While it is no secret that 2020 was a rough year for Chevy’s reliability, the lackluster performance of the 2020 Chevy Spark stands out as a possible omen for the nameplate. In spite of taking the top ranking among U.S. News’ Cheapest Cars of 2020, many automotive critics speculate that the Spark is among the cars scheduled for Chevrolet’s chopping block in the near future. Why the grim view of Spark? It could stem from the Spark’s failure to do anything well in the eyes of Consumer Reports reviewers.
Consumer Reports says the 2020 Spark did not excel at anything
Consumer Reports critics concede that there are niches into which the 2020 Spark might fit, but “the Spark isn’t exactly a great deal for what you get.” Though the cheapest car on the market, this car is barebones, lacking power windows and other common features car owners expect to find and do find in the Spark’s closest competitors.
The Spark’s 33 mpg fuel economy, designed to impress, fails to create a significant gap between alternatives in the same class. In fact, the 2020 Toyota Yaris Sedan returns 35 mpg, and the carmaker’s larger and more accommodating Corolla equals the estimated fuel economy of the 2020 Spark.
Lazy performance prevents the car from making a significant impression. The 2020 Spark’s underpowered engine and transmission combination produce a strained scream as the car works at the upper end of its revving cycle with great frequency. Though the Spark approaches curves with lightweight enthusiasm, CR’s critics note disconnect in the steering response that makes the car feel “nervous.”
A lack of space and a failure to provide an overall feel of substance are additional drawbacks of the 2020 Spark. The driving position is awkward, and the ride is jarring with passengers feeling a jolt through the seat with every pavement flaw. Road noise produced inside its close-quarters cabin is close to deafening, delivering sustained abuse to its cramped passengers during long rides.
Though not at the lowest end of the scale, the Spark’s interior does little to salvage its reputation. Getting into one of the two rear seats requires circus-level flexibility, and the two tiny passengers riding in the rear will have to share a single cup holder.
The relative pros of the 2020 Spark
From the comments of CR’s critics, it is pretty clear that the 2020 Spark failed to impress, but are there any positive features besides being about $1,200 less than its nearest competitor? The 2020 Spark is an improvement over last year’s model and outperformed the 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage, according to CR. Three main positives pointed to by the critics include an elevated driver-seat position, easy front access, and a compact size, which makes it easier to park.
The 2020 Chevy Spark does come with a user-friendly infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with connectivity to a variety of apps like navigation via the car’s screen, and comes with a backup camera among its standard features. If you are willing to pay a bit more, forward collision warning and low speed automatic emergency braking are available safety options on more advanced trim levels.
What alternatives to the Spark should buyers consider?
Though CR makes it obvious that the 2020 Mitsubishi Mirage is not a viable option to keep in mind, there are cars within the same class as the Spark with more advanced features, better performance and handling, a greater amount of passenger space, and more satisfying overall driving and riding comfort.
The 2020 model alternatives most similar and closest in price include the Nissan Versa ($1,200 more), the Hyundai Accent (just under $2,000 more), the Toyota Yaris ($2,200 more), and the Kia Rio (just less than $2,500 more).
Buyers are better off to skip the 2020 Chevy Spark
In spite of the fact that Chevrolet improved upon the 2019 Spark, its 2020 edition continues to lack many of the features of comparable cars in its class. Its lackluster performance, uncomfortable ride, and absence of overall value and substance is something of an embarrassment. Buyers looking for a cheap, compact, run-around car, for whatever purpose, should skip the Spark and pay a couple of thousand dollars extra for one of the 2020 Chevy Spark’s alternatives.