Car Buyer Labs

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A silver 2022 Chevy Spark is shown from the front parked in front of a store.

Sparking Joy: the 2022 Chevy Spark

The Chevy Spark has been zipping around for just about a decade now. While produced with different designs and other names earlier, outside of the country, sales here in the U.S. started in 2012 for the 2013 model year. The Spark got an upgrade for 2019, including a redesigned front end and wheels, USB ports to connect to the refreshed infotainment system, and available safety features not normally seen at this price point. Admittedly, not much has changed since then. But there’s still a lot to highlight about this tiny ride; it still “Sparks Joy,” if you will, so read on to learn exactly why you might want to consider the 2022 Chevy Spark, based on the principles of professional organizer Marie Kondo’s famous “KonMari” approach to tidying up.

“Commit Yourself to Tidying Up” and “Imagine Your Ideal Lifestyle”

To even consider a 2022 Chevy Spark, you have to be willing to commit to the compact hatchback life. Nose to tail, the 2022 Chevy Spark is just a smidge over 143 inches long, or just under 12 feet. Hippos are often longer than that (and can weigh over three times as much). Every version of the 2022 Chevy Spark is front-wheel drive, and it comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission, a rarity in today’s market. You can always swap that for an automatic, continuously variable transmission if you prefer. Either way, the engine is a 1.4-liter 4-cylinder with 98 horsepower and 94 pound-feet of torque–a tiny engine for a tiny car.

While this 4-cylinder is perfectly fine for city driving, it is definitely more of a challenge when it comes to passing lanes and merging onto the highway, although you can squeeze out a bit more power with the manual transmission. And while the clipped back of the hatchback makes parallel parking a breeze, you might feel extra compact beside semi-trucks going 70 miles per hour. The Spark’s handling allows for good lateral movement–perfect for changing lines once you manage to get up to highway speed, even better for weaving through slower traffic on the surface streets.

In the driver’s seat, legroom is actually semi-comparable to larger compact SUVs at 41.7 inches. What the Spark lacks in length, it makes up in height, so you’ll find good headroom, as well. The back seats in this four-seater are definitely much more on the compact side, however. While the Spark, especially the base LS trim, is very much a budget vehicle, you’ll find the plastic materials in the interior to be of higher quality and design than in other inexpensive offerings. Likewise, the construction manages to dampen more road sounds than you might expect.

With its cramped rear seat, you’ll not be taking the Spark on any long family road trips. However, there are a serviceable 11 cubic feet of storage space in the hatch, good for a couple of carry ons or your weekly grocery trip. If you fold the rear seats down, cargo space more than doubles to 27 cubic feet. If your ideal lifestyle includes more city driving than long stretches of the open road, you’ll find the Spark easy to maneuver through traffic while holding just enough stuff for you and a friend. You even have a choice of 10 exterior colors to further make your Spark stand out on the street or in a crowded parking lot.

A woman is shown walking towards a red 2022 Chevy Spark LT near a coffee shop.

“Finish Discarding First”

Something you are not going to find discarded when it comes to the 2022 Chevy Spark? Connectivity. All Sparks feature a 7” touchscreen with Chevy’s patented Chevy Infotainment 3 system. The Chevy Infotainment 3 provides each Chevy Spark with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities so that you can access your favorite podcasts, playlists, and mapping apps through the touchscreen. Even some non-budget-friendly vehicles don’t have these features standard, but you’ll find the Spark’s infotainment system easy to use and quick to respond.

Bluetooth compatibility is also accessible through the infotainment system for linking up to two smartphones or tablets. There’s even an available WiFi hotspot connection. You can charge or link up your devices through two illuminated USB ports in the center console or a 12v power outlet in the front center stack storage bin. The top three trims come with a 3-month trial of SiriusXM satellite radio, and all models have up to a decade of Chevrolet Connected Access to easily view vehicle diagnostics.

If you’re concerned about the safety of a subcompact car, you can relax a bit knowing that the Spark has not discarded that, either. Its high-strength steel safety cage has earned it the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety’s (IIHS) top rating in front and side crash testing. Also standard are ten airbags and a rear backup camera with a clear view on that central infotainment screen. For additional safety, the Spark 2LT has an available Driver Confidence Package. This package includes automatic emergency braking, forward collision alert, and lane departure warning.

“Tidy by Category, Not Location” and “Follow the Right Order”

There are four main categories of 2022 Chevy Spark, the base LS, the 1LT, the premium 2LT, and the sporty ACTIV. As per usual, you’ll find additional features as you follow the trim order from the base LS on up to the top of the line. The base LS is definitely very basic. It even still has manual windows and manual door locks. However, with a starting price under $15,000, it could be worth rolling your own window down at the ATM if you’re looking to see more money still in your bank account on that withdrawal slip.

The 1LT introduces remote keyless entry, a remote power alarm, and silver-painted machine-finished alloy wheels, an upgrade from the steel wheels of the LS. Heated power outside mirrors are also a major upgrade here from the manual mirrors of the LS, and this model introduces steering-wheel mounted controls for the audio system, in-car phone connection, and cruise control. Speaking of the audio system, the standard from the 1LT has six speakers, up from the LS’s four. You’ll also find LED daytime running lamps. Adding a power sunroof isn’t an option on the LS, but you can add it to 1LT and 2LT.

Perks at the top of the line begin with standard keyless start. Chrome accents also make the 2LT a flashier option, from the door handles and window molding all the way around to the liftgate trim. While cloth seats are standard on the LS and 1LT, the 2LT introduces leatherette-trimmed seats, also seen in the ACTIV. On the 2LT, you’ll also find leather on the heated steering wheel, which has silver accents, echoing the exterior chrome. The Driver Information Center is even enhanced on the 2LT in comparison to the rest of the line.

The ACTIV trim of the 2022 Chevy Spark adds some SUV-esque styling to this compact hatchback. Built on a special “touring” suspension, the ACTIV sits about half an inch taller than the rest of the line – a small amount that can make a big difference in such a small car. It’s the only model in the line to feature a roof rack, and it is also set apart from the rest of the line with a sportier, smaller front grille and additional smoothness to the design of the hatchback itself. If you look really close, you’ll also notice that the wheels aren’t just painted silver, but “gunmetal silver.” The ACTIV has the same standard leatherette seats, just like the 2LT.

Besides these four main categories, there is also a Spark Special Edition. Based on the 1LT, this special edition has black emblems, a black-painted grille, and its 15” machine-finished alloy wheels are painted black. This edition even has a two-tone paint job. The roof, mirror caps, grille surrounds, and daytime running light bezels are either black or white, based on the main body color.

An orange 2022 Chevy Spark is shown from the side driving on a city street.

“Ask Yourself if it Sparks Joy”

The Spark has, indeed, sparked joy for over a decade, and it continues to lead the market, with sales growing year over year from 2017 – 2020. Once all of the numbers shake out for 2021, it should be another banner year. We already know Spark sales in the first quarter grew 23% from those in the first quarter of 2020. A total of 11,505 new Chevy Sparks hit the road from January – March last year, giving it 62% of the mainstream city car segment.

Marie Kondo teaches that each person experiences joy differently and that only you can know what environment suits you best. If for you, that environment is a subcompact hatchback, you’ll want to check out the 2022 Chevy Spark. It’s easy to maneuver through traffic, a piece of cake to park, and has all the technical connections you could ask for and convenient available safety options. Perhaps that’s your joy.