When you live in British Columbia (or anywhere outside of the prairies, for that matter), finding the right car is not as simple as succumbing to big brand recognition or picking the car with the highest horsepower. A versatile land, the majority of Canada demands its motorists drive an equally versatile car which can tackle city living, mountainous climbs, highways and back roads simultaneously.

The Chevrolet Spark, while seemingly unwilling (or unable) to specialize in any one of the above feats, is one such car which meets somewhere in the middle of the spectrum to offer you a little bit of everything, giving you the ability to climb mountainous roads while still being able to fit in the compact parking spaces rampant throughout cities. This makes it one of the more suitable cars for the average Canadian.

The Price

The Chevrolet Spark’s best feature and main selling point is easily its price. It almost markets itself as being the car for those who know value when they see it and have a tendency of getting a car which serves no purpose other than to get them from point A to point B. As such, you really can’t expect to ever pay more than twelve thousand dollars for the vehicle. This is a huge plus we can all appreciate in buying a new car, no matter your allotted budget.

The Chevrolet Spark is certainly competitively priced – even when stacked up to similar cars of the same size – and is sure to reel in the frugal crowd. Not only is its price low, but its price-to-quality ratio is equally low, ensuring you’re getting more than what you paid for. If you’re looking for a great value in your next car, the Chevrolet Spark is likely to have it. A recent review of the 2015 from states that the car is “inexpensive without feeling cheap.” The 2016 model takes on much the same level of value.

The Drive

Almost as important as a car’s price is its ability to drive and drive well. You will likely find the handling on the Chevrolet Spark to be quite average. While it may not be able to turn as sharply as many small cars, its handling seems to be more than on par with cars of a similar price, which is exactly what we want to see in a practical, well-researched vehicle purchase.

While the Spark’s handling may be average when compared to other vehicles across the board, I’ll note that the smoothness with which it drives is certainly not bad at all. Although it may not be the smoothest, it is far from the roughest within its class.

The visibility the Spark offers its drivers is also great relative to other cars within its class. You will find yourself seated relatively high up in the driver’s seat, letting you see what’s right in front of your bumper at all times, improving your driving experience and even making the car suitable for a newly-licensed individual’s first ride due to the extra safety and ease of driving this brings to the table.

The Interior

Relative to the overall size of the Spark, you’ll find its cabin to be quite accommodating, although this may not look the case from the outside in. However, the amount of space given to those in the back seat may not be as generous. Indeed, this makes the Spark more suited toward those who don’t plan on having a whole lot of adults in the back seat over the course of the car’s life. The hatchback trunk is likely enough space for the average driver as well.

The Exterior

Similar to the Hyundai Accent, the Chevrolet Spark offers a modest exterior with a classic small hatchback feel. While it may not be suitable to bring to car shows, it’s certainly not an eyesore. Once again, the main (and possibly only) purpose of this car is to get its owners from point A to point B in an efficient, cost-effective manner.

The Engine

This is likely the Spark’s biggest downside. Being a small car, you can already guess that it may not be the best choice for lugging a giant trailer from Vancouver to St. Johns. For heavy-duty excursions or commercial vehicles within many trade sectors, the Spark may disappoint some with its mere eighty-four horsepower. While it will certainly get you to grandma’s house, this car may not be as suitable as others when it comes to hauling of any sort. This can be an issue for those involved in trades and those who prefer the use of camping trailers over tents.

The Fuel Efficiency

Being a car which is quite small in stature, you can already guess that the Spark can get you where you need to be without burning through too much gas in the process. If you’re buying a small car merely for its fuel efficiency; however, you’ll find many other cars in the Spark’s class to be a lot more forgiving on fuel. As such, the fuel efficiency in the Spark should be seen merely as an added bonus as opposed to a key selling point.

The Added Features

The Spark is heavily advertised as being a cost-efficient alternative to fancier cars which could possibly be deemed as being rather unnecessary in the feature department. As such, you can expect it to be rather low in standard features. Whether or not this is a good thing all comes down to where you want your money going. Would you rather pay for a higher degree of comfort or have your eleven thousand dollars go purely into the car’s functionality and practicality? It’s truly all a matter of priorities and budgeting.

The Maintenance

In terms of predicted future maintenance, the Spark stands out neither as being a cut above the rest or lacking. Simply put, you’ll find your future car maintenance budget to be rather average. Although you may not be able to go a whole ten years without visiting your local garage, you’re certainly not going to lose money on a purchase like this in the long run. This is what makes the Spark frugal instead of cheap.

The Packages

For those who love the Spark but hate the basic feel of the car, a variety of packages can be had, driving the final price up as high as seventeen thousand dollars. The most expensive package comes with a few more features aimed around comfort and recreation such as a satellite radio, cruise control and a variety of other standard and borderline-luxurious features. While the more expensive packages break away from the frugal nature of this car in a way that may seem somewhat counterproductive, you’ll likely still find the pricing to be fair.

The Verdict

Simply put, the Chevrolet Spark serves a practical purpose and nothing else. Through scrapping many of the more advanced – albeit unnecessary – features many of us have come to expect in a modern car, the Spark offers a driving experience which is disproportionately great to its overall price.

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It’s not going to impress friends on its exterior alone, nor will it provide you with an outstanding level of comfort. If such features are high on your list, you would do well searching elsewhere. For the frugal, the fiscally responsible and those who needn’t pay extra money for many of the features found in today’s fancier cars; however, the Spark should prove a worthy contender and is certainly worth considering. Through a low initial price, an average rate of foreseeable maintenance and a relatively low amount of gas consumption per kilometer, the Chevrolet Spark proves to be a great cost saving measure that makes no sacrifices in the realm of functionality, safety or practicality, making it great for those who merely need a way to get around town.