Chevy Spark Misses 40 MPG Rating

It’s not a hybrid, but there will be an all-electric version, and given its diminutive A-segment size, some had speculated prior to government testing that the 2013 Chevy Spark due out this summer might return north of 40 mpg on the highway.

Unfortunately, that has not happened, as this week U.S. EPA testing for the 2,200-pound, 1.2-liter Ecotec-engined city car returned 32 mpg city and 38 mpg highway for the manual transmission model, and 28 mpg city and 37 mpg highway for the four-speed automatic transmission. Not bad, considering the first-generation Prius returned low 40s, but not awesome in today’s market.

The smallest Chevrolet to be sold in North America will start at $12,995 including shipping for the manual transmission model and will also come in trim levels for $14,995 and $15,795, with automatic transmission being $925 additional to any tier.

Its opening price will undercut the similarly efficient $13,249 SmartForTwo, as well as the $16,200 Fiat 500, but its fuel economy will not exceed potential mileage offered by larger Chevrolets the company is also offering to combat rising gas prices.

Time will tell how sales go compared to the next-size up 1.4-liter, manual transmission-equipped Chevy Sonic sedan and hatch models which both do achieve 40 mpg on the highway. Those cars as well as the 42 mpg highway Cruze Eco sedan with 1.4-liter and manual transmission start in the low $18,000 range.


  • dutchinchicago

    I must be missing something here. Being a happy Chevy Volt owner I know that Chevy is a competent car manufacturer but how is it possible that a decade after Toyota came out with a 40+MPG car they can not do it today in what looks to be a much smaller car?

    Is it the price point?

  • Van

    Yes Dutch I think you nailed it. The Prius C costs about $20,000 whereas the Spark comes in at about $15,000.

  • Modern Marvel Fan

    It is NOT bad for a such cheap NON-hybrid. But I imagine GM could have done better with a slightly more advanced engine in that little econ box.

  • Van

    I think the Nissan Versa is bigger, better, cheaper, and gets better gas mileage with an automatic. Looks like just another spark on the fire burning down General Motors.

  • annalisa bluhm

    I’m Annalisa with Chevrolet – Here’s the deal: Small does not equal better fuel economy. It’s all about mass and aerodynamic efficiency. A car like the Spark, Fiat 500 and IQ are tall and short which are not ideal for reducing drag. The Cruze and Volt are great examples of cars designed for aero efficiency.

    As you can see, all cars in that segment get below 40 MPG. We wanted to keep the price low which is why we didn’t put a hybrid or more advanced engine in the car. The EV version, however, is a great ride – I’ve driven it and I hope you guys will consider it when it comes to market next year.

  • Trent

    Bigger? Possibly. Better? Matter of opinion. Cheaper? Just look up the price and you’ll see that they are neck in neck in price (Spark even coming out cheaper in some markets). Better gas mileage? Do your research…The Versa gets 24/32 in the automatic model where as the Spark gets 28/37. Sounds like another GM “hater” wanting to talk trash about American cars. I’m not saying the Spark is going to be a great seller but before you start throwing out claims of something being better than the other you might want to check your facts first.

  • MikeA

    I agree with Trent, here. I’m disappointed the Spark didn’t achieve a higher EPA rating, but the American version weighs some 300lbs more than the European counterpart, which makes a difference. Remember, though, it’s designed as a city car, and it’s city rating of 32mpg for the manual is better than Sonic, Cruze, Hyundai Accent, etc. (sidenote: consumers keep complaining their Accents and Rios don’t actually achieve 40mpg in the real world, so there’s another topic.) The Spark 4-speed automatic is subpar, though, but I think either Americans just need to stop being lazy and learn to drive a stick or be willing to pay more for a 5 or 6 speed automatic that performs better. The Spark reportedly handles superior to that Nissan Versa mentioned above and comes with more and better standard features. It also excels is at being a marvel of space efficiency. Its’ prowess at finding parking spaces to fit into is also a high point.