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The 2021 Chevy Spark Is The Cheapest New Car But Is It The Best Value?

The 2021 Chevy Spark is the least expensive new car this year. Budget options are usually light on features, but how much do you really get with the Chevy Spark? Comparing the features of three competitors paints a surprising picture of the subcompact hatchback.

2021 Chevy Spark | Chevrolet

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How the 2021 Chevy Spark stacks up against the competition

Several subcompact cars on the market are in direct competition with the Chevy Spark. The 2021 Kia Soul LX hatchback is the most comparable in size and price. This year’s Subaru WRX base package comes in near the same price as the 2021 Chevy Spark LT.

Mitsubishi’s Mirage is the closest competitor in size and specs. Comparing the features of similar cars in this price range gives a clearer impression of the Chevy Spark’s value. Spec by spec the Spark holds an interesting place in the running.

The Spark is conspicuously low on light

Little interior touches are often missing from budget cars. The savings have to be carved out somewhere. The 2021 Chevy Spark is missing a feature many would consider essential.

Map lights are optional but not standard. Buyers who frequently use interior lighting should keep this in mind. There is no glove box light option. One dome light serves the Chevy Spark.

Interior finishes and materials

A black leather and silver tone Chevy steering wheel
Chevy steering wheel | Luis Antonio Rojas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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This is one place where the 2021 Chevy Spark shines. Compared to other models in the same price range, the Chevy Spark has a little more style. A steering wheel wrapped in leather and metal-look accents feel more expensive than they are.

The 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage is a close competitor but lacks the same finishing touches. Mitsubishi made the Mirage in a very similar spirit as the Spark. Buyers will see the similarities outside the vehicle as well.

A surprising stand out feature

Comparing the most expensive trim level of Chevy’s Spark to similarly priced subcompact cars in the same class, there is one modern touch that stands out. USB ports come standard in the Chevy Spark. They aren’t an option in the comparable 2021 Kia Soul or 2021 Subaru Impreza.

USB ports feel like a base tier feature in a market dominated by high tech features. They’ve been a common find in cars for years. It’s surprising that some of the spark’s competitors lack this basic feature.

The 2021 Chevy Spark leads the pack in fuel economy

A fuel pump handle in use
Fuel pump in use | Sean Gallup via Getty Images

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Even the smallest of the Chevy Spark’s competitors can barely compete with its fuel economy. The 2021 Mitsubishi Mirage comes close. It has a combined fuel economy of 39 miles per gallon, according to the EPA.

That’s slightly more than the Chevy Spark, but the Kia also has a smaller engine and less acceleration. If both engines were the same size, the two would likely break even. Larger cars in this class have comparable fuel economy by weight.

The Spark takes a little off the top

It’s tempting to write the Spark off as too austere. Just looking at the base trim level would leave most buyers underwhelmed. However, when you consider the top tier trim package and compare it to similarly priced models, the Chevy Spark becomes something else.

It becomes an option to save a lot by giving up just a few creature comforts. The Chevy Spark is a practical hatchback with a few bells and whistles skimmed off the top.