2013 Chevrolet Spark, road test, January 2013Enlarge Photo
On the other hand, the Spark seems to be proving slightly more popular than Chevy had projected. The company said in October it has had to increase its Spark imports from Korea to meet the demand.
The Spark's low price came with a handful of oddities. For instance, unlike every other car we've tested over the last few years, the power locks didn't unlock when the key was pulled out of the ignition.
It's a simple thing, but it's now so intuitive that we spent the entire weekend trying to open the locked driver's door after yanking out the key--and then cursing, hitting the master lock switch, and trying again.
There is also no automatic-down on the driver's window, let alone automatic-up. Cost savings, we understand, but we really missed that one too.
On the other hand, Chevy has gone to the expense of providing an interior gas-door release. Many minicars simply require a simple push on the gas door.
And that gas tank only holds 9.2 gallons, meaning that even at about 35 mpg, we had to refuel before 300 miles were up.
For an inexpensive car, the Spark's 7-inch touchscreen display is impressive. Pairing a smartphone and streaming Pandora was simple, though we still haven't tested BringGo, the $50 app that runs on a smartphone to provide navigation and routing that's displayed on the screen.
The basic Spark LS model starts at $12,995 including delivery, but omits cruise control, the 7-inch touchscreen display, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, audio controls on the steering wheel, as well as power locks and mirros, floor mats, and even floor mats.
Those items are all found on the mid-level Spark 1LT, which starts at $14,495.
Our pair of identical Salsa Red 2013 Chevy Sparks were the high-end 2LT trim level, which adds 15-inch alloy wheels, fog lamps, a handful of exterior embellishments like chrome trim, and then inside, leatherette two-tone upholstery on heated front seats, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
The bottom line for our test car was $15,045, plus a mandatory $750 delivery fee, totaling $15,795.
You can also order this model with a four-speed automatic transmission, which adds an additional $925. But don't do it. The manual is faster and far more rewarding to drive, and won't leave you nervously wondering if the car can accelerate fast enough to get out of the way of large trucks.
We learned that during our first drive of the 2013 Spark, in which we were assigned an automatic test car in the very, very noticeable Techno Pink color.
You'll like the manual better, we promise. The color, however, is entirely up to you.