Monday, November 14, 2016

The Chevrolet Spark ACTIV is Ready to Crossover

Chevrolet Spark ACTIV - Front

North America is in love with the crossover, or at least the idea of a crossover. Ideally, they're more rugged than a wagon, less truck-like than an SUV. And as we've seen, compact crossovers are selling like hotcakes. Small, slightly lifted hotcakes with additional plastic body cladding.

Now Chevy has decided to try something a bit different: A "trail-inspired" version of its front-wheel-drive subcompact Spark, which will be called the Spark ACTIV. The Spark already sells surprisingly well for a subcompact, so maybe a butched-up version will sell even better?

To answer your first question, yes, the Spark ACTIV stays front-wheel drive. But it actually does get a small 0.4" (10mm) lift for added ground clearance. If you're like me, the first thing you thought about was if you could shoehorn a set of all-terrain tires in the wheel wells, and if Rally Armor makes mudflaps for the Spark (FYI, the don't).

Chevrolet Spark ACTIV - Rear

In addition to the micro lift, the new package also includes wheel well and rocker panel cladding, integrated fog lamps, roof rails, and a unique grille. Also note the black 1980s throwback bumpers—a feature that could be looked at as both a positive or a negative. Regardless, some of these features may give skiers, snowboarders, kayakers, and mountain bikers a bit more piece of mind when venturing up snowy roads or down gravel trails.

Other niceties include:

  • 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Rear-vision camera system
  • Free SiriusXM radio, 4G LTE WiFi hotspot, and OnStar (for three months)
  • Heated leatherette seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • A/C, cruise control, remote keyless entry, power windows, and steering wheel audio controls
The rally-ready Spark ACTIV will go on sale in Q1 of 2017 and will retail for $16,945 for a manual transmission (#savethemanuals) and $18,045 for a CVT-equipped model. 

We have reviewed the Fiat 500L Trekking, which was very much in the same idea: Added cladding, different trim level, more outdoorsy name. Sure the 500L and Spark are both FWD platforms wearing their finest active lifestyle get-ups. But the biggest difference is the Spark sells about 10 times as many units as the 500L, which simply never caught on—faux off-road package or not. 

Personally, this could be a cool little rallycrosser. I'll take a white one with Sparco Terra wheels, some little all-terrain tires, and some mud flaps. 

Oh, hi there ...

1 comment:

Ducati Scotty said...

Could be a big hit. I think there are lots of people who love the crossover look though they never really need any off road capability. At those low prices, this looks like an attractive option on a car that's already selling very well.