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KIA: Now it's the edgy, wedgy Koup

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Chevrolet Spark boasts modern design with staying power

2005-11-29 12:33

The new Spark also boasts a completely new body, built on the same platform dimensions as the superseded model.

The latest generation Chevrolet Spark was developed by a team of designers and engineers at the General Motors-Daewoo Auto and Technology (GM-DAT) facility near Seoul in South Korea.

It is the first new product to be developed by GM-DAT under the ownership of the General Motors Corporation, which acquired the Korean company in 2002.

Partners from the famous Italdesign studios also joined the GM-DAT design team to get the first concept models on the drawing board.

"Approximately 80% of all the components in the new Spark are completely new, with the team adopting an "evolution not revolution" motto during the design process," said Arthur Boyle, Marketing Manager at Chevrolet.

"Characteristic of the more developed look of the new model is its revised form and the short overhangs.


"Steeply rising shoulder lines and converging feature lines in the hood extend through to the front side windows, adding tension and dynamism to the side view."

The design also picks up some of the emotional elements that had given its predecessor its unmistakable "smiling face".

Alongside the bold new bumper design and larger air intake, the front of the 2006 Spark is dominated by the striking new round headlamps with large lens effect.

The front headlamp design is matched at the rear by signature round taillights.

The side profile of the new Spark boasts a stronger design, with the kick-up over the door mirror adding a feeling of solidity.

"The objective in development was to increase the functionality of the Spark with improved interior space utilisation, better comfort levels and improved fuel economy, while keeping the distinct exterior styling cues of the old model," says Boyle.

"The designers have developed the cute looks into a more modern yet contemporary feel without going as far with overtly funky, ?fashion ? features that age very quickly."

Given the importance of fuel economy, careful attention has been paid to aerodynamics, with the new Chevrolet Spark having a lower drag coefficient than the superseded model, although the slightly higher roofline does add definition to the frontal area.

In combination, this has resulted in an improvement in interior space but without a corresponding sacrifice in fuel consumption.

The engineers also attached major importance to the use of state-of-the-art technologies and high-grade materials.


Inside, modern design thinking results in a more robust and sturdy facia with centre mounted instruments and circular design features such as the fresh air vents for a slightly more offbeat look.

The most striking feature in the interior of the new Spark is the completely redesigned cockpit.

The main instrument cluster has been moved to the central console position, while the information lights are grouped in a half moon display directly in front of the driver.

The interior picks up some of the styling elements of the exterior with circular details, like the four air vents in the dashboard and the removable ashtray in the centre console.

Easily visible gauges are set on a coloured background, which gives the instruments a fresh, young look.

The all-new interior also incorporates new seats designed to optimise the slightly higher roofline with new trim materials, creating a light, spacious feel.

Thanks to its intelligent utilisation of space, the five-seater boasts a relatively large amount of room inside, generating a light and airy feeling. In terms of headroom, for example, the Spark comes out top of its class with 1004 and 959 millimetres in the front and back respectively.

Optimising Space

The biggest single market for the Spark is the Korean domestic market, which has a tax advantage for vehicles falling within certain length and width parameters.

As a result, the new Chevrolet Spark had to be built to the same overall length and width as the old model.

However, the wheelbase has been slightly lengthened within that parameters, and the overall height has been increased to allow for more effective use of interior space.

Its roomy dimensions, including the high roofline and doors, enhance ease of entry and exit, and add an additional touch of convenience. This feature is especially beneficial for loading things in and out of the car, but is also a great benefit to older people and children.

With the increased height, and completely new seats, the seating positions have been adjusted for more comfort, while still providing an increased trunk capacity (up from 145 litres to 170 litres) and more internal storage spaces.

The new body has been built with a higher proportion of lightweight high strength steel, which has reduced the weight of the body shell by 8% while still meeting global crash test standards.

This reduction in bodyshell mass has allowed the overall mass of the vehicle to remain similar to the old models despite increased vehicle content, thus avoiding an economy penalty.

At the same time, the body design is aerodynamically more efficient, with a drag coefficient reduced from 0.399 to 0.342, assisting with improvements in fuel economy.

Other weight reduction measures include the adoption of a new pedal box structure incorporating a durable plastic moulded structure, which is 2.5kg lighter than the previous steel assembly, and a reduction in 5.3kg in the engine mounting system, due to the adoption of a three mounting torque roll axis mounting configuration.

The Spark comes in great body colours such as aqua green, highway yellow, sunset orange, sports blue, super red, pearl black, flame red, misty blue, urban grey and galaxy white.

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