I had written a lengthy review about the new Kodak C1093 IS that I purchased recently. I got a chance to use it to review my friend's Chevrolet Spark car. I present to you the review and if you are a future owner of this car, then this review will help you decide on the car. I shall try and make this review as objective as possible and as specific as possible.
Looks of a car can be very subjective. However I do want the Aam Junta to come out of the notion of buying a car for its looks. Did you realize that what matters is the comfort the insides provide, the ease of driveability of the car and certain other considerations such as power, fuel efficiency and service costs. So if you ask me about the Spark honestly - I like its looks. Its cute, has a certain chubbiness that other small cars don't have, and this makes the car adorable. Its kind of bulged out at the center from bottom to top, but other than that I cannot exactly say that the shape is anywhere near aerodynamic in nature.
If you ask me, this section is yet another way of talking about looks, but about some subtle things that make this car look cute. Firstly its small in form. What then strikes you from the front are the glaring headlights with sharp projected indicators much like our canine teeth and a rather subdued Chevy logo right on the middle of the bonnet. While I think the front was just about perfect the backside of this car slightly stumped me with respect to the design.
The backside of this car had three noticeable artifacts. Unmistakably huge were the watermelon sized rear lamps which kind of looked extremely odd, but the light it generates at night is enough to blind any driver behind this car. The worst ones I've seen until date are those of the Santro, which cause a headache on constant view at traffic signals. I pray to god that the car in front of mine is not a Santro. Now I guess I will have to add Spark to that list as well.
That was not all. There was a nice metallic strip named 'Spark' in chrome. I particularly like the font. And finally the reverse lamps or the fog lamps, I fail to understand - were nicely placed below the boot. They looked awesome and the Chevy feel could be understood while looking at them.
The interiors were not a let down. Chevy has done a decent job. Particularly to note were the center console (which might be annoying to certain old age drivers) and neat A/C vents dotting the dashboard at four points. The steering itself looked very flimsy, but then so did it on my own Swift D, before I actually leather wrapped it. I suggested Shankar to leather wrap it because I know for sure that the grippy feel you get after that is done is far better compared to the original slippery feel. The center bottom portion was as usual, three dials, one for heat, one for direction and one for speed of the A/c with one slider to control where the air came in from.Add a dummy button to finish up with the symmetry!
Just to complete the discusson on interiors, I particularly liked the blue dials with white font on it. It was so subdued yet elegant and very readable. The console box was - well - just a console box. Nothing much to be elegant about, but just was there as thought it felt happy enough to co-exist with the other zillion parts of the car. Next onto a drivers most necessary module - the gearshift - or the stick as some people call it. The gearshift on the Spark felt like I was holding a lollipop. One would tend to argue that Swift's gearshift is no better, but then hey - atleast its a bigger lollipop :)
GM has had lots of issues with gearshifts even on Aveo UVA and Aveo Sedans, but they have overcome it with customer feedback. But whether the gearshift on the Spark will see some improvements when GM itself is going bankrupt is a 14 Billion dollar question precisely speaking, and its wise for you to know that the Federal aid of this magnitude has been denied recently making GM all the more vulnerable to closure and bankrupcy. I know who will be having the last laugh - actually two people would - A. Maruti Udyog Ltd, B. Daewoo Ltd - if they still exist that is in some form of a lesser god.
Finally the door handles and window levers - they are mediocre but still do the job and are well placed on the door. This was unfortunately not the power window version, so I cannot comment on this feature here. The side rear view mirror was cute and in proportion with the overall car body, unlike the swift where they are the most important aid while on the road, the purpose of whom is not even satisfied by a large rear view mirror.
The boot is good and mildly large enough. I would say on par with Swift (its a shame that such a big car like swift has to share honours with Spark, but thats how it is and one needs to accept it). The boot can store a great deal of things as long as they are flexible and can be shoved into it. Large suitcases rectangular or square would be a tough to fit scenario in Spark. The stuff under the bonnet is all well placed. The engine makes a presence within the bonnet with neat warning signs not to touch it. This is where Americanism is at its heights.
Engine, space and ride
The Chevy engine is a 1000cc engine which outputs 63bhp of power and 90Nm of torque. Crank start the car and the first feeling you get is one of sitting in heaven. The silence is overwhelmingly deceptive. The feeling of calm this car gives is truly chevy style. And this is what chevy is all about. The smoothness in the revv, the purr of the engine, the comfort of the drive and extremely low NVH levels.
I must say I am 5'11" tall but I did fit myself rather snugly into the rear of this car. No space worries, just snug and perfect. Good amount of thigh and back support. But strictly for four people. You know what, dont you think the fifth person is always the unwanted guest in any car? Think about it and you will tend to agree! :)
The ride - is it powerful? Is it truly driver oriented? Its purely based on perspectives of each individual. For 1000cc the pull seems a bit underpowered, but nothing to cry home about after buying the car. Step on the gas and the car surges forward under the challenge to do quite well. I have driven this car with four passengers including me, and with the airconditioner on. There was a noticeable drop in power but the car still seems to weave its magic around you in other aspects, so you are not totally disheartened about it on the power part. The aircon - it cools very fast, just to keep your head and heart cool - just like in the ad.
I would still give the award to the old, aged, and historical Maruti 800 for its nimbleness in being just 800cc and in this department Spark does suffer a bit. But thats just where the comparison must honestly end. The upmarket feel, the refined engine, the space - these are areas where the M800 is put to shame.
and finally, the Price point and Fuel Effeciency
My friend Shankar got the car for an OTR of 3.6 lacs and the current price of this variant stands at 4.2 lacs with huge discounts, which brings the OTR price round about the same place once more. And forget the tall claims of the world's most fuel efficient car at 18kmpl and all that. Be happy if you can get about 16kmpl without A/c. My friend gets 13-14kmpl with A/c always ON. Thats not bad for a car such as Spark because you must understand that the engine is a 1000cc and 63bhp power. The higher end variants of Spark almost touch five lacs, but for this you get ABS and Airbags. If you have the money and value your life, go for this variant. Having ABS + airbags is no more deemed a luxury but a dire necessity in a country like ours. And the Sparks safety systems are one of the best and do their job as guaranteed on purchase. If you still have doubts you must see this article. It speaks volumes about the car's safety capabilities.
I leave you with a detailed impression of Chevy Spark that you have read until now. If you would like to share your sentiments about this car, I would like to hear from you. Click on the comments section and leave me your note! I ll be glad to know you more! Adieu!