In the way it turns and rides, the Chevrolet Spark feels distinctly old-fashioned. For starters, the steering is hydraulic – unusual for a new city car. While this denies the Spark the economical benefits of an electric set-up, it does give a more natural feel and weight to the steering.
The Spark also turns with more body roll than we’ve come to expect of small cars, and even the top-spec LT version goes without standard traction control and ESP. It is possible to add these as options, though.
Turn for a corner and there is a noticeable process of the car settling on its springs, which can give the impression that the Spark has less grip and agility than it actually does. Instead, you need to live with the roll rate and trust that the front end will bite, which to a point it will. However, that point is not so high as to be impossible to exceed on the road, after which the Spark displays further retro traits.
As a result, the process of driving the Spark is more involving than in some rivals, which in a way is not without its appeal. Especially when, as a consequence of the soft set-up, the Spark rides relatively well.
In town and at low speeds it deals with even quite severe potholes comfortably. But there isn’t a great deal of sophistication to the suspension, meaning it copes less well with more challenging compound bumps or expansion joints taken at speed.
In other respects the Spark makes for a good, if basic, city car with manageable weight to the steering and a turning circle of less than 10 metres. It is also not entirely out of its depth on the motorway, where it displays enough straight-line stability to provide confidence.