2013 Chevrolet Spark minicarEnlarge Photo
We luv us some cheerful infographics, as we often say.
Today's specimen comes courtesy of Chevrolet, which is preparing to launch the smallest Chevy it's ever sold, the 2013 Spark minicar.
The infographic compares the Chevy Spark to a full-size 1973 U.S. sedan (using data for unspecified "popularly priced" 1973 sedan models from three U.S. manufacturers), and serves up the four following factoids:
We did some thinking about these assertions, and think a bit of discussion is in order.
Our added comments:
2013 Chevrolet Spark minicar vs. 1973 full-size sedan [infographic: Chevrolet]Enlarge Photo
The Spark's 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine puts out 83 horsepower and is fitted with a five-speed manual transmission (a four-speed automatic is optional).
Its power output is perhaps one-half to one-third that of the straight-six and V-8 engines three to five times the size used in 1973 (though horsepower was rated differently back then).
As for fuel efficiency, which the infographic doesn't address, the 2013 Chevrolet Spark will likely get a combined EPA rating somewhere in the 30-to-35-mpg range.
(That's about three times as efficient as that 1973 car, designed well before the 1973 fuel crisis drove gas prices temporarily from 12 or 15 cents a gallon to a terrifying, unsustainable 40 or 50 cents.)
It's actually tougher to get the highest gas-mileage ratings on the smallest cars, since it's easier to reduce aerodynamic drag on longer, sleeker cars (think compact sedans) than shorter, stubbier ones (e.g. the Spark).
We'd like to see other infographics that compare the Spark both to a 1973 "subcompact" like the 140-inch-long Honda Civic and to a true minicar, perhaps the 120-inch-long original 1959 Morris Mini-Minor.
In the end, the 2013 Chevrolet Spark is a prime example of what we call "bracket creep" in car sizing. In 1963, for Europeans it would have been a mid-size car; in 1973, it might have been a compact car in the U.S.
But today, with interior room taking precedence over exterior length, it's a minicar on the outside--even though it's more than enough car for the one or two people who will ever likely occupy it.
As for that unnamed 1973 full-size sedan, sic transit gloria mundi.