By Emme Hall.
Like small cars? Yeah, me too. And so does a lot of America. We are buying more and more small cars, and why not? They are fun, zippy, easy to park and easy on your wallet. Today we’ll take a look at two popular subcompacts, the 2013 Honda Fit Sport and the 2013 Chevrolet Spark 2LT and see which tiny transporter tops our ticket.
The Honda Fit comes with a 1.5L inline 4 cylinder engine, producing 117 horsepower and 106 lb/ft of torque. Power is put to the front wheels via a 5 speed manual transmission or a 5 speed shiftable automatic. The manual returns a 0-60 mph time of 9.5 seconds and an EPA fuel rating of 27 mpg in the city, 33 mpg on the highway, and 29 mpg combined. The automatic returns the same EPA numbers, although with a combined rating of 30 mpg. 0-60 mph in the automatic is a snail paced 11 seconds, more proof that you should always pick the manual.
The Chevy Spark features a 1.2L inline 4 cylinder engine, producing 85 horsepower (Shetland Pony Power?) and 82 lb/ft of torque. This FWD hatch employs a 5 speed manual transmission or a 4 speed automatic. As to be expected, 0-60 times are on the slow side: 10.5 seconds for the manual, 12.2 seconds in the automatic. EPA fuel ratings are 32-mpg city, 38-mpg highway, and 34 mpg combined with the manual, and 28/37/32 with the automatic.
The Honda Fit Sport comes with your standard array of new car features: keyless entry, cruise control, iPod connectivity, 16 inch alloy wheels, and the like. The only option for our Sport model is navigation, which comes with Bluetooth, voice control, and a touchscreen. What really sets the Fit apart from the other subcompacts is its cargo space and utility. The rear seats fold down flat for an astonishing 57.3 cubic feet of space. The passenger seat folds flat, allowing you to carry items almost 8 feet long, and the rear seat bottom flips up to accommodate taller items. All and all it’s a pretty neat trick.
The top of the line Chevy Spark 2LT comes with a few more bells and whistles. Along with the expected features like air conditioning, power windows, and keyless entry, it also gives you OnStar telematics, Bluetooth, iPod integration, steering wheel mounted controls, and heated front seats. But after seeing the clever interior design of the Fit, any subcompact is going to suffer by comparison, and the Spark is no different. It offers only 31 cubic feet of space with the rear seats folded down.
While the Honda Fit is neither a straight line speed demon nor a corner carver, it is still light weight with enough pep to satisfy. Steering is responsive and it’s easy to zip past slow moving taxi cabs and lumbering trucks. The suspension leaves a bit to be desired, however. The ride could be more comfortable and despite the acoustic insulation added in 2012, this little car is a loud little car.
If the Fit is a bit of a snail, the Spark is a 3 toed sloth. There are scooters that have more horsepower. Choose the manual if you want to accelerate quickly enough to get on the freeway. The automatic upshifts early and is loathe to downshift. Fortunately, the little Spark handles well, staying composed in the corners with an agile feeling in traffic. Road and wind noise are there, but it’s not any worse than other cars in this segment.
The Honda Fit Sport starts at $17,160 and is my choice in this contest. Although I like the overall look of the Spark better, the Fit has more power and more utility. The Chevy Spark 2LT starts at $15,085 but the $2000 and change price discrepancy just isn’t enough to make up the difference.