The Chevrolet Spark four-door hatchback may boast a base price of just barely under $13,000, but it falls short of 40 mpg on the highway. The EPA has released fuel economy data for the subcompact, showing the 2013 Spark will get 32/38 mpg city/highway with a five-speed manual and 28/37 mpg with a four-speed automatic.
Those fuel economy numbers may not be class-leading, but the 2013 Spark’s $12,995 base price (including destination) might help some consumers overlook the official mpg numbers. If a majority of buyers go for the four-speed automatic over the five-speed manual, they’ll pay $925 for the transmission and 2 mpg in combined mileage, from 34 mpg to 32 mpg.
Potential 2013 Spark buyers not attached to the four-door hatchback body style, but looking for an ultra-low-priced new car, might also consider the 2012 Nissan Versa, which carries a base price of $11,770. If you want the CVT, the base price rises to just under $14,000. The 2012 Versa sedan gets 27/36 mpg with a five-speed manual — below the manual-transmission 2013 Spark — but the Versa sedan with the CVT is good for 30/38 mpg, and Nissan expects a 40-mpg rating for the 2013-model-year sedan.
The base 2013 Chevrolet Spark includes 15-inch alloy wheels, an auxiliary input jack, and air conditioning, as well as power windows and a 60/40 split rear seat. Other 2013 Spark trims add Bluetooth, keyless entry, cruise control, power door locks, heated leatherette front seats, and Chevy’s MyLink infotainment system.
If you’re driving out of a Chevy dealership with a $16,990 Spark, though, and fuel economy is important, we could also suggest a long list of two- and four-door hatchbacks including the Ford Fiesta and Kia Rio. The 2013 Ford Fiesta, in non-SFE trim, is EPA-rated at 29/39 mpg with the automatic and manual transmissions while the 2013 Kia Rio gets 30/40 mpg. Those ratings put the cars slightly above the 2013 Spark when comparing automatic-transmission models but, with manual transmission cars, the Spark gets better mileage in the city and slightly worse mileage on the highway.