Chevy Downsizes With a Little Spark

The incredible shrinking Chevy's are at the LA Auto Show

It's easy to miss the Chevy Spark tucked away behind all those imposing Camaros and Corvettes.

LA Auto Show: Images, Previews, Exhibitor Map

But that says more about the aggressive styling and popularity of those American Muscle cars than it does about the Spark, Chevy's new-to-the-U.S. entry into the subcompact market.

Maybe it's the oversized bow-tie grill and gigantic headlights, but the Spark still looks like a substantial hunk of car next to its bigger, more powerful distant relatives in the Chevy family. The handles to the rear doors are hidden, which makes the car look more like a stout little coupe than a five-door runabout. 

Expect fuel economy figures in the 30s for city, 40-plus on the highway. Although it's 1.2-liter, 4-cylinder engine gives up about 465 hp to the new 2013 ZL1 Camaro convertible -- also at the LA Auto Show -- it's much easier to park.

Add technology to gas mileage and parkability and you have a car designed to attract urban dwellers, college campus students or some previously nameless market base that nobody expected to buy a small, fuel-efficient car that's available in an array of colors.

The interior features a seven-inch screen touchscreen in the center console.

"All the technology that's available in the larger cars, now comes in a subcompact," said Richard James, of General Motors.

The Spark is not to be confused with Chevy's other tiny tot, the Sonic. The Spark is smaller than the Sonic, but still offers seating for four.

Pricing, yet to be announced. The Spark goes on sale in the United States in 2012.

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