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Chevy Spark is no firecracker (pictures)

The Spark mini car from Chevy bears a very low price and boasts high fuel economy, but its driving dynamics suffer from cost-cutting engineering.

Wayne_Cunningham.jpg
Wayne_Cunningham.jpg

Wayne Cunningham

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1 of 22 Josh Miller/CNET
Chevy adds to its model lineup at the small end with the Spark, a new model built in Korea.
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The Spark features uncommon styling around a practical cabin design.
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Although only 1.25 liters, the Spark's engine still has four cylinders. Its output of 84 horsepower is decidedly on the low side.
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At slightly over 12 feet long, the Spark is easy to park.
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The suspension makes for a rough ride in the Spark.
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With the rear seats up there is room for maybe two grocery bags.
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To fold the rear seats down, you first lift up the seat bottom.
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Folding down the rear seats opens up much more cargo room.
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This top-trim model comes with two-tone, manually adjustable seats.
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Chevy put a divider in the rear bench preventing more than two people from sitting back here. The car would certainly struggle with the weight of five passengers.
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1LT and 2LT trim levels come standard with the center 7-inch touch screen.
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The electric power steering becomes very obvious when you turn the wheel while stopped.
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Chevy says this instrument cluster design was inspired by gauges on motorcycles.
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A five-speed manual transmission is standard, while a four-speed automatic is available.
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This colorful top-level menu is like nothing else found in Chevy's lineup.
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The Smartphone Link menu item leads to this screen, with three apps represented. Chevy will no doubt add more apps in the future.
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The BringGo navigation app runs on a smartphone, and displays its maps on the touch screen.
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BringGo has all the features you would expect from a factory-installed navigation system.
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Traffic data comes in through the connected smartphone's data plan.
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Our biggest gripe about the Bluetooth system is that you can't connect a device to make calls and stream music at the same time.
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The music library screen catalogs tracks by artist and album, whether reading from an iPhone, iPod, or USB drive.
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Album art shows up on the play screen.

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