Only barely a crossover

Sometimes, it doesn't take much to enter the crossover game. Subaru's Outback, for example, is basically a taller Legacy sedan with a wagon rear end. Chevrolet's sneaking its way into the subcompact crossover game with the help of the Spark hatchback.

The 2017 Chevrolet Spark Activ is a tiny ute meant to compete with the likes of the Ford EcoSport, Honda HR-V and Toyota C-HR. It differentiates itself from the traditional Spark by way of new front and rear fascias, skid plates, new wheels and a suspension that adds 0.4 inches to the Spark's ride height. It's also sporting a set of roof rails, fog lamps and a unique grille pattern.

The inside is basically still a Spark. Standard features include heated leatherette front seats and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Tech accouterments include a backup camera and remote keyless entry.

If the bumpers were body colored, it would be hard to tell whether or not this is a regular ol' Spark.

Chevrolet

The Spark Activ also comes standard with Chevrolet's MyLink infotainment system, with a 7-inch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a 4G LTE hotspot with three free months of data (capped at 3GB).

Only one engine is available -- a 1.4-liter I4 good for 98 horsepower. Buyers can choose from a manual or continuously variable transmission. In fact, it appears that the transmission is the only choice the buyer has on this car, save for the paint color. Fuel economy is estimated at 29 mpg city and 37 mpg highway with the manual (30 and 37, respectively, with the CVT).

The 2017 Chevrolet Spark Activ hits dealerships in the first quarter of 2017. It'll cost $16,945 for the manual transmission, or $18,045 if you want the CVT.

Chevrolet