2014 Chevrolet Spark EV Review

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV is a new, all-electric version of the Spark hatchback. The subcompact Chevy Spark EV has four doors and seating for four. Sales of the Chevrolet Spark EV are limited to California and Oregon.

The variety of electric vehicles is mushrooming and the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV is a good example of why: The compromises required to liberate yourself from gasoline are becoming a lot easier to swallow. The battery-powered version of Chevy's subcompact Spark mixes "real car" performance and driving dynamics with a high-utility hatchback package – and all at a price that makes it relatively affordable to get into a full-fledged electric car.

Indeed, when you factor in a federal tax credit of $7,500 and additional state tax credits from California and Oregon (the only states in which the 2014 Spark EV is currently sold), the net purchase price of a new Spark EV can actually dip below $20,000.

So why not automatically buy the 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV over the conventional, gasoline-powered Spark, or other similarly priced small cars? Limited driving range is the familiar refrain, as the Spark EV is rated to deliver only 82 miles of range. This is actually more range than some other EVs offer, but if you have a long commute, the Spark EV, like most other battery-electric vehicles, probably won't fill the bill. Still, the main knock against the electric Chevy Spark is its lengthy recharging time. Even at 240 volts, it takes 7 hours to regain a full charge, and if you plug it into a 110-volt household outlet, you're looking at 20 hours.

Apart from these practical considerations, the electric Spark is in many measures a better-performing car than its gasoline counterpart. The Spark EV accelerates more quickly and effortlessly handles the pace of urban traffic. As we noted in our 2014 Chevrolet Spark EV rating, this is easily the best-driving EV in this price range.

The options for city-oriented electric vehicles are expanding, and the 2014 Spark EV is one of several models to consider if you want an EV. The Fiat 500e has less interior room and utility but has its own unique style and is quite satisfying to drive. Larger all-electric models such as the Ford Focus Electric, Honda Fit EV and Nissan Leaf provide more room for passengers, but cost more and aren't as enjoyable to drive. However, all of these cars recharge more quickly at 240 volts, which, depending on your driving habits, could make them more convenient to own than the electric Chevy Spark.

2014 Chevrolet Spark Review

The 2014 Chevrolet Spark is a small, four-door, four-passenger hatchback. The Chevy Spark is one of the smallest cars available in the U.S. and also one of the least expensive. Powering the 2014 Chevrolet Spark is a 1.2-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 84 horsepower and 83 pound-feet of torque. The Chevrolet Spark comes standard with a manual transmission and for 2014 offers an optional continuously variable transmission (CVT).

With each passing year, more and more subcompacts have been coming out for sale. These small, fuel-sipping cars are affordable and ideal for urban use. General Motors entered the game last year with its Chevrolet Spark.

Not only is the South Korean-built 2014 Chevy Spark one of the smallest cars available in the U.S., it's also one of the least expensive. Compared to Chevrolet's next-smallest car, the Sonic, the Spark is some 14 inches shorter from nose to tail. And while the Spark might look odd with its relatively big body and small wheels pushed to the corners, those qualities translate into a surprisingly roomy interior.

Inside the Spark, you'll find a simple, clean design with enough chic sculpting and color flourishes to help you overlook the hard plastic surfaces. And while the base model is somewhat spartan, it comes standard with power windows, air-conditioning and a radio. Higher trim levels offer additional electronics and conveniences, though their bigger price tags are within striking distance of larger, more desirable hatchbacks.

Based on pricing and practicality, the four-door Chevrolet Spark is one of the best subcompact cars available for 2014. The base model costs far less than either the two-door Fiat 500 or Scion iQ. The Chevy lacks the Fiat's cute-as-a-button style or the even more diminutive Scion's parking ease, however. We'd suggest looking at more traditional hatchbacks as well. They cost more, but Chevy's own Sonic, along with the Ford Fiesta, Kia Rio and Nissan Versa Note are more substantial and appealing to drive. But the 2014 Chevrolet Spark is tops at the bottom line, and it's refined enough to make you proud of your new ride.