By Joe Bruzek on October 24, 2012
Chevrolet's Spark microcar is pointed directly at the tech-savvy youth market with features like the slick MyLink multimedia system. Did GM pull an Apple with the name of the gear selector? There's an "I" in the shift pattern, as in the possible iGear, iShift or iMoveHereToGoForward.
Apple didn't license any shifting nomenclature in the Spark. The oddly named "I" gear position is a different abbreviation for a very common feature.
The letter signifies the Spark's Intermediate gear on the shifter; it performs the same function as the more common "2" used elsewhere. When selected, the transmission will shift into 2nd gear and hold that gear by locking out additional upshifts. Holding 2nd gear helps when the extra revs are needed for more power to climb a hill or to drive downhill using engine braking to maintain speed.
Calling the selector an Intermediate gear may be confusing because it sounds like there are only three gears: high, intermediate and low. While not true, it's not far off. The Spark's 84-horsepower engine pairs with an available four-speed automatic transmission and not a six-speed, like the Chevy Sonic and Cruze. The resulting gas mileage ratings are average at 28/37 mpg, but many of our editors were able to pull of better city numbers than the ratings suggest.
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2013 Chevrolet Spark EPA-Rated at 38 MPG
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Road Test Editor Joe Bruzek covers Cars.com’s short-and long-term fleet of test cars and drives a 1998 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am. Email Joe