Chevrolet Philippines will surely please Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who just filed a bill proposing that "fuel-inefficient" cars be banned from our roads. That's because Chevrolet has just brought into our market two even more fuel-efficient variants of the smallish Spark: the 1.0-liter manual and the 1.0-liter automatic. The mini five-door hatchback had been previously available only in 1.2-liter manual guise.
What this means is that those looking to own a competent city car now have access to an even more affordable option. According to Chevrolet Philippines marketing director Lyn Buena, the Spark's 1.0-liter LS manual variant has an introductory price of P518,888, while the 1.0-liter LS automatic goes for P568,888. The latter has the same price as the 1.2-liter LT manual Spark. The best part of the deal? The Spark comes with a five-year warranty plan.
The new Spark variants are powered by a 995cc DOHC in-line-four gasoline engine that produces a maximum output of 67hp at 6,400rpm, said to be enough to push the car from rest to 100kph in 15.5 seconds and to a top speed of 154kph. Its fuel economy? Miriam will jump for joy: The 1.0-liter Spark reportedly yields 22 kilometers to the liter, says Chevrolet Philippines.
The one thing going for the Spark is that even if it's technically a "budget" car, it doesn't look nor feel like one. In fact, the cheaper 1.0-liter variants also come standard with the same safety and security equipment found on the 1.2-liter variant, including a driver-side airbag, central door locking, anti-theft system and electronic immobilizer. That's on top of a thoughtfully designed cabin that won't look out of place in cars belonging to a higher class. With a versatile 60:40-split rear seat, the diminutive Spark can even accommodate five adults--as long as those adults aren't named Dinzo or Botchi.
We've driven the 1.2-liter Spark and can honestly say it's a hoot to drive. It's not difficult to imagine that the new 1.0-liter version will be just as fun. Watch for our test-drive report in the magazine.