones and other electronic devices. And like a smartphone, the capacitive-touch display allows swiping, pinching and other gestures for quick, easy operation.

2016 Chevrolet Spark
- image 625058

New volume control and other physical buttons reduce complexity and enhance the system intuitiveness.

Complementing MyLink to enhance Spark’s connectivity is available OnStar with 4G LTE built-in Wi-Fi hotspot. It provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on.

All-new engine

The 2016 Spark is powered by an all-new 1.4L engine that is part of GM’s new, global family of Ecotec small-displacement engines. It offers an estimated 98 horsepower (73 kW) – a 16-percent increase over the current model.

Engineered to deliver strong performance with excellent efficiency, the new Ecotec engine family represents a clean-sheet design and engineering process, leveraging the diverse experience of GM’s global resources.

“The new Ecotec architecture represents the most advanced and efficient family of small-car gas engines in GM’s history,” said Tom Sutter, global chief engineer. “Along with performance and efficiency targets, we’ve also aimed for segment-challenging refinement with low noise and vibration – and we’ve hit the bulls-eye.”

Spark’s new 1.4L features an aluminum cylinder block and head, which helps reduce the vehicle’s overall mass to enhance performance and efficiency. The cylinder head also incorporates an integrated exhaust manifold, which further reduces weight – an attribute that contributes to increased vehicle efficiency and a more favorable front-to-rear weight balance, for a more responsive driving experience.

Engine efficiency is also enhanced through reduced friction, including low-friction piston rings, a low-friction camshaft drive and a low-friction oil pump. A five-speed manual transmission or dual-range continuously variable transmission are available with the new 1.4L.

Enhanced safety

The 2016 Chevrolet Spark builds on the current model’s reputation for delivering excellent passenger safety in the minicar segment, where the 2015 Spark is a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

A stronger body structure is at the core of the new Spark’s safety story and is complemented by a wider array of passive and active safety features. Ten standard air bags include driver/front passenger knee air bags, roof rail side air bags and seat-mounted thorax/pelvic air bags. A rollover sensing and protection system is also offered.

2016 Chevrolet Spark
- image 625059

Additionally, new active safety features can help drivers avoid collisions through camera-based technology providing alerts to possible collision threats:

Forward Collision Alert
Lane Departure Warning
Side Blind Spot Alert.

A rear-vision camera system is standard and rear park assist is offered.

Manufacturing

The 2016 Chevrolet Spark will be produced from globally sourced parts at GM’s Changwon, South Korea assembly facility. It goes on sale in the United States in the fourth quarter of 2015.

FAST FACT: Global Chevrolet Spark sales have surpassed 1 million since it went on sale in 2010.

Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, doing business in more than 115 countries and selling around 4.8 million cars and trucks a year. Chevrolet provides customers with fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at www.chevrolet.com.

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