Spark shows small cars have come a long way
November 18, 2017
This car is really fantastic overall, especially value-for-the-money.
Styling, interior layout
Front seats are very comfortable (back seats not-so-much due to space)
Handling (for what it is! Don't agree?--go drive an awful Versa!)
Loaded with options (for it's segment--and note, I have a 2LT)
Lane departure warning (note that's an additional option even on the 2LT)
Intuitive steering wheel controls for cruise control and audio
Flip-down driver's armrest*
Huge screen backup camera
This car would be the absolute perfect small car if (in order extremely to somewhat annoying):
The automatic (CVT) version had any power 0 to 5 mph.
It had real navigation option.**
There was an armrest on the passenger seat.
*In anything except huge trucks, I cannot stand the dinky, stationary armrest that is perched on the middle console of a car. When I scoot the seat forward to reach the pedals (I'm 5'5") the armrest is practically behind me--what good is that??? I just don't understand why armrests aren't ALWAYS on the seat so it moves with the seat. Toyota/Subaru have started doing a sliding armrest, but it doesn't move far enough, slides back if bumped, and interferes with usually the only cupholder--not good enough for me.
**The Apple CarPlay nav feature is better than nothing, but, really, it is very annoying that the phone is sorta "owned" by the car while it is connected. The bluetooth phone features don't work (the other party can't hear you very well) so it is always a plug-in, unplug, plug-in, unplug, constant dance if you need to use your phone on long trips.
Overall, I really do love this car. The non-existent power at takeoff is super annoying. If you're getting a manual this likely isn't an issue. And if you're on the fence, go for the manual. I'm going to say I would probably opt for the Sonic hatchback over the Spark at this point. When I bought in 2016, the 2017 Sonic wasn't yet available (2017 was a highly-desirable interior facelift) and I really just could not stand the "motorcycle-inspired" interior of the 2016 Sonic. The Sonic though has a multi-gear automatic transmission that doesn't experience the takeoff lag as well as a few more horsepower. And honestly the bigger trunk area behind the rear seats wouldn't bother me.
As of this writing, I've owned this car 17 months and driven it 18,000+ miles. I haven't experienced any breakdowns or failures so far. The car drives as it did the day I bought it.