Monday, December 23, 2013

Used Car Review - Chevrolet Spark (2006-2010)

On the twelfth day of Christmas Myk Belmonte gave to me... twelve Chevy Sparks

2006-2010 Chevrolet Spark

We are all witnesses to this: General Motors purchasing the bankrupt Daewoo Motors based in Korea. Basically, all vehicles developed by GM in Korea are badged as Daewoos while the rest of the world have them in varying names. The Daewoo name was laid to rest as GM ditched the nameplate in 2011.

Born as the Daewoo Matiz in 1998 with designs from Giugiaro (the Italian design powerhouse) and carryover engine and transmission from the Daewoo Tico upgraded to an EFi system. First Matiz units had a 0.8 engine with a 1.0 added to the line-up in 2002. A heavily revised Spark/Matiz was unveiled in 2005 with revisions in the engine, interior, and drag coefficient. This generation was discontinued in 2010 to make way for the M300 Spark based on the Chevrolet Beat concept car.

Locally, the M200 Spark made its introduction in July 2006 and battled the Kia Picanto and Hyundai Getz. It was the cheapest Chevrolet in the line-up which undercut the base model Aveo back then. It had a following among buyers but the Koreans and Suzuki clawed their way to the sales charts. February 2011 saw the introduction of the M300 Spark which gained market recognition.

Value and Costs
Those who want something cheap to run without any involvement of down payments for a brand new car might want to consider a Chevrolet Spark. It is somewhat a modelo car that is affordable to buy especially prices are between P180,000-P280,000. You might encounter some Daewoo Matiz models which are sold by the previous Daewoo distributor that possess the lethargic 0.8 engine.

Fuel economy is on the cheap side but watch out for wear and tear parts especially the Spark is intended as a city car so these items wore out. Parts outside the casa are numerous, while the dealerships have stocks that some need waiting.

Exterior and Interior
Good thing about the Spark is it saves road space, since it measures 3,495mm in length. The Giugiaro design gave the Spark some lively cues and it is available in some colors which will definitely brighten up your day. Puny steel wheels come standard but why would it matter if you'll be using it most of the time inside the city?

Inside, four people would fit in comfortably with headroom a positive. However, prepare to rub elbows with your front passenger more often as you change gears and three at the back is only suitable for close friends or small people. When it comes to driver's convenience, controls are within reach with power windows up front and mirrors are adjustable using a stick inside. Do not expect high end plastics as the Spark does not have them; it treats occupants with exposed screws and bolts.

It was a heaven sent that the S-TEC 995cc carrying 65hp and 91Nm is the standard fare among Philippine market Sparks. It is one willing engine that will propel you to the top provided you should be in the right gear. A manual transmission which will help you move is the standard engine.

Driving Impressions
We all know the feeling of driving a small car: you are easily a victim of road bullying. Despite the somewhat roomy cabin, you sit low to the ground and it was logical to have the gauges placed in the center. Suspension is on the soft side which even absorbs road ruts and does not transmit to the occupants. Shifting is easy and clutch possessing a soft modulation. Fast and curves aren't good words since it has the tendency to tip over while hill climbs require you to exercise what you have learned on your overtaking skills 101.

If you find the Alto too bare for your needs, the Spark would be a better choice. However, some might find this suited for their tastes and preferences so further research is the key.

The Good:
  • Headroom space
  • Tiny footprint
  • Fuel efficient 
The Bad:
  • Limited cabin space
  • Engine must be worked hard
  • Not that much equipped
The Pick: 1.0 LT

Engine: 995cc S-TEC 4-cylinder gasoline
Power: 65hp @ 5,400rpm
Torque: 91Nm @ 4,200rpm
Fuel Consumption: 12-15km/L (city), 15-18km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Suspension: Front independent McPherson strut, rear torsion beam

Price (New): P495,000-P550,000
Price (Now): P180,000-P280,000
Rivals: Chery QQ, Hyundai i10, Kia Picanto, Suzuki Alto, Suzuki Celerio, Chana Benni
On Sale: 2006-2010

Chevrolet Pasig - (02) 672-1485
Chevrolet Quezon Avenue - (02) 374-1250
Chevrolet Shaw - (02) 721-0021

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