With buyers shunning small cars, we can’t blame Chevrolet for trying to turn its tiniest offering, the Spark city car, into a pseudo-crossover. This new trim level, called the Spark Activ, takes the cheap and cheerful Spark and adds the requisite bits of SUV-like trim for a supposedly more “adventurous” appearance—at least to the highly suggestible.
More specifically, the 2017 Spark Activ has a 0.4-inch-higher ride height, a different grille shape with larger fog lights, black plastic over the wheel wells and on the bumpers, silver rocker-panel moldings, faux skid plates front and rear, and roof rails. It all comes off as a bit contrived, given that the Activ is still front-wheel-drive only and comes with the same 98-horsepower, 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine as all other Sparks.
If nothing else, the Spark Activ seems like a decent value, given its list of standard equipment. For $16,945 with a a five-speed manual transmission or $18,045 with a continuously variable automatic (CVT), it has cruise control, air conditioning, keyless entry, leatherette seats that are heated in front, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. The Activ is nearly as well equipped as the 2017 Spark 2LT trim for a bit less money. The Spark Activ goes on sale early next year, and remember, it’s not an unwanted subcompact, it’s a hip crossover!