CHEVROLET Matiz / Spark
Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
If there would be a contest for the best pizza-delivery car, the Spark could take the crown thanks to its low purchase price combined with great fuel efficiency.
GM kept the old platform from Daewoo and used it over and over again for the Spark. Chevrolet introduced the fourth generation of the small vehicle in 2015 and, three years later, it received a mid-cycle refresh that brought new interior features and improved exterior styling.
GM design department didn’t have to go too far in improving the Spark. The grille was changed with a more prominent “mouth” in the lower bumper area and featured a chromed surrounding for both. An LED daytime running light system was enclosed in the headlights. In the rear, the taillights remained virtually unchanged.
Inside, Chevrolet introduced a standard infotainment system that supported Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus access to MyChevrolet mobile app. Its 7” touch-screen sat on top of the center stack. GM granted the U.S. customers a limited trial for the OnStar system. The dashboard didn’t look like a budget-car one. Its instrument cluster featured a center-mounted speedometer with a tachometer on the left and an LCD on the right. At the far left, a small digital line showed the fuel level. If the steering wheel buttons were something special in the ’90s, the 2018 Spark had them fitted as standard.
In the U.S. It is offered with a 1.4-liter gasoline engine, with a claimed fuel consumption of 3.9 l/100 km (40 mpg.). It came standard with a 5-speed manual transmission, and a CVT was available as an option.
After the struggled Daewoo Motor Corporation was taken over by the GM, its products were taken over and some of them were sequels.
It is the same situation with the Spark, which reached the fourth generation in 2016. It continues the legacy from Daewoo Matiz, which was badged as Daewoo Spark and became the Chevrolet Spark. The platform was taken over and carried for the mass-market and, in 2016 the fourth generation of the Spark showed up at the 2015 New York Auto Show.
The new platform used for the Spark was also used for the Opel Karl in Europe, and it had the same engines. In the U.S. It is offered with a 1.4-liter gasoline engine, with a claimed fuel consumption of 3.9 l/100 km (40 mpg.). It came standard with a 5-speed manual transmission but a CVT was available as an option.
The biggest improvements are on the safety equipment, that includes Side Blind Spot Alert, Lane Departure Warning and Forward Collision Alert. Inside the vehicle, a new infotainment unit with a 7” touch-screen display is mounted on the dashboard. The instrument cluster has a dot-matrix LCD display. After all, it is a small city car, which can roam around and do the shopping list for a week with a dime for the fuel.
Following the acquisition of the Daewoo brand, General Motors decided to keep on building the vehicles that made the Korean brand successful on the European market and the Matiz was the first option.
The Daewoo Matiz was built in 1998 by Daewoo in Europe after a design signed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. Its low price and the decent interior were highly appreciated and the car was received well by the growing countries in Eastern Europe. The car was constantly updated by Daewoo until the Korean car-maker was bought by General Motors. The new owner launched an updated version of the Matiz, named Spark. The second generation of the Spark was introduced in 2009 with a new look based on a new platform.
The design was bold for the small-segment. It featured enlarged fenders over the wheels, creating an image of a larger car. The big headlights and the high greenhouse created a crossover image. It was larger than its predecessor and offered a much roomier interior.
Inside, the most attractive part was the instrument panel, which featured a motorcycle-like layout with a round speedometer and an LCD attached on the right, on a pod. The curved dashboard amplified the roomy feeling. There was enough room for five adults, but in the rear the shoulder room was limited.
Under the hood, there was a choice of three engines, depending on the market. The standard gearbox was a 5-speed manual, but a 4-speed automatic was available for the 1.2-liter gasoline unit.
Produced by GM Daewoo of South Korea, the Matiz / Spark is a city car marketed as a five-door hatch in most parts of the world under different names and badges belonging to the GM auto group.The M200 model was previewed by the Chevrolet M3X concept car shown at 2004 Paris Motor Show. The car is equipped with either a 0.8-liter 3-cylinder or 1.0-liter 4-cylinder petrol engine. Designed for urban use, the Chevrolet Matiz / Spark is a very small and practical car, measuring only 137.6 in. in length and 58.8 in. in width without exterior mirrors. An interesting feature of the Spark is the centrally positioned instrument cluster.
After GM bought the Daewoo remains, the carmaker found a few vehicles in the Korean shed, which looked promising for several markets.
One of them was the Matiz.
Giugiaro designed the supermini vehicle for Fiat as a successor for the Cinquecento (500), but the Italian carmaker rejected the project. Daewoo bought it happily since it was far better than what the young Korean carmaker could do in its design studio. The car sold well on several markets worldwide, but it was not enough to save the troublesome Korean brand, which eventually fell into GM’s hands. The American car company analyzed the vehicle and kept it on the market after a mild facelift for the 2000 model year. In the countries where the Daewoo brand was better known, GM kept the older vehicle name, while on other markets, it used the Chevrolet Spark instead.
The egg-shaped vehicle received a modified front fascia, with round turn signals placed under the headlights toward the car’s center. Its bumper featured a new black rubber mid-section, depending on the trim level. But GM’s designers didn’t bother to increase the manufacturing costs and left the door handles and mirrors black, unpainted.
Inside it was the same cheap-looking interior with a hard-plastic dashboard. The three-dial instrument panel showed only the speed, the fuel level, and the coolant-temperature gauges. Thanks to its high roof, the carmaker installed high-mounted seats, which led to adequate legroom for the rear passengers. Behind the seats, the Matiz/Spark offered a 167 liters (5.9 cu-ft) trunk, expandable by folding the rear bench to 624 liters (22 cu-ft) at the window line.
Under the hood, GM sold the car with either a three-cylinder 0.8-liter or a 1.0-liter engine paired with a five-speed manual transmission.