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Don Adair's Seat Time

Chevy Spark: Mighty mite or 2200-lb weakling?

Chevrolet’s Spark is the company’s first mini-car, a competitor to the Fiat 500, Smart Fortwo and Scion IQ.

The anti-Suburban, if you will.

It’s GM’s smallest car, and also, at $12,995, its most affordable.

Yet the Spark has room for four adults and, so configured, enough cargo space for a handful of grocery bags, a gym bag or a couple of overnightbags. Dropping the rear seatbacks trebles cargo space to 31.5 cubic feet, or a little more than a third of the Suburban’s.

A mere 12 feet long, the Spark rides on a 93.5-inch wheelbase and weighs in at 2,237 lbs with its standard five-speed manual transmission and 2,269 with the optional four-speed automatic.

EPA ratings: 32 city/38 highway, on regular unleaded.

In the spirit of austerity — and weight savings — the Spark does without a CD player (true fact: an in-dash CD player can weigh 7 lbs). Instead, a smartphone-based system called MyLink Radio serves as the entertainment center via Bluetooth, cable or USB.

Instead of a navigation system, Chevy will introduce a new $50 app called BringGo. For now, owners must rely on the optional OnStar Directions & Connections package that, after three trial months, requires a $28.50 monthly subscription charge. 

Chevy pegs the Spark as a city car for young, first-time buyers. But there's no reason that older folks, with downsized lifestyles, won't also take a look, especially RVers looking for an affordable toad. 

Coming up: We’ll take a deeper look at ride quality, cabin noise and the like, and give some thought to smartphone entertainment systems.


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