It also retains its position as one of the most affordable cars in America, with a suggested retail price starting at $13,485 for the Spark LS with a manual transmission and $14,585 with the available automatic transmission (prices include destination charges).
The Spark is sold in more than 40 markets around the world, with global sales of more than 1 million.
The new Spark has a sleeker appearance, thanks to a slightly longer wheelbase, and an overall height that’s about 1.6 inches (40 mm) lower than the previous model. The lower profile reduces aerodynamic drag to help improve efficiency and interior changes maintain the Spark’s traditionally generous headroom.
It is also built on an all-new, more robust architecture that serves as the foundation for its more sophisticated driving experience. The stronger body structure enables engineers to tune ride and handling more precisely, for greater feelings of control and refinement, while fostering a quieter ride.
New phone integration technology displays content from Apple iPhone 5 or later models on the multicolor screen through the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay features. Supported apps for the systems include phone, messages, maps, music and compatible third-party apps.
“At its core, the new Spark is still the fun, agile urban car that made the first-generation model so popular, but it delivers that fun driving experience with greater sophistication,” said Sam Basile, executive chief engineer. “And while it’s a truly global car, it is targeted for more developed vehicle markets, allowing engineers to focus more precisely on the materials and technologies that resonate with customers in those markets.”
Additional new and enhanced vehicle features include:
- All-new Ecotec 1.4L I-4 with manual and continuously variable (CVT) transmissions – delivering a GM-estimated 40 mpg on the highway with the available CVT
- New available safety features including Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert
- Next-generation Chevrolet MyLink with 7-inch-diagonal color touch screen
- Advanced dot-matrix LCD instrument cluster display
- Comprehensive lineup of accessory packages for unprecedented personalization options.
With the instantly recognizable face of a contemporary global Chevrolet, the 2016 Spark is distinguished by a sleeker proportion and more sophisticated aesthetics.
The lower roof height reduces the characteristic upright look of many mini-cars, while a “shrink-wrapped” body – with the wheels pushed to the edges of the fenders – contribute to a more substantial, firmly planted presence.
An evolution of Chevrolet’s signature dual-port grille is flanked by large, elliptical headlamps that sweep back into the front fenders. The headlamps have a highly detailed appearance that contribute to the Spark’s more sophisticated design.
“In short, the Spark has grown up,” says Michael Simcoe, GMIO vice president of design. “It retains a youthful flair, but it’s a more refined design that reflects the maturation of the global mini-car market and customers’ desires for richly styled and highly contented choices.”
A palette of bold exterior colors remains, with three new colors – Toasted Marshmallow, Kalamata and Splash – added to the mix, depending on the market.
Inside, designers matched the lowered roof height by adjusting the hip-point dimensions for the seats, maintaining the ample headroom of the previous model and offering comparable spaciousness with a more engaging driving position.
“In addition to maintaining the Spark’s signature roominess, the new seating position contributes to its more sophisticated driving experience,” Simcoe says. “You have a greater feeling of sitting in the seats rather than on them.”
There’s also a more sophisticated look and feel to the interior, thanks to upgraded materials and greater attention to detail, including everything from the higher-quality fabrics to higher-density seat foam that enhance comfort and durability.
It’s a more contemporary environment, too, with an all-new instrument panel design – with an advanced LCD display – and featuring a prominent “center stack” for the infotainment and climate system controls. The Spark’s signature color-matched instrument panel décors are updated with the new model and the previously round air outlets are now trapezoidal, adding to the more contemporary design.
The Spark’s all-new MyLink radio features a capacitive-touch color display, with a simple and intuitive icon-based interface similar to what most customers are used to with their smartphone and other electronic devices. And like a smartphone, the capacitive-touch display allows them to swipe, pinch and perform other similar gestures for quick, easy operation.
New volume control and other physical buttons reduce complexity and enhance the system’s intuitiveness.
MyLink with phone integration technology and OnStar 4G LTE
New for Spark in 2016, Chevrolet’s new MyLink infotainment system with a 7-inch-diagonal color touchscreen gives owners a smart and simple way to access Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Each system builds off of the features smartphone users rely on most, with many controlled via voice commands through a button on the steering wheel. That helps drivers spend more time with eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.
Android Auto is built around Google Maps, Google Now and the ability to talk to Google, as well as a growing audio and messaging app ecosystem that includes WhatsApp, Skype, Google Play Music, Spotify, and podcast players. A full list of supported apps is available at Android.com/auto.
Apple CarPlay puts iPhone features on the vehicle’s display in a smart, simple manner, allowing drivers to make calls, send and receive messages and listen to music right from the touchscreen or by voice via Siri. Apple CarPlay-supported apps include Phone, Messages, Maps, Music and compatible third-party apps. A full list of those apps can be found at Apple.com/ios/carplay.
Using either application is simple. A “Projection” icon on the MyLink screen is visible when a phone is not connected and changes to indicate CarPlay or Android Auto when a compatible phone is connected via a USB. Android Auto requires a phone running the Android Lollipop 5.0 operating system or above, while Apple CarPlay requires an iPhone 5 or later.
The 2016 Spark is powered by an all-new 1.4L engine that is part of GM’s new, global family of Ecotec small-displacement engines. It offers an estimated 98 horsepower (73 kW) – a 16-percent increase over the previous model.
Engineered to deliver strong performance with excellent efficiency, the new Ecotec engine family represents a clean-sheet design and engineering process, leveraging the diverse experience of GM’s global resources.
“The new Ecotec architecture represents the most advanced and efficient family of small-car gas engines in GM’s history,” said Tom Sutter, global chief engineer. “Along with performance and efficiency targets, we’ve also aimed for segment-challenging refinement with low noise and vibration – and we’ve hit the bulls-eye.”
Spark’s new 1.4L features an aluminum cylinder block and head, which helps reduce the vehicle’s overall mass to enhance performance and efficiency. The cylinder head also incorporates an integrated exhaust manifold, which further reduces weight – an attribute that contributes to increased vehicle efficiency and a more favorable front-to-rear weight balance, for a more responsive driving experience.
Engine efficiency is also enhanced through reduced friction, including low-friction piston rings, a low-friction camshaft drive and a low-friction oil pump.
A five-speed manual transmission is standard and a dual-range continuously variable transmission is available with the new 1.4L.
The 2016 Chevrolet Spark builds on the previous model’s reputation for delivering excellent passenger safety in the mini-car segment. In fact, in the United States, the 2015 Spark was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.
A stronger body structure is at the core of the new Spark’s safety story and it’s complemented by a wider array of passive and active safety features. Ten standard air bags include driver/front passenger knee air bags, roof rail side air bags and seat-mounted thorax/pelvic air bags. A rollover sensing and protection system is also offered.
Additionally, new active safety features can help drivers avoid collisions through camera-based technology that provides alerts to possible collision threats, including Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning.
A rear-vision camera system is standard and rear park assist is offered.