Urban driving is a unique challenge many people face each and every day. Whether you are driving into the city or happen to live right where the action is, navigating the smaller, jam-packed streets of a typical large city environment is tricky. It is a challenge that some vehicles just aren’t equipped to handle without major issue. For anyone wanting the best urban daily commuter, they need the right vehicle that can handle the traffic, tight spaces, and general frustration that comes with living in the city. What makes the best city vehicle? You have to think small. While you do not have to start looking at the latest smart cars or mini coupes, a smaller vehicle will have the maneuverability required to navigate the tricky twists and turns of urban driving. Best of all, “something small” does not have to be cramped or compact either. The most important quality of a small vehicle is a short wheelbase. The closer the wheels are to each other, the more turning capability the vehicle will have. The combination of good passenger and cargo space mixed with a smaller, more efficient frame can be tricky to find with many manufacturers that prefer the larger trucks and SUVs. Chevy, however, has a large enough model lineup to be able to offer something for everyone, including the people needing a better city vehicle. If you find yourself in this camp and want to stick with the Chevy brand, one of the best options is the 2018 Chevy Spark.
Why Small Matters
Think about the typical challenges that come with driving in a true city environment. In large cities such as New York City and San Francisco, space is at a premium. More and more people come together to try to occupy the same space. Traffic builds up, roads become smaller, and tensions/frustrations start to increase over time. This has been the common trend many medium-to-large cities have experienced in the past few decades. Even average-sized towns and cities numbering between 20,000 to 100,000 are struggling to keep up with the population growth.
Car manufacturers are only now realizing the importance of making vehicles that are designed to thrive in these environments. Anyone who regularly drives on crowded roads knows that most vehicles do not offer the best fuel economy for stop-and-go traffic or the size to navigate more challenging turns. If you want to get from point A to point B without having to get yourself unstuck from urban obstacles, the size of the vehicle is important.
A smaller wheelbase translates into a tighter turning radius. Combined with a narrower front profile, a vehicle with the right wheel spacing can give you a better turning ability without making many sacrifices in terms of interior space. While it may seem counterintuitive to think you can have plenty of passenger/cargo room and a smaller turning radius, vehicles like the Chevy Spark actually manage to deliver more with smarter design choices.
The key to the Spark design is a boxier profile that is well suited for urban driving. Since aerodynamics play less of an important role at slower city speeds, the Spark uses more angles and height to increase the interior space in its two-door frame. Passengers can enjoy more room inside without having to feel like they are driving a full-size SUV just to stretch out a little during the daily commute.
There are a large number of people who would enjoy the feel and experience of driving a high-powered sports car down the main streets of their city. The feel of 350+ horsepower at your fingertips is certainly something that you would remember. Unfortunately, a fuel-thirsty, high-powered engine just is not a realistic option for most people. More importantly, the city environment where traffic routinely stops and starts doesn’t allow such an engine to perform at peak levels. Instead, you are likely to waste more gas with even common family sedan engine options.
A car meant for urban environments has to balance the needs of adequate speed and horsepower with better fuel efficiency and smart design. The truth is you do not need a lot of power to make it around the city in an efficient manner. When speeds are limited to 25 to 45 miles per hour, horsepower and torque become less important. Instead, fuel efficiency is the most important thing to consider when finding that perfect city vehicle.
The engine of the Spark, for example, is right at home in most city environments. On paper, the engine is nothing special. Coming in with four cylinders coupled with a five-speed manual continuously variable transmission, the engine offers a meager 98 horsepower under the hood. Combined with the small frame of the Spark, however, these specifications are plenty to get the daily commute done each day. Considering you will get around 30 city/38 highway miles per gallon in fuel efficiency, it is hard to say that the Spark is not friendly on the wallet at the gas station.
A Lower Price
One final important, often ignored, aspect about a true city vehicle is its price. City living is expensive enough to manage without having additional money going to a hefty car payment each and every month. While it is important to have a car that fits within your budget, whatever that may be, having a more affordable car has many long-term benefits.
The Spark, coming in at $13,050 at the base price, makes it clear that you do not have to spend a fortune to have many of the advanced and luxury features larger vehicles often include. Whether the features are standard or optional, it is possible to enjoy the more luxurious driving experience people often assume is only obtainable at a higher price point. Better safety features, an advanced infotainment system, and comfortable touches/accents are just some of the things you can expect with the Spark trim lines.
In the end, the right city vehicle needs to give the most comfort, control, and performance that city driving requires. When it comes to Chevy, the 2018 Spark is hard to beat.