2017 Chevrolet Spark ACTIV
A city car designed with off-road trails in mind? Yup, Chevy did it.by Robert Moore, on
The Chevy Spark is one of those funky little city cars that has seen surprising success over the years. The third-gen model, for instance, managed to sell 1.1 million units globally in its time on the market. For 2015, the four-gen model debuted with a more aerodynamic body, slightly more powerful engine, and some pretty extensive updates on the inside, making it one of the most comfortable city cars you can get your hands on here in the U.S. It was also the model GM used as a basis for its first all-electric model since 1999 when the EV1 was put to death.
With the new-gen model two years into production, GM saw fit to create a special edition of sorts that is being called the Spark Activ. Joining the Chevy Beat Activ Concept from earlier this year, and the Chevy Trax Activ Concept that debuted at the SEMA show in November 2016, this model follows suit with a few off-road bits because you never know when you’ll have to take a city car off-road, right? Jokes aside, this thing really is about as boring as the Activ concepts that we’ve seen in the days passed, but it might just be someone’s cup of tea.
“The new Spark ACTIV is all about adventurous fun and style,” said Steve Majoros, Chevrolet director of Car and Crossover Marketing. “It has an attitude, while still offering the sophisticated, efficient and connected driving experience customers have come to love.”
So, with that said, let’s dive on in and look at this special edition to see what it really brings to the table.
Continue reading to learn more about the Chevrolet Spark ACTIV.
2017 Chevrolet Spark ACTIV
What makes the Chevrolet Spark ACTIV special
Chevy wants the world to know that the Spark Activ has unique front and rear fascias, but the truth is that unless you see the Activ next to a standard model, you probably wouldn’t know the different. Up front, unique means that the spark lost the decent-looking, AMG-like corner vent inserts with fog lights in place of circular recesses and round fog lights that sport a bright chrome ring. Now, more like chameleon eyes, the fog lights also sit a little higher than on the standard model. The front grille or air dam didn’t change at all, but the bottom of the front fascia, the whole rear fascia, as well as the wheel arches and side skirts all get a black cladding that would protect the body from brush and twigs if the city boy inside accidentally turned onto a trail by mistake. There are “off-road skid plates” in the front, rear, and sides. To be honest, they don’t really look like real skid plates as the off-road world knows them, but we don’t get a good view of the undercarriage, so there could be more than what meets the eye. Rounding out the exterior is a pair of roof rail, a new set of 15-inch wheels, and a revised suspension that increases ride height by 0.4 inches.
Inside, there really isn’t much to talk about. Chevy says it gets black, heated leatherette front seats to go with a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Other standard features include a seven-inch touchscreen display with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay phone connectivity, backup camera, air conditioning, cruise control, keyless entry, thumb controls for phone and audio system controls, and power windows. There’s also a three-month trial of Sirius XM radio and OnStar Guidance Plan. A 4G LTE Hotspot is also there with a three-month, three-gigabyte data trial.
Chevy wants the world to know that the Spark Activ has unique front and rear fascias, but the truth is that unless you see the Activ next to a standard model, you probably wouldn’t know the different.
Under the hood, you’ll find the standard 1.4-liter engine that delivers a heart-breaking 98 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque. It comes standard with a five-speed manual, but can also be had with a CVT transmission for a premium. If you’re really curious, it can hit 60 mph from a dead stop in around 10 seconds with a top speed somewhere in the range of about 110 mph at best – just don’t hold your breath getting there or you might pass out.
So to put things simply, Chevy added body cladding all the way around, to go with some mockup skid plates, a pair of roof rails, mildly raised suspension, and a slightly revised bumper up front. Inside there’s a little bit of leather to go with standard features from the upper-range spark models. The cost of this Activ model? You’re looking at $16,945 if you want to row your own gears, or you can pay another $1,100 to get the CVT for a total cost of $18,045 before taxes, delivery, extras. To put that into perspective, these few upgrades come at a premium of $3,945 with either transmission (standard model starts out at 13,000 in five-speed form or $14,100 in CVT form.) Of course, is does have some decent luxuries built in, so the price increase isn’t too bad, but the real question is: Is the Chevy Spark a model that you would really venture off road with? To be honest, its size and low weight alone probably makes it pretty squirrely on a loose gravel road, so I’m really curious to know how this Activ would fare on a mild trail.
What do you think of the Spark Activ? Is it a good idea and good addition to the Spark lineup, or is it just pushing the boundaries of a city car a little too far? Let us know in the comments section below.
Read our full review on the Chevrolet Spark here.