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Refreshing or Revolting: 2016 Chevrolet Spark

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 7/31/2015 Megan Stewart

Last year, Chevrolet only sold 39,000 units of the Spark here in the U.S., but the all-new 2016 Spark is hoping to change that number. The pint-sized Spark will now be sold in 40 countries around the world, and the second-gen model will be longer, lower, and more powerful than the model it replaces. While a lower roof may hinder some passengers in the rear seats, Chevrolet engineers have also lowered the passenger hip point, helping to negate this issue. Thanks to the lower stance and stiffer frame, the ride and handling should be much better than the outgoing Spark. And while the overall styling of the 2016 Chevrolet Spark has been kicked up a notch, is it enough to excite Americans who aren't that enthusiastic when it comes to subcompacts and microcars?

The front end has been significantly updated for the 2016 model year, and features a new grille and lighting design. The headlights now run with the lines of the grille, with a horizontal design moving from the grille frame before sloping upwards. The lights themselves have been redesigned, and are no longer stacked vertically like the outgoing model. The grille has been updated to match other models in Chevrolet's lineup, with the bow-tie now in the middle of the upper grille, instead of on the body- color band separating the two grille sections. The lower grille features a modified hexagonal design, giving the model a slightly more aggressive appearance than the previous model.

The character lines have been refined, and flow from the hood into the side with cleaner lines and a sharper appearance. At the back, Chevy continues with the new, sharper lines, and revises the entire rear end. The rear spoiler no longer spans the length of the now smaller rear window, which makes it feel more like part of the body and less like an afterthought. The taillights get rid of the rounded design in favor of a squared-off look. The lights themselves flow onto the side of the new model and take up more space than the smaller, rounded lights of the outgoing model. The reflectors have been integrated into the revised rear bumper, and now sit vertically instead of horizontal. Even the rear wiper has been updated

Inside, Chevrolet continues with a two-tone interior trim. The steering wheel has been redesigned and repositions the controls from under the cross bar to sit within better reach of the driver's fingers. The instrument cluster has also been given some attention, and now looks more modern with the refined digital layout. The center stack now features a cohesive appearance, with a cleaner layout than the previous model. The air vents are now below the infotainment screen, while the three knobs for the HVAC unit remain in the same place. The center stack now takes up less room on the dash, providing for a much cleaner and modern look.

Chevrolet left no part of the 2016 Spark untouched, from the exterior and interior styling, to the proportions and performance. Though the U.S. hasn't completely jumped on the subcompact bandwagon, are the changes made to the 2016 Chevrolet Spark enough to excite the masses?

2016 Chevrolet Spark© Provided by MotorTrend 2016 Chevrolet Spark

Last week, the 2016 Honda Accord was the subject of Refreshing or Revolting, and the reviews were mixed.

"Refreshing. The old Accord was starting to look dated. There's one thing to not like about the new Accord, and that's the new grille. What used to be a handsome front end has turned into a busy one," said Yoma.

"Revolting anywhere you look. Too much chrome and busy styling in front, too much chrome and low reflectors in the rear, too many screens and not enough knobs on the dashboard," said dfschim.

"Refreshing. I do like it, however I don't think Honda is doing the right move by making it look so similar to Acura. They should differentiate each other," said jachavarria.

"Revolting. Like most recent Honda designs, it has become too busy," said RPIbaldum.

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