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More Spark from Chevrolet

2005-11-16 12:16

John Oxley

The latest Chev. Spark models come with two engine options - an 800cc and a 1-litre - while a new top-end version gets a host of luxury features including aircon, electric windows, power steering, dual front airbags, and ABS brakes.

The latest Spark will be available in three model variants: 0.8-litre L and 1.0-litre LS and LT models.

Pricing has been reduced slightly in the entry-level version to R62 000; the LS comes in at R76 140 (previous model R78 800) while the new luxury LT is priced at R84 540.

Specification levels are boosted across the range, too.

Entry level

Even the starter models come with full cloth seats, an immobiliser, a full size spare wheel, and various small touches such as intermittent windscreen wipers, and a remote fuel flap opener.

A 60/40 split folding rear seat is standard across the range.

All models also come with a 3 year/100 000 km warranty and roadside assistance.

Next up comes the LS, with a driver's side airbag, air conditioning, key operated central locking, electric front windows, remote tailgate opening and remote manually-adjustable rear view mirrors, as well as a driver?s seat height adjuster and two more speakers.

On the outside the LS is distinguishable from the L by having colour coded bumpers and alloy wheels.

The LT has all the LS specifications plus a passenger side airbag, ABS brakes, power steering, fog lamps front and rear, seat headrests and remote operated central locking with an integral alarm, six speakers in total, and rear seat head restraints.

New bodywork

The latest Spark models have all-new bodywork designed by the Australian GM-Dat team in Korea, featuring new, bigger lights, bolder styling, and more safety features.

At the same time aerodynamics is improved to give a co-efficient of drag of 0.34, while weight, despite slight size increases and more safety, is barely increased thanks to the use of high tensile and high strength steel.

Although based on the same basic floor pan as the outgoing model, the new Spark has a brand-new rear suspension featuring a torsion beam rear axle, plus gas-filled shock absorbers all round, and this results in much improved roadholding and ride qualities as well as a slightly longer wheelbase.

We drove the cars on a varied route around Cape Town and environs which included a lot of tight bends as well as poorly-maintained urban roads and heavy traffic, and we were quite impressed by the way the new Spark responded in these conditions.

One must remember this is a car designed for a mainly urban environment, so don't expect tyre-ripping acceleration. But even with aircon operating on a hot day it proved nippy in traffic.

New interior

One of the big plus factors of the new design is that the car is higher than before - by 15 mm - and this has enabled the designers to re-package the interior.

Key to this is higher seats, which mean better legroom back and front, plus a bigger boot, now up 30 litres to 170 litres.

There's now room for four adults, and there's new bright trim material.

The new dashboard layout sees instrumentation in a central position, with a hooded binnacle containing a large speedo flanked by a fuel gauge and revcounter, with a batch of warning lights placed in front of the driver.

Below this is a black centre console drop-down with two air vents and controls for the ventilation/heating, plus a sound system where fitted.


There's a glovebox and a shelf, as well as various nicknacks spaces and cupholders.

All the Spark models come equipped with speakers, an aerial, wiring and plugs to facilitate the fitment of radios without having to interfere with the overall finishing of the vehicle.

Special attention has also been given to small storage areas for the driver?s convenience, such as door pockets, the sunglass holder and under-seat storage on the LS and LT models.

The drive trains in both models are unchanged from the outgoing versions.

The Spark L has an 800 cc three-cylinder fuel injected engine producing 37.5 kW at 5 900 r/min and 68.6 Nm of torque at 4 600 r/min.

The Spark LS and LT have a 1-litre four-cylinder SOHC engine which delivers 48.5 kW at 5 400 r/min and 87.3 Nm of torque at 4 200 r/min..

Both engines are compliant with Euro 2 emission regulations, and come complete with catalytic converters.

Five-speed manual transmission is standard on all versions.

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