It is no secret that the average price for a new car continues to increase year over year. Despite this, Americans are buying vehicles in record numbers, with over 17 million sold in 2019 alone. While SUVs and pickup trucks often come with hefty price tags, there are still viable options at the lower end of the market. Enter the 2020 Chevy Spark and its $14,396 base price. A quick search on Autotrader revealed that Sparks all across the country are being advertised under MSRP, often for less than $10,000.
Americans can’t afford the cars they’re buying
According to Kelly Blue Book, the average price for a car sold in December 2019 was $38,948. The average sale price far exceeds The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ reported $33,706 average U.S. annual income. The primary way such a disconnect is possible is through long-term auto loans, often stretching over 84 months. As a result, Americans usually pay thousands in interest above the already inflated sales price. As a general rule, your car’s cost should not exceed half your annual income, meaning that the auto industry’s cheapest segment is ideal for most people.
The Chevy Spark’s affordable base price means that buyers should finance it for less time. Incentives help lower the cost further, with brand new examples on sale on Autotrader for less than $8,500. These prices aren’t for a single batch of leftover models either. A quick search reveals dozens of 2020 Chevy Sparks for sale across the country for less than $10,000. A potential reason for the discounts could be low model sales with just 31,281 Sparks finding homes in 2019.
The Chevy Spark is cheap for a reason
Despite its attractive base price, the Chevy Spark has to cut corners to achieve it, reserving vital features for higher trim levels. The base LS trim level comes equipped with a 98-hp 1.4-liter engine and a five-speed manual transmission. As standard, the Chevy Spark has a cloth interior and a seven-inch infotainment screen. The Spark performed decently well during the IIHS crash tests in terms of safety, scoring favorably, although not receiving a top safety pick title.
Selecting the automatic transmission option will increase the Spark’s price by 1,100 dollars. If alloy wheels are a must, you’ll have to opt for the 1LT trim level for $16,295 with a manual or $17,395 with the automatic. The range-topping Chevy Spark is the 2LT equipped with the automatic for $18,895. The 2LT includes nice touches such as body-color accents throughout the cabin and leather seats. The prices for optional extras are high, giving buyers a unique choice, buy one 2LT or two LS base models.
Are you better off buying used?
The Chevy Spark’s status as a new car gives it added benefits such as lower interest rates and a manufacturer warranty. Despite this, buyers may be able to get more for their money if they shop around the used market. There is no getting around the Spark’s small hatchback form factor, a limitation for large families.
A quick search revealed that proven options such as the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic could be had for around the same money. Meaning that in most cases, you are better off buying used. However, the idea of a used car is off-putting to some buyers, primarily due to unknown maintenance costs. However, if a new car is the only option on your list, options like the Chevy Spark mean that you can drive off the lot without crippling debt.