2013 Chevrolet Spark vs. 2013 Honda Fit

2013 Chevrolet Spark vs. 2013 Honda Fit

two red boxing gloves

In years past, subcompacts were a rolling social faux pas. Nobody of importance drove them, and quite honestly, sitting in a metal folding chair at the beach would’ve been more comfortable. But things have changed, and small cars are now en vogue.

Thanks mostly to the economy, fuel-sipping cars have become all the rage. Small ‘city cars’ have been injected with the Cool serum, and most of them are surprisingly well thought out. You can get seats that fold & flip, big touchscreens, and great gas mileage. All wrapped in this season’s trendiest colors. For basic transportation, modern subcompacts have become surprisingly tolerable.

 2013 Honda Fit

One of the best tiny cars on the market is the 2013 Honda Fit. It was developed by Honda, and you know how those guys overthink everything. The backseat for example, is way more than just a place to park your derriere. You can fold the 60/40 bench completely flat into the floor, revealing an impressive 57 cu-ft of cargo space (that’s CUV territory). But that’s just one function. The seat bottoms can be folded up, revealing another flat load floor. This allows you to load taller items, or partition separate cargo holds. There’s also hidden compartments in the seat bottoms, so you can stash valuables out of plain sight. And the seat backs even recline, allowing your passengers can find a comfortable position for that spontaneous road trip.

Seeking to make a well-rounded little car, engineers gave the 2013 Honda Fit a compelling suspension setup that must’ve been stolen from a skateboard. In standard trim, the little Fit handles like a store brand Mini Cooper. Add the optional Sport pack, with its rear stabilizer bar, and speed-rated 16-inch rubber, and the 2013 Honda Fit Sport turns into the Tony Hawk Special.

With just 117-hp on tap, the 2013 Honda Fit isn’t going to set any land speed records. But it weighs just 2,500 pounds, so it doesn’t need much power. The standard 5-speed manual is the best way to maximize the 1.5 liter’s tiny arsenal of power. There is an available 5-speed automatic, and ordering it on the 2013 Honda Fit Sport will get you paddle shifters. However, the autobox necessitates taller gearing, which does cut into the acceleration.

Gas mileage for the 2013 Honda Fit is 27 city / 33 hwy / 29 combined with the 5-speed manual, and 28/35/31 with the automatic. But just because it’s small and thrifty, doesn’t mean it’s unsafe. Thanks to Honda’s ingenious ACE bodyshell (in a wreck, it collapses to form a sort of safety cage around the occupants), the 2013 Honda Fit got 5 out of 5 stars in NHTSA’s crash testing, and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety gave it a ‘Good’ safety rating. That’s quite impressive for a car that’s no bigger than a, shoe.

 2013 Chevrolet Spark

Looking to capitalize on this growing market segment, Chevrolet is now importing its city car from GM’s former Daewoo plant in South Korea. The current incarnation has been on the global market since 2010, but 2013 is the first year that it’s being offered in the States.

Unlike the Honda, the 2013 Chevy Spark doesn’t have a multi-use backseat. And it doesn’t have nearly as much cargo room either. With the back bench in the upright position, the Spark offers just 11 cu-ft of ‘trunk space’. By contrast, there’s 20 cu-ft behind the Fit’s rear “Magic Seat”. If you figure out how to fold the Spark’s complicated seatbacks, you will get a flat load floor. But that reveals just 31 cu-ft of room. Hauling larger items will require the optional roof rack, and some bungee cords.

From a stylistic point of view, the 2013 Chevrolet Spark has a lot more visual impact than the utilitarian Honda Fit. The headlights nearly run the entire length of the hood, the gold Chevy Bowtie is massive, and the rear door handles are hidden the back pillar. Depending on your taste, the 2013 Chevy Spark either looks cute and sporty, or like a retarded Pokémon character. With paint names like Lemonade, Salsa, Denim, and Techno Pink, Chevrolet is clearly aiming the 2013 Chevrolet Spark at the youth market. And yes, the Techno Pink (or any other body color) is carried inside the cabin, giving the Spark a very ‘cheerful’ interior.

Under the hood, the 2013 Chevy Spark gets a giant wheel, and two hamsters named Mikey & Greg. Together, the two furry power-makers can generate 84-hp and 83 ft-lbs of torque. That’s not much power by anybody’s standards, but the fuel economy is rated at an impressive 32 city / 38 hwy / 34 combined with the 5 speed manual, and 28/37/32 with the optional 4-speed automatic.

 The Bottom Line

If you want a cheap & practical entry-level car for yourself, or your kid, both of these cars will fit the bill. But the happily-styled 2013 Chevrolet Spark would probably be better suited for a teenager, with lower practicality requirements (they’ll still have plenty of room for 4 friends and their iPods). For adults who need an economical ride that can double as a U-Haul, or a taxicab, the 2013 Honda Fit would be a better, uhm, fit.

 

 

 

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