Chevy Spark gets brighter for 2013Comment on this story
There isn't a great deal of choice in the "my first car" segment, but one that's often overlooked is Chevrolet's latest-generation Spark.
The locally-made runabout remains one of the better-priced small cars on the market and while some of its rivals saddle the base model with a gutless 1-litre engine, the Chevy offers 1.2-litre 16-valve power right from the word go.
Even so, it's been battling against some formidable competition and GMSA is clearly hoping that this latest refresh and range expansion will swings things in its favour.
The facelift sees a bigger, bolder grille take pride of place on the front end, flanked by subtly revised headlights. The shape remains unchanged, but you might notice the new mirrors that incorporate turn signals and the new alloy wheel designs on upper models. From behind, you'll see a restyled bumper and a new taillight treatment.
For those looking for more visual voomah, Chevrolet has added an LT model to the range, which has a sportier front bumper and 15-inch alloys. Buyers can also opt for a Sports Decal package and smoky-black alloys.
The cabin upgrade is limited to minor ergonomic changes and new fabric materials. There are now four variations of interior trim, which are matched to the exterior colour.
The range kicks off with the basic Campus model that packs air conditioning, power steering, key-activated central locking, height-adjustable driver's seat, radio-preparation, dual airbags and ABS.
Next up, the nameless model adds an MP3/USB/Aux/CD audio system as well as roof rails, rear windscreen wiper and alarm system while the LS takes a notable step forward with electric windows, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, electric mirrors, height-adjustable steering wheel, roof spoiler and 14-inch alloys.
The new range-topping LT has a six-speaker audio system, rear park assist, rear electric windows, Cyclone aqua graphic centre console, 'high' back seats and side airbags.
Chevrolet has also added a panel-van derivative called the 'Pronto', which replaces the rear seats with a caged-in loadbay that can handle 876 litres worth of goods, with a payload limit of 275kg.
There are no changes beneath the Spark's stubby little bonnet, which means power is provided by the proven 1.2-litre 16-valve petrol engine with 60kW on tap at 6400rpm and 108Nm from 4800rpm. The engine is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and, according to official figures, sips 5.4 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.
All models are backed up by a five-year/120 000km warranty.
1.2 Campus - R106 100
1.2 - R113 600
1.2 LS - R123 000
1.2 LT - R136 500
1.2 - R101 500 (R89 035 excluding VAT)