2015 Chevrolet Spark LS Review

3.8
Pros
  • Cost of Ownership
  • Fuel Economy
  • Cargo Volume
Cons
  • Lackluster powertrain
  • Driving dynamics
  • Throttle Response
2015 Chevrolet Spark Left Front In Motion

2015 Chevrolet Spark Left Front In Motion

For today’s review, I wanted to accomplish two things; first, find the cheapest car available at a dealership around me and two, find the least powerful car currently on sale. So, after searching through all the domestic and import manufacturer websites on Friday night, the cheapest and the least powerful car I could find was the 2015 Chevrolet Spark LS with an automatic transmission. On Chevy’s website, the 2015 Chevrolet Spark LS automatic has a starting MSRP of $13,580, but, the least expensive 2015 Chevrolet Spark LS with an automatic I was able to find had a sticker price of $14,405. Now, the logical question is “what do you get in a car for such a low price?” Well, the answer is, as many of you may have already guessed is, “not a lot”. With that being said, it is time to find out exactly what do you get in a car with such a low starting price. So, lets get started, shall we?

What’s New for 2015

The Chevrolet Spark receives no changes for the 2015 model year because an all-new 2016 Chevy Spark is set to go on sale starting in January 2016. To be completely honest, even if there were any minor changes made to the 2015 model, I wouldn’t have noticed it because in order to meet my set goals mentioned above, I decided to drive the most basic 2015 Chevrolet Spark model available in my area.

Options

The 2015 Chevrolet Spark LS automatic I drove over the past weekend was the most basic model available in my area. However, because we Wisconsinites are prone to suffer with muddy footwear during the fall, winter and spring months, my “most basic” Chevrolet Spark LS was optioned with a set of all-weather floor mats ($130). Aside from this, my car had little to talk about. But hey, at this ridiculously low starting price, did you really expect to find a lot of optional features and accessories to begin with?

Engine Features and Fuel Mileage

All 2015 Chevrolet Spark models are fitted with a 1.2L ECOTEC, DOHC 4-cylinder engine with (Variable Valve Timing) VVT and (Multiport Fuel Injection) MFI. The engine is powerful enough to produce 84 horsepower and 83 lb.ft. of torque.  All of the power from the engine is routed to the front wheels via a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). When combined, the drivetrain pulls this 2368 pound hatchback to 60 mph from 0 in a very relaxing 11.0 seconds and reaches its max velocity at 103 miles per hour.

The EPA certifies the 2015 Chevrolet Spark with an automatic at 30 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. Unfortunately, the best fuel mileage rating I was able to achieve on my combined city and highway test drive was a disappointing 27 miles per gallon. But, I reckon the reason why I achieved such a low mpg rating was because I was literally flooring the car to keep up with rest of the traffic on the highway and to add insult to the injury, the base 2015 Chevrolet Spark LS does not offer cruise control (which is available on the higher trim models). So, if you want to achieve fuel efficiency ratings in the low to mid 30’s, then I would recommend that you either buy a model with cruise control or avoid the highways altogether. However, if you do get on the highway, don’t expect to go long distances between fill-ups because the fuel tank in the 2015 Chevrolet Spark can only hold 9.2 gallons of regular unleaded fuel.

Driving Dynamics

My 2015 Chevrolet Spark LS with an automatic felt fine while I was driving around town at speeds in the 30-40 mph range. But, when I hit the highway during my test drive, things started to get really interesting and unstable as the speed crept up to the 55-60 mph range. While I do enjoy driving fast in the left lane, I decided not to risk it with the Spark and stayed in the right most lane and was constantly looking for an exit to get back onto city streets and eventually back to the dealership.

The suspension of the Chevrolet Spark is the most basic setup you will find in today’s auto industry. Up front, you will find the usual MacPherson struts. But out back, the suspension is comprised of a compound crank unit, which is even worse than a torsion beam unit when it comes to absorbing road imperfections. On smooth road surfaces, the suspension units do a good job of keeping the car planted to the ground. But, on slightly worn out roads with small potholes, you will feel every single road imperfection as the suspension struggles to cope with the road conditions.

The brakes in the 2015 Chevrolet Spark LS with the CVT are power assisted with front discs and rear drum units. At low speeds, the response from the brake pedal is acceptable, but on the highway, make sure to leave ample amount of space between you and the driver up front because these brakes won’t stop this sub-2500 pound compact hatchback on a dime.

The standard wheels available on the 2015 Chevrolet Spark LS are 15 inch, 5-multispoke silver-painted aluminum rims, which are wrapped with P185/55 R15 all-season rubbers on all four corners.

Overall, at low speeds in the city, the Spark is a very stable and competent vehicle. The steering unit is electronic and provides good feedback from the front wheels to the steering wheel.

Conclusion

The Chevrolet Spark was designed with city driving in mind and has an acceptable amount of oomph for an occasional, short journeys on the highways. Though the driving dynamics and drivetrain responses are less than desirable, I highly doubt it that other people will be pushing their Chevy Sparks to the limit as I did to see how it measures with other cars in this price range which have more power and overall stability.

If you live in a crowded city with very small parking space, then the 2015 Chevrolet Spark is the right vehicle for you. However, I will highly recommend that you do avoid the base model that I drove for this review. Yes, $13,580 sounds like a very good price for a car, but trust me, this car is not worth it. But, if you are hellbent on purchasing an inexpensive, small hatchback with good fuel efficiency ratings and want something from a domestic manufacturer, then I would recommend that you either look at the Spark in a higher trim level or even its slightly more expensive brother, the Chevrolet Sonic (which is available in both sedan and hatchback forms).

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Additional 2015 Chevrolet Spark Images

 

About The Author

I have been in love with cars since I was three years old. My obsession for cars began when my father took me out at night to name cars by just either their headlights or taillights. Since then, my love for cars has blossomed into a career as a motoring journalist and I am excited to take you guys with me on this high-speed adventure!

4 Comments on "2015 Chevrolet Spark LS Review"

  1. Andy

    For a Chevy Spark experience that doesn’t suck completely, try the electric version. It’s got great big shiny electric balls that give it 400 ft/lbs of torque. Very fun.

    • Hi Andy,

      Thanks for the suggestions and might review that car for 2016 model. But, this article was focused on the cheapest and the least powerful car currently on sale to see how much fun they can actually be.

      cheers,

      Rahul Raman

  2. Wes Grove

    I bought my used 2013 Chevy Spark 2LT 5 speed manual transmission car with 9k miles on it last year. I paid $11,400 to a motivated private seller. I drive 70 miles a day on interstate and it suits me fine. My mixed driving average is 34.5 mpg in the winter, and 38mpg in the summer. On a low speed rural drive to the Upper Peninsula of MI last summer, we got 42 mpg. If you regularly keep your speed below 70 MPH and shift smart, getting over 40MGP is achievable. Because of the great MPG, despite only having a 9.2 gallon tank, I am filling up at the same intervals as I was in my previous 6 cylinder Chevy Malibu Maxx. My fuel cost are way less.

    I’m not going to win any drag races in my car but it holds its own. Compared to early compact cars from the 1970’s, this car is down right quick. It reminds me a lot of my 1981 Civic 1600GL, but by today’s standards my Spark is just adequately powered. Most of my commute is in the left of three lanes going with the flow of traffic.

    I’m driving on Michigan highways that leave a lot to be desired for ride quality in any car. The description given in the review of the ride is grossly exaggerated.

    I am 5’11” and 260 lbs. The car is comfortable. 4 guys my size or even taller can fit comfortably in any Spark. People getting in it for the first time always comment on how spacious it is. Climate controls all work well. The 7″ touch screen My Link in my 2LT is awesome. 2LT versions come with cruise control and it works great.

    I wish it had a 6th gear, so I could achieve 40+ MPG at 80 MPH. It is not a comfortable car to drive fast in. I have tried to hit the governor limit, but at a bout 90 you just don’t feel stable enough to proceed. I really like my Spark.

    • Hi Wes,

      I acknowledge every point you made. But, the car I reviewed was the bare bones Spark LS with a CVT. I tired searching for a manual, but the dealer did not have one in the base LS trim (I have no idea why).

      Like you said, one can achieve 40+ mpgs by keeping the speed under 70 and smart shifting and going a long distance on 9.2 gallons of fuel, but I wanted to see how the car handled when pushed to the limit and that was my experience.

      In the article, I did acknowledge the fact that Chevy Spark owners will never push their cars to the limit like I did for the review.

      But, thanks for sharing your Spark ownership experience and I believe other Spark owners will agree with you as well.

      Cheers,

      Rahul Raman

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