10 Best & Worst Chevrolet Spark Years (Pictures & Stats)

The Chevy Spark is a subcompact car that was introduced in 2013 and was sadly after the 2022 model. 

Its one of the most affordable cars on the market and this doesn’t come at the expense of quality either.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at all of the best and worst model years of the Spark.

2021 Chevrolet Spark

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Chevrolet Spark Are:

The best Chevrolet Spark model years are 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018. The worst model years of the Spark are 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Chevrolet Spark?

2022 Chevrolet Spark

The 2022 Spark is the final model ever produced. Once hailed as the most affordable new car on sale in the United States, it is beloved by many new drivers and small car enthusiasts.

For its price, it offers an impressive number of features, optional premium tech, amazing fuel economy, and fantastic agility and maneuverability.

Prospective buyers can choose from 4 trim levels: LS, 1LT, Activ, and 2 LT.

Pricing ranges from approximately $15,000 to $18,000 (when purchased brand new).

Each variant is powered by a humble 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine (98 horsepower) and is paired to either a 5-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The most popular trim is the most affordable one – the LS trim.

It comes with 15-inch steel wheels, automatic headlights, a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility.

The top-of-the-line 2LT trim provides owners with keyless entry and ignition, chrome door handles and trim, and simulated leather seating surfaces.

Most importantly, particularly for fresh drivers, this high-end version comes with rear parking sensors that come in handy when backing up into a tight parking spot.

  • Edmunds: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 76 / 100

2022 Spark, Edmunds review:

“The Spark is exactly what it is intended to be – an urban run-about! I find it to be attractive in looks and efficient to drive. The visibility is great and I have no complaints. It is a small car and that is what I expected.”

2021 and 2020 Chevrolet Spark

Apart from the difference in model year, the 2021 and 2020 Spark models are essentially the same.

Both subcompact cars are extremely affordable, highly fuel efficient, and very easy to park – even in tight spaces.

Like the previously discussed model year, the 2021 and 2020 Sparks come in 4 trims: LS, 1LT, Activ, and 2LT.

According to EPA estimates, fuel economy is 33 MPG for combined driving, 29 MPG for city driving, and a whopping 38 MPG for highway driving.

These fuel ratings are thanks to a sufficiently-powered 1.4-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine (98 horsepower) that is mated to either a 5-speed manual transmission or a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

Noteworthy safety and driver assistance features include the Forward Collision Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and Rear Park Assist.

Based on owner feedback, these are the highlights of both models: driving experience, value, fuel efficiency, visibility, safety, appearance, reliability, and manufacturing quality.

Of all the available trim models, the Activ trim is a great choice.

It provides a slight increase in ground clearance (compared to other trims), special 15-inch wheels, raised suspension, and a roof rail.

These features are geared toward owners who like to go out on adventures and road trips. 

2021 Spark:

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 77 / 100

2020 Spark:

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 78 / 100

2020 Spark, Edmunds review:

“I was T-boned on the driver’s side and the emergency crew had to take door off to get to me. However, I only sustained minor injuries due to the side airbags! For a small car, it has a lot to offer!”

2020 Chevrolet Spark

2019 Chevrolet Spark

The 2019 Spark is a second-gen model that is packed with great features and is available with premium tech too.

It has excellent fuel economy ratings, sufficient engine power, and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration.

New to this particular model year is revised front-end styling and an updated touchscreen infotainment system with new USB ports.

Like the previously discussed model years, the 2019 Spark has 4 trims to pick from: LS, 1LT, Activ, and 2LT.

The most popular trim among the four is the entry-level LS trim for its value and attainable price point.

According to owners, other highlights of this subcompact car include: interior, driving experience, comfort, and technology.

Spaciousness was an issue reported by some owners but this is to be somewhat expected.

Despite its stature, it is still great on the road, powered by a 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine that produces 98 horsepower.

If it were up to us, we would suggest going with the 1LT, which is the next step up from the entry-level LS trim.

The 1LT includes alloy wheels, power operation (windows, mirrors, door locks), cruise control, remote keyless entry, foglights, and a 6-speaker audio system. 

  • Edmunds: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 77 / 100

2019 Spark, Edmunds review:

“I have always driven mid size or larger vehicles. After driving a Fiat while my truck was in the shop I fell in love with the small car! After much research I chose the Spark. It is an excellent car for the money! I have an 80 mile commute to work 4 days a week. “Tiny” handles great on wet roads, plenty of room for me, she has 10 air bags so I feel as comfortable in it as I did my Lacrosse. The backup camera is much sharper than in my 2016 Ram. Gas mileage is great! I was accustomed to spending 60.00 per week plus in the Ram. Now I spend 18.00-20.00. The only thing that I would change is the placement of the cup holders and cruise control.”

2018 Chevrolet Spark

The 2018 Spark is the oldest model year on this list but is considered to be one of the more reliable and trustworthy models in the lineup.

Its general appeal is toward the practical and budget-conscious market.

This does not only apply to the price tag. The general maintenance cost and fuel consumption make this subcompact car an even better value pick.

EPA estimates place combined driving at 33 MPG, city driving at 29 MPG, and highway driving at an outstanding 39 MPG.

Speaking of trims, there are 4 to choose from: LS, 1 LT, Activ, and 2LT.

As for the transmission, owners can choose between a 5-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission (CVT).

On the engine front, however, each model comes with the same engine – a 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine (98 horsepower). 

Notable safety features are as follows: Rear Park Assist, Lane Departure Warning, and Forward Collision Alert.

Owners can also choose from up to 9 exterior body paint options.

  • Edmunds: 3.9 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.2 / 5.0
  • JD Power: NA

2018 Spark, Edmunds review:

“Given the immense supply in North American dealerships these cars should be a steal. After one year of ownership I’ve had zero problems reliability-wise. The front seats are good and can fit two big dudes no problem provided you stagger the seatbacks a little. Android Auto is fantastic. The CVT isn’t. If you can drive manual or want to learn this would be a great car to do so, especially with the hill holder feature – the CVT is angry, doesn’t like to rev, and will leave you motionless from a stop on steep hills unless you throw it into L. Don’t be afraid to use the L mode on hills, up or down. Otherwise this car is very easy to park, good on gas, and painless to drive in traffic. It’s actually kind of fun to throw into curves too. Just know that if you have tall people in the front seats no one is going to be sitting behind them…”

2018 Chevrolet Spark

Consumer Scores For Best Chevrolet Spark Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2022 Chevrolet Spark4.5 / 5.04.2 / 5.076 / 100
2021 Chevrolet Spark4.4 / 5.04.2 / 5.077 / 100
2020 Chevrolet Spark4.6 / 5.04.2 / 5.078 / 100
2019 Chevrolet Spark4.7 / 5.04.2 / 5.077 / 100
2018 Chevrolet Spark3.9 / 5.04.2 / 5.0NA

Related: How Long Do Chevrolet Sparks Last? (12 Important Facts)

What Are The Worst Years For The Chevrolet Spark?

2013 and 2014 Chevrolet Spark

According to auto industry data, the 2013 and 2014 Spark models are the most problematic model years ever produced. They were also the first Spark models produced and its best to steer clear of these.

Both models suffered problems in various areas, including equipment, electrical system, and transmission.

The most prominently reported issue, however, is engine-related.

Owners complained about abnormally slow speed and acceleration, occasional vehicle stalling, and ignition failure.

These issues were accompanied by air conditioning problems and transmission issues such as hesitation, vehicle jerking and vibration.

Here is what one 2014 Spark owner experienced below:

“Car will start to jerk when accelerating and lose power and not shift. Engine light flashes and sometimes traction control light stays on as well during this. If you shut off the engine, wait for a few minutes then start it’s ok. Happens whenever. Just happened yesterday and today.”

Here is a report about the experience of a 2013 Spark owner:

“The contact owns a 2013 Chevrolet Spark. The contact stated that there was a loud noise coming from the engine. The vehicle was slow to start and hesitated upon changing gears. In addition, the contact stated that the ventilation controls failed to activate the heating and air conditioning system. The vehicle was taken to a dealer over five times and the failures were unable to be replicated. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 4,000.”

  • The 2013 Spark had a total of 229 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 117 complaints at CarComplaints.com.
  • The 2014 Spark had a total of 228 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 82 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Engined died
  • No acceleration
  • Transmission failure
  • Slipping
  • Hesitates when accelerating from a stop

2015 Chevrolet Spark

The 2015 Chevy was far less problematic than its predecessors however it still racked up many more complaints than its successors.

This car had a notoriously problematic transmission.

A lot of owners experienced RPM spikes/surging, rough shifting, and intermittent loss of power and control.

In many instances owners required a new transmission, with failure occurring at around the 100,000-mile mark.

Here is what the owners had to say:

“The contact owns a 2015 Chevrolet Spark. The contact stated while driving at various speeds, the vehicle would intermittently jerk without warning while shifting gears. The contact took the vehicle back to the same dealer where they were able to duplicate the failure and informed him that the transmission needed to be replaced.”

“My car has been squealing and lurching at speeds over 30mph for about a week and today the transmission lost power on the highway.”

“Whenever I stop at a light and try to move off when the light turn green, I would press the accelerator and the car would not respond for about 3 to 4 mins. Something is wrong with the cvt transmission. This could cause accident on the road.”

The 2015 Spark had a total of 65 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 22 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Air conditioning not working properly
  • Not shifting properly
  • Very weak engine
2015 Chevrolet Spark

2016 and 2017 Chevrolet Spark

The 2016 and 2017 models, are the least problematic cars on this list and are by no means clunkers.

However, their most common problem area was a safety risk – brake-related issues.

According to several reports and first-hand accounts, both model years had frequently malfunctioning brakes.

Symptoms of the brake issues included random brake stuttering, non-responsive braking, and an overly sensitive ABS (anti-lock braking system).

Here is what one owner experienced as a result of brake-related issues:

“As I was driving my brakes got hard preventing me from stopping, I was driving on my way to pick my sister up and as I went to stop to turn into her driveway my brakes are super hard and I was unable to come to a complete stop for about a quarter of a mile when I took my car in to get it inspected they said my brake booster was out and when they took it off the brake booster vacuum also had to be replaced they said this rarely ever happens but there is also been multiple complaints of it and that there are no warning signs.”

  • The 2016 Spark had a total of 29 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 4 complaints at CarComplaints.com.
  • The 2017 Spark had a total of 39 problems according to CarProblemZoo.com and 4 complaints at CarComplaints.com.

Common problems:

  • Will not start
  • Hesitation at acceleration
  • Speaker intermittently cracking, not working
  • Problem shifting gears
  • Extreme shaking
  • Failure to accelerate
  • Excessive oil consumption

Related: 9 Subcompact Cars With the Most Trunk Space (With Pictures)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2022 Chevrolet Spark30
2021 Chevrolet Spark240
2020 Chevrolet Spark1170
2019 Chevrolet Spark8121
2018 Chevrolet Spark1110
2017 Chevrolet Spark4391
2016 Chevrolet Spark4291
2015 Chevrolet Spark22655
2014 Chevrolet Spark822286
2013 Chevrolet Spark1172295

What Problems Do Chevrolet Sparks Have?

  • Excessive oil consumption
  • Transmission failure
  • Slipping
  • Engined died
  • No acceleration
  • Hesitates when accelerating from a stop
  • Air conditioning not working properly
  • Not shifting properly
  • Very weak engine

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Chevrolet Spark?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Mini Cooper7.9$25,800 – $35,400City: 22 – 29 /Highway: 31 – 38
Kia Rio7.8$16,550 – $17,490City: 32 /Highway: 41
Nissan Versa7.7$15,730 – $19,720City: 27 – 32 /Highway: 35 – 40
Mini Cooper Clubman7.6$34,050 – $42,400City: 23 – 25 /Highway: 31 – 35
Mitsubishi Mirage5.0$16,245 – $18,945City: 35 – 36 /Highway: 41 – 43

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: 8 Most Common Chevrolet Cruze Problems (Explained)











  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...