“TIMES are tight and decent budget cars that sit beneath the R110 000 mark are few and far between. And, while their pricing seems to be on an upward curve, the fuel price is following suit, so it’s fair to say that there’s a highly competitive – and potentially lucrative – market for wallet-friendly compact cars. Chevrolet has now stepped into the fray with a locally produced entry level offering in the shape of the Spark 1,2 Campus. Light on extras but heavy on safety spec, could this be the smartest choice for the budget-minded?
Despite its price positioning, the Spark doesn’t look low-rent. That wedge-shaped profile and bold nose have not been sullied by low-rent trim, with colour-coded door handles and bumpers lending the car a more upmarket appearance than its price would suggest. The only let down is a dour set of 14-inch steel wheels. Inside, the car’s budget bearing is more evident in the swathes of monochromatic grey plastics adorning the facia and door panels. Although the plastics are hard, the general fit and finish are good. The cabin ambience is lifted somewhat by the swooping, dual cockpit design, swirly graphics on the cloth-covered seat panels and blue mood lighting under the facia, and especially by that rather funky motorcycle-style instrument pod.
The driving position is almost ideal, but some testers commented that tilt adjustment for the steering wheel would have been welcome. Interior space is impressive and a brace of six-footers can be humanely accommodated behind front occupants of similar stature.”