It’s no secret that highway driving needs a stellar vehicle. Not only to put your mind at ease, but also for reliability and affordability.
Small compact cars like the Chevy Spark are popular for highway driving. They have been around for quite some time and are often chosen for their fuel-saving capabilities.
The question is, is the Chevy Spark a good car for highway driving?
In this article, we’ll take a look at how the Spark performs to determine if it would be good enough for highway driving.
Are Chevy Sparks Safe on the Highway?
Driving on the highway can be daunting enough in any car. The Chevy Spark makes it that much safer to drive on the highway.
This has a lot to do with improved safety measures and technologies installed by Chevy in the Spark. The company has always been a big player in upholding safety and comfort standards in the industry.
The Spark comes with some standard safety features you’d enjoy in a modern car. These include basic collision avoidance technology such as automatic brake assist and airbags, amongst others.
Safety is a big issue in your daily driving or highway driving. This is why modern technologies that assist drivers are godsent.
Manufacturers who are focussing on the compact and city car segment usually can’t include every new technology. This makes small city cars very affordable and often the go-to option for highway safety.
Chevrolet has made real progress on safety scores for the 2022 Chevy Spark. It wasn’t always the case for earlier models.
The 2019 and earlier Chevy Sparks were quite wobbly for highway driving. They also received average safety crash scores.
Test data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) suggests that the Spark is a safe city car. Whilst that may be the case, the scores are rather average for highway driving.
With that said, the later models of the Spark, such as the 2021 and 2021 models, have competitive safety features. These now include rearview cameras, side and passenger airbags, and improved stability and control technologies.
For the 2022 Spark model, the J.D. Power 100-Point Score gave this Chevy a good rating. This means the Spark has up-to-date safety features and would fare well in a car crash.
How Fast Can You Comfortably Go in Chevy Sparks?
The Chevy Spark is an ideal compact car for most city and highway driving. It can help you reach highway speeds quickly whilst keeping you safe.
With its 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, the Spark can get you on the highway as fast as other cars in the same segment. It sports a continuously variable transmission for smooth gear changes.
Highway speeds often require a quick response from the engine, especially when overtaking. The previous models of the Spark were known to be rather slow when overtaking on the highway.
Later models like the 2021 Chevy Spark, the performance was improved upon regarding the engine and acceleration. A CVT transmission relays power efficiently whilst smoothing out engine noise.
At highway speeds, the Spark fared slightly better than its competitors like the Kia Rio and the Hyundai Accent. The steering was smoother in the 2022 Spark and the road was less bumpy.
When it comes to small compact city cars, road noise is a big concern. A bumpy ride makes for an uncomfortable ride, which then deters potential buyers.
Common complaints from owners of the Spark were that the car was rather bumpy, and the suspension felt a bit rigid. The most common culprit is wheel alignment and bad suspension.
The small tires on most small city cars like the Spark are almost always a bit unstable. Tire maintenance should be taken seriously every time you visit the mechanic.
A bumpy ride is usually felt during a hump, potholes, or driving on an uneven road surface. A visit to the mechanic or a dealership should be able to diagnose the issue and take steps to fix it.
Even though it won’t be the fastest car on the highway, the Chevy Spark will perform pretty well for city driving. Comfort and a smooth ride will be great for highway driving.
How Noisy Are Chevy Sparks At Highway Speed?
The Spark features a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine on most of its trim levels. This engine has been known to be rather noisy in other competitor brands.
Small compact city cars can be noisy at highway speeds when the car is under stress. When overtaking another vehicle, for example, small cars can be noisy.
Car noise usually seeps through the vehicle’s interior and can be heard by passengers. This is the noise generated by the tires and also the noise coming from the engine.
Generally, if the vehicle has better handling capabilities, the vehicle noise will be lower. In smaller cars, the handling can be subpar.
Manufacturers like Chevrolet, Kia, and Hyundai all have models in the small car segment. These are usually much cheaper than larger models and therefore tend to have average features.
The engine noise in a Spark should be less noisy due to the insulation around the engine hood door. This additional insulation layer is also seen in the passenger door panels, which also helps with wind noise.
Other strange noises such as rattling and cranking should point to something else wrong with the vehicle’s components. Suspension and the braking system will usually produce strange noises which aren’t normal for the car.
If you suspect that noises coming from a Chevy Spark are unusual, an inspection should be scheduled. The mechanic or dealership will diagnose the issue and track where the noise is coming from.
Spark models from 2015 to 2018 were known to have faulty mufflers, which resulted in a noisy engine even when idling. The faulty muffler must be replaced immediately because it compromises the entire exhaust system on the Chevy Spark.
Diagnosing the exhaust system of a Spark can cost about $50 for labor and close to $95 for parts. A registered mechanic or the dealership will be able to diagnose and fix the issue.
Is Driving a Chevy Spark Hard?
Chevy Sparks are relatively easy to drive compared to other cars like SUVs and sedans. This is due to the Spark’s small compact size and road dynamics, such as great handling.
A small city car is preferred by city drivers because of the compact size. Not only is it easy to drive, but it’s also convenient in parking spaces.
Another aspect that makes a car easy or hard to drive is the type of transmission it uses. A manual transmission car is harder to learn compared to an automatic transmission car.
The Spark uses a continuously variable transmission (CVT) to control the gearbox and drive the front wheels. The most common benefits of a CVT gearbox are efficiency and improved fuel economy.
Manual gearboxes are known to be less efficient when it comes to CO2 emissions. The CVT gearbox and other automatics have better emission scores and also save on fuel costs.
The size of the Spark also gives it an advantage when it comes to city driving and parking. The 2021 Chevy Spark features a wheelbase of 2385 mm and a length of about 3635 mm.
With such a small wheelbase, it means the Spark has rather limited interior space. Whilst the front passengers are sufficient, the rear seats are still a bit limited, especially for tall adults.
The small wheelbase aids in slow-moving traffic and maneuvering through city roads quickly. Steering is also well-designed with smooth turning motions and feels good in the driver’s hands.
Because the Spark is a really small city car, tall adults that are used to bigger space in the seats might find it hard to drive. A small trip with the Spark should be enough to get used to the small stature of the car.
Small city cars are inexpensive and most times costs are cut when it comes to the interior. The upholstery is of low quality and so is the dash area.
Plastic and cloth material in the Chevy Spark makes it feel of less quality. These will not deter those looking for a small car to quickly zip around town with.
How Stable Are Chevy Sparks on a Highway?
Vehicle handling and stability are big buying factors when it comes to highway driving. A Chevy Spark ticks all the right boxes when it comes to stability on the highway.
Even with its shorter wheelbase and small engine, the Spark gets pretty good reliability and handling scores. It turns around corners quickly and has a small turning radius due to the size of the car and the wheelbase.
The Spark is not particularly great for highway driving and long road trips. This is mostly due to its size and limited seat space.
On the 2021 model, the Spark received an improved suspension and a better braking system. As a result, stopping power and improved cushion on the road was much better than in previous models.
When you’ve got tall adults in the passenger seats, the Spark makes for an uncomfortable ride because of the limited headroom. Speed bumps and driving on uneven roads can become quite uncomfortable in this small compact city car.
Another big factor affecting stability on the highway is the limited acceleration at highway speeds when overtaking. Overtaking is slower and therefore the engine makes a noise when speed is abruptly increased.
This small engine takes the Spark from 0 to 60 in just around 11 seconds. Such a slow speed is not great for overtaking other vehicles on the highway.
The acceleration noise is quite unnerving because it sounds like the car is under a lot of strain. For those that are not used to small car behavior, the noise might sound like there’s something wrong with the engine.
For front seat driving and passenger seat, the noise and stability are much better. In the 2022 Spark model, there is improved headroom and legroom for tall adults.
Compared to other small cars in the segment, the Spark only has four seats. This makes it smaller in the rear, which is not a huge surprise because of the purchase price of the Chevrolet Spark.
How Many Miles Can You Get in a Chevy Spark?
Chevrolet has been around for a while in the motor industry, and this is evident in the Chevy Spark. You can comfortably get up to between 150,000 to 200,000 miles in a Chevy Spark.
It’s no secret that a car that’s well looked after will last much longer. A well-maintained Spark can go up to 200,000 miles on the road, which is quite good for a vehicle in this segment.
Chevrolet has made long-lasting cars that can survive harsh conditions whilst still operating as intended. This is apparent in the Spark even though it is a relatively inexpensive car.
As for reliability when planning a long road trip, the Spark offers minimal results.
A cross-country trip in a Spark will be slow and not reliable enough to put your mind at ease. This is also the case when it comes to other small cars in the segment.
If we put it to the test, there are owners who have gotten the Spark up to 10 years on the road. This is, of course, with great maintenance and care for the vehicle.
Regular maintenance is a huge factor when it comes to the Spark’s longevity. Newer models come with a 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.
The warranty on the powertrain is a show of confidence from Chevrolet and it is also a huge buying factor.
Competitors like the Toyota Yaris and Kia Rio get better mileage scores than the Chevy Spark. These models can get up to around 300,000 miles with good maintenance.
Proper maintenance on the Spark means regular oil and fluid changes, tire maintenance, and replacing filters.
Because of its great reliability scores, the Spark has an annual repair cost of about $450. This is way cheaper than competitors in the same segment.
Chevrolet has designed the Spark to have improved fuel efficiency too. The 2021 Chevy Spark gets an average of 30mpg for city driving and about 38mpg for highway driving.
When the Chevy is paired with a manual transmission, the EPA estimated goes down to 29mpg for city driving. The CVT and manual transmissions both have the same EPA rating for highway driving.
These fuel efficiency ratings aren’t great compared to other brands in the segment. For a small city car like the Spark, the fuel efficiency should be sufficient for a daily driver.
Fortunately for the Chevy Spark, there aren’t any major issues that the car faces other than recalls in the earlier models. It means that the Spark will last as long as the owner takes really good care of it.