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buying: Here's Why Despite Being The Cheapest Car In America, The Chevy Spark Is Not Worth It

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  The Best Car Rental Deals | Money Find out what company makes the most sense for you.Public transit, taxis, and ridesharing companies such as Lyft and Uber have made transportation more accessible than ever to individuals the world over. Although options are plentiful for moving about, there are still times when you might need to get in the driver’s seat.

  Here's Why Despite Being The Cheapest Car In America, The Chevy Spark Is Not Worth It © Provided by TopSpeed

When the last of the 2022 Chevrolet Sparks finally rolls off sales lots, the title of “Cheapest New Car In America” will be awarded to the 2023 Nissan Versa, which will cost over $2,000 more. Should you attempt to snag one of the last rock-bottom priced Sparks before Chevy sunsets the model? Well, unless you enjoy the wrist-snapping motion of manual roll-down windows, there’s no need to rush to your local dealer.

The Chevy Spark Delivers Attitude

On the plus side, the styling of this subcompact hatchback is fun and appealing. Between Nitro Yellow, Mystic Blue, and Nightfall Gray - Chevy has whipped up some exciting color options. The interior is also well-designed, with a prominent center console and just a little bit of Chevy attitude. That’s about where the fun stops. Although subcompact cars do have the ability to deliver bold driving experiences when properly engineered, nobody will be attempting any Italian jobs in this go-kart. Halogen projector headlamps, a backup camera, a rear spoiler, and an air-conditioning system are graciously standard on the Spark. Although every new car is now required by law to be built with rearview backup cameras, that doesn’t stop manufacturers from advertising the inclusion as a ritzy feature. Isn’t that nice? This car complies with Federal law. Fancy.

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A Lot Of Engineering In A Small Package

The base model LS is equipped with a five-speed manual transmission and a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine. In the interest of fuel efficiency, the oil pump on the Spark is designed to operate with a variable-flow system depending on how hard the engine is working. By matching the operation of the pump with the turning of the crankshaft, oil flow only increases when engine RPMs increase. This results in the pump operating at a lower capacity to conserve fuel when higher performance is not needed. Although similarly sized subcompacts produce better numbers in terms of efficiency, the 98-horsepower returns a respectable 33 combined MPG. The 2022 Mitsubishi Mirage manages to squeeze 39 MPG out of its 76 horsepower 1.2-liter three-cylinder powerplant. It also nearly doubles the powertrain warranty to 10 years or 100,000 miles compared to the Spark’s 5-year/60,000-mile pledge.

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Even budget cars have decent infotainment screens these days. Chevy offers a seven-inch standard color touch screen on the Spark. While that may seem undersized compared to higher-end models, it’s more than enough room for navigation and radio tuning. Two USB ports offer additional connectivity on top of the Bluetooth system. The lack of cruise control on the base model Spark is a tough pill to swallow, even for extremely budget-minded drivers. Powered adjustable seats are also not offered on any Spark trim level. This shouldn’t feel like too much of a sacrifice unless you share a car or often switch drivers. Just set the seat where you like it and keep it there. The ACTIV and 2LT trims throw in heated seats, just in case the standard air-conditioning is working too well.

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What To Expect From The Chevrolet Spark

As far as reliability is concerned, the newer model Chevrolet Sparks are not expected to have any major issues beyond the average car. 2019 Sparks were recalled to remedy a possible “Airbags will not deploy” scenario. Only 12 examples were potentially affected by this issue, so if you’re a generally unlucky person, avoid that model year. The biggest recall came from the 2013-2015 model year Sparks. The secondary hood latch had the potential to rust, which could cause the hood to flip up while driving if the primary latch isn’t engaged. This could be a useful feature if you don’t want anyone to see you driving a Chevy Spark.

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Past Subcompacts Left Small Shoes To Fill

What was the last, great American subcompact car? The Chevrolet Vega and Ford Pinto were praised by reviewers when they were first introduced. However, they were soon plagued by quality and safety issues. Today the monikers are remembered mostly as punchlines. The AMC Gremlin was one of the first American subcompact cars introduced in the 1970s to compete against smaller, fuel-efficient imports. The simple functionality appealed to buyers. American Motors Corporation built over 600,000 Gremlins up until 1978. Meanwhile, the flaming wreckage of the Ford Pinto was still burning in the distance. Crosley was another early manufacturer of small cars in America. The Crosley Radio Corporation had grown into the largest radio manufacturer in the world by 1925. The company’s founder, Powel Crosley Jr., had longed to build an affordable, quality car that any American could afford. When the Crosley Series 1A was introduced in 1939, it was the cheapest new car in America. With an MSRP between $300-$350, the Crosley was less than half the price of a 1939 Ford Sedan. When adjusted for inflation, the Crosley would cost just $2,767.50 if it were introduced in 2022. Regulators would take issue with its lack of safety features, which consist of brakes and…not much else. Crosley’s efficient models sold well through the fuel-rationing era of World War II. Crosley shunned dealer networks and sold the cars in stores alongside other appliances. However, post-war American buyers began to crave larger, more extravagant modes of transportation. The Crosley automobile only lasted until 1952, but the Crosley Corporation still manufactures appliances today.

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The Chevy Spark Walked So The Bolt Could Run

Although the Spark sold well in Chevrolet’s lineup, General Motors may have been following Marie Kondo’s tidying-up advice - if it doesn’t spark joy, get rid of it. The Chevrolet Bolt is a worthy entry into the evolution of Chevrolet’s subcompact category. It answers the call of being an entry-level, affordable EV. Prices still have a long way to fall in order to make the Bolt truly a Spark replacement wallet-wise. However, when factoring in the cost of saved fuel, and the nice number of standard features offered on the Bolt - no penny pinchers should shed a tear for the dearly departed Spark.

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