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Reader test: Chevrolet Spark

2008-02-29 08:06

Daantjie Badenhorst, Silverton

In 2003, General Motors re-introduced the Chevrolet badge to South Africa, but most models were based on Daewoos.

The most successful of these so far, has been the Spark, which was initially nothing but a facelifted and re-badged Matiz. I owned a 2005 Spark LS, and in 2006 I traded it in on its successor.

The current Spark LS is a very good-looking car, although some people might still prefer the head and tail lamp arrangements of the previous models.

General Motors deserves full marks for fitting alloy wheels to this model as standard equipment. The car certainly looks distinctive, but it does not mean that the previous model has suddenly become dated.

Two things...

When you get into the car, two things immediately grab your attention.

Firstly, considering its size, it is very spacious. This is important if, like me, you have a growing family.

A major improvement over the previous model is the split folding rear seats. The instrument panel deserves criticism. A rev counter is fitted, but unfortunately at the expense of a temperature gauge. The omission of this important feature is puzzling, and I would happily live without a rev counter if I could have a temperature gauge instead. The location in the middle of the dashboard is incorrect, even though one quickly gets used to it.

Perky and frugal

The car's performance is very good considering its engine size, and fortunately, the air conditioner does not reduce power too much. It can reach a top speed of 160 km/h, which is perfectly adequate for a car like this.

Fuel consumption is approximately 16 kilometres per litre, which is satisfactory. The controls are light, even without power steering, and although the gear-change is usually accurate, it is sometimes difficult to engage reverse gear.

It is easy to understand why the Spark has been voted as the best car in its class by at least two motoring magazines, because to my mind, it is.

It is good-looking, light on fuel and not that expensive to maintain.

It also comes with the peace of mind offered by a very extensive dealer network. If I can only add one request: please, GMSA, make a service plan standard equipment on these cars!


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