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Reader test: Chevrolet Spark

2009-11-05 11:27

Freddie van Leeuwen

When the time came to add another vehicle to our household, the choice for me as a petrolhead was, shall I say “extremely difficult”.

Fortunately due to financial restrictions and a teenage daughter that had just turned 18 and could not wait to get behind the wheel, the choice was narrowed down to a few “cheaper” models. First on my list was to check out the Citi Golf with its parts being very cheap in case of a ding or pavement squabble, or any repair because of the “trainee” in action.

This is where Sparky caught my wife’s eye, and so we took it for a drive. Well all I can say is that I was convinced. It is a very small looking car from the outside, but once you get in, the dash layout is open and stretches out quite far forward.

The controls are light and gearshift is precise. The centre layout of the dials are not to everyone’s liking so it does take some time getting used to, but overall it is easily readable.

Could use a ...

The lack of a temperature gauge is something that Chevrolet really needs to look into as the manual just states: “when you see smoke/steam coming from the engine area, you need to pull over and investigate”. This might not be the best idea out there.

Another problem I experience is the headlight globes that I have to replace on a monthly basis as they just pop for no reason. More seriously is the ease with which the alloy rims gets damaged. When I had to replace the front tyres on 40 000km, I had to replace one rim as well. I have heard from other owners that it is the norm. Boot space is very small and I cannot fit my Audi spare wheel without flattening down the rear seats.

The car is small so fuel consumption varies between 6-7l/100km and being the LT model, it comes with power steering and ABS as well as dual airbags. A comfortable cruising speed is around 110km/h and most hills are devoured in top gear providing you approach at around 120 Km/h. Fuel consumption does take a beating when cruising at 130km/h as the motor spins like a sewing machine.

Build quality is as expected from the Koreans and is on par for the price. All said and done, this little runaround has stolen my heart and I hope to have it for many more years.

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