Sixth Car Shopping Weekend - Chevy Volt and Spark
|2011 Chevy Volt|
|2013 Chevy Spark|
Today in the middle of the heat we went over to Courtesy Chevrolet, across the street from Toyota of Orlando's former location on Colonial. We needed to at least look at the Chevy Volt, and at least check it off our list. It's a good thing we did, because it isn't worth $45,000, let along half that. Talk about sticker shock...
|The surprising price tag|
|The nondescript interior|
We looked pretty closely at the interior and the exterior of the Chevy Volt on display. And we were disappointed. The materials, at best, were nondescript, the kind of materials you'd find in a low end car from just about every other manufacturer. When you put a $45,000 price tag on a car, I expect to see the materials, fit, and finish of a $45,000 car. Trying to say that the cost is tied up in the technology underpinnings won't cut it. If you can't use luxury materials you can at least design the interior creatively to give the impression of a luxury interior. The interior of the Volt looked no more different than, say, the sub-$20,000 Spark sitting a few cars down from it.
|External power port and Volt logo just forward of the driver side door|
|2011 Chevy Volt engine compartment|
|2013 Chevy Spark particulars|
|2013 Chevy Spark engine|
|2013 Chevy Spark front interior|
|2013 Chevy Spark rear seat folded flat|
|2013 Chevy Spark hatch open, rear seats up.|
One final comment about the finish of the Volt; the lower door edge on the shotgun side showed nicks and marks from what appeared to be traffic getting into and out of vehicle. I have never seen that kind of early wear on any vehicle, which was another reason to question why I would ever spend $45,000 on a Chevy Volt.
I'm glad we had an opportunity to look at the Volt, the Spark, and a bit at the Sonic. We'll keep the Spark in mind as we begin to trade the Kia Sedona in for a new vehicle. But unless a miracle occurs with the Chevy Volt, I will never look at one again nor recommend it to anyone else I know.
As for cost, the MSRP for the various versions of the Spark and Sonic place them in direct competition with the Toyota Yaris, Nissan Versa, Scion iQ, and Smart ForTwo. Just about everybody beats the ForTwo, and the iQ is questionable. The Nissan Versa looks good at first until you get closer, then it begins to suffer. The Toyota Yaris is the only car that can compete effectively with the Spark. The only problem with the Spark is its relatively low mileage in comparison with others in its class. It should be getting 38-40MPG on the highway. If the mileage were higher, or the price lower, we would be seriously considering it or its larger cousin the Sonic. I'm not saying that we'll buy it, but if you can get a good deal on the Spark, pushing the price below $15,000, then it would make a decent little city/urban runabout, either as a first time car or a second economy alternative to a larger family vehicle like a van.