2013 Chevrolet Spark Automatic: 37 MPG Highway, 32 MPG Combined

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2013 Chevrolet Spark

2013 Chevrolet Spark

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Earlier this month, we told you that the diminutive 2013 Chevrolet Spark with manual 5-speed transmission had received official EPA ratings of 32 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 34 mpg combined. 

Now Chevrolet has received the ratings for the 2013 Spark with automatic 4-speed gearbox: 28 mpg city, 37 mpg highway, and 32 mpg combined. 

Fitted with the same 1.2-liter inline-4 cylinder engine as the manual Spark, it offers the same 85 horsepower. 

That equates to gas mileage figures only 1 mpg better than the much larger 2012 Sonic Sedan with automatic 6-speed gearbox, while the manual 6-speed Sonic Sedan actually beats the manual Spark in highway efficiency.

2013 Chevrolet Spark

2013 Chevrolet Spark

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Starting at $13,920, the automatic Spark is slightly less fuel efficient than its manual-box sibling, but if you're looking for a five-door minicar with automatic transmission, the Spark is your only choice. 

At $12,995 for the 2013 Spark LS with manual transmission, the Spark is Chevrolet’s cheapest car -- and the smallest it has ever sold in the U.S. 

But with the much larger 2012 Sonic Sedan LS with manual transmission starting at $14,660 -- and the Sonic Sedan LS with automatic starting at $15,730, the tiny Spark may be in for some tough competition from its bigger, more powerful brother, especially among those who want to do a fair amount of highway driving. 


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Comments (12)
  1. The manual transmission Spark is still on the top of my list for my next vehicle purchase, but I'm disappointed at the miles per gallon. My Chevy Sprint got much better gas mileage - but it died years ago.

  2. @Gregg: While we sympathize, we should also point out that your old Chevrolet Sprint couldn't be sold as a new car today. It wouldn't meet 2012 emissions standards, and it lacked much of today's safety gear and beefed-up crash structures--which add weight.

    See our review of the (Europe-only) Volkswagen Up for a modern-day counterpart, and a discussion of why it likely won't be sold in the States:

  3. @John & Gregg: engine power is the main factor that has changed dramatically. Automakers don't really offer any very small, efficient engine choices in the U.S. like they used to.

    Your old Sprint probably had the 1.0 L 3-cylinder engine that produced ~50 hp, and a transmission geared for economy. The Spark @ 85 hp produces 70% more power than the Sprint! And it certainly doesn't weigh anywhere near 70% more.

    Considering engine advances, GM could probably give you the same fuel economy of your old car in the Spark if the power to weight ratio was the same. (Most in the motoring press would likely ridicule a car with 12-14 second 0-60 acceleration, but that's another topic.)

  4. @Darin: The 1988 Chevy Sprint apparently weighed up to 1,650 pounds, and the Spark weighs 2269 lbs with the manual gearbox. Another comparison is the current Honda CR-Z, which weighs almost 700 pounds more than the CRX of two decades ago.

    I think you would find that the old Sprint would have unacceptable acceleration as a new car today. As the article below discusses, most of the improvement in engine power over the last 20-plus years has gone to heavier cars and better acceleration, and relatively little to better fuel efficiency (though that will change from now through 2025):

  5. John, thanks for posting those stats: 1650 vs. 2269 lbs represents a ~38% increase in weight, yet the Spark still gets a ~70% boost in power.

    I was satisfied with the acceleration those Suzuki 1.0L powered cars offered, and in fact I still am (I still have one of the later 1.0L Metros, as well as a 1st generation Insight -- what the Metro wished it could be when it grew up! :) ) I'm honestly not sure why the roughly half a million American buyers of those cars found their acceleration acceptable (tolerable?) then, but would not today. ~10% of buyers even opted for an even less powerful (49 hp) and more efficient variant (XFi) when it was offered.

  6. b/c faster and heavier SUVs are all over the roads and they are usually on your bumper if you don't get up speed...

    Roads are also more crowded today than ever...

  7. Slightly bigger n slightly more dough but with hwy mpg in the low 40s will be the 2013 Ford Fiesta 1.0L ecoboost. Should have some decent pep for a small car too.

  8. Buy a Prius or Honda Insight if you are looking for MPG. They are nice cars

  9. There are more comments in this thread
  10. What a piece of CRAP! Only 28/37MPG with the automatic transmission.

    The Chevy Spark only has a 84HP engine, yet doesn't get any better MPG than say a 150HP Honda Civic or 140HP Chevy Cruze..

    So the Spark will be slow and an unimpressive driving experience. It simply doesn't make sense to buy a boring car when there is no advantage in the 'boring' factor.

    This is a common trend with tiny cars, they are less aerodynamic than regular sized cars, and they have tiny engines to try and make up for it, but fail. Their city MPG isn't good either.
    Other cars that share these characteristics; Tiny unimpressive engines with tiny cars and unimpressive MPG is the Scion iQ and the SMART car.

  11. I can tell you, it doesn't get that gas mileage at all. More like 23 in town. It's a joke and rip off scam as usual from the auto industry. I bought the manual Spark 3 months ago. I am keeping track and in communication with GM. Not getting anywhere ofcourse!!!

  12. this car does NOT get the mpg advertised. What can I do about this?

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