THE SELL: Remarkable fuel economy at a killer price.
THE TEST: The Spark may be tiny—barely five feet tall—but it’s impressively roomy for a subcompact. Our six-foot tester, two kids, and a weekend’s worth of luggage fit comfortably inside. Granted, getting the car up to 75 miles per hour on Los Angeles freeways took unnervingly long. The microsize 1.2-liter, four-cylinder engine pumps out an anemic 84 horsepower; some motorcycles are burlier than that. On the upside, parallel parking is a snap, and we averaged 35 miles per gallon over the entire weekend.
THE VERDICT: Surprisingly functional, with fuel efficiency that puts more expensive hybrids and some diesels to shame. Not bad for one of the least expensive cars on the market. 28mpg city/37 hwy
Touch-screen consoles like the Spark's are awesome. But because you have to take your eyes off the road to use them, the U.S. Department of Transportation wants them banned. Our advice: pull over or let a passenger do the fiddling.