I went to test drive the Spark EV today at Bunnin Chevrolet. (Culver City). Took the drive there in the LEAF. Trip was 52 miles. Left with 100% charge...got there with 3 bars remaining...(27 mi on the GOM). Had to charge it 3 hrs to get back to 9 bars. Only made it to 97 mi total trip with 1 bar remaining (6 mi GOM) and had to stop in Thousand Oaks to charge for 1 hr to finish the 107 mi total trip. So here I am wishing that the LEAF had a little more range. (My Batt Capacity reads 93% now). I figured the FIT or the Spark with the extra range would allow me to make trips like this with less on the road charging needed to complete the trip (with LBW and 6 miles left on the GOM)
I had high expectations of the Spark being a sensationally quick car with its 400lbs of torque. I guess my expectations were too high. It went from being one of my top picks, to one I probably will not consider getting now. Here were my findings:
Definitely less interior space. The leg room is fine in front and back. But the width is noticeably tighter than the LEAF. The salesman and my arms were almost touching at times. Rear cargo space is not very big, and the floor is high...(same as the hatch opening). The LEAF cargo bin area is much deeper.
Didn't really like the hard baby blue plastic trim across the dash and door panels.
Drove the Spark in town and on the fwy 75mph+. I had the car in sport mode. There was no tire burning, shove you in the back acceleration that I expected from the 400lbs/torque. I really think the LEAF feels more impressive 0-30mph still. (May have been the 250lb salesman in the passenger seat causing this???) . Or perhaps because the LEAF is so quiet and smooth, the acceleration seems more impressive. On the FWY and at speeds above 40mph, acceleration still feels non existent to me (like the LEAF). Although looking at the speedometer needle climb in my 60-75mph testing, I would say it is faster than the LEAF. And flooring it at 20mph felt surprisingly zippy. So perhaps faster in instrumented testing above 40mph...still definitely not anything I would switch from the LEAF for, as I originally though I might. Being a performance junkie, I even brought my Vbox GPS tester (Like the magazines use) , but after my underwhelming impressions, didn't really see the point.
Car definitely has more road/tire noise on the 91 FWY. Enough so that it didn't even seem much quieter than a similar ICE vehicle might be. More noise in general.
On the fwy, at higher speeds, the car had an annoying instability to it (almost like it wanted to swerve). Noticed it a couple of times. Also had a much choppier ride than the LEAF. Not sure if the suspension was much better handling in twisties perhaps, but didn't notice anything particularly astounding in my city driving.
In the pictures the steering wheel looked kind of cheap...but I actually found it kind of nice with the aluminum and the angular leather wrap.
The car only has the 3.3KW charger, and currently are not equipped with the DC SAE Combo quick charger port.
After driving all the way there...driving the Spark, and then getting right back in my car....I would say the LEAF just seems more upscale. Smoother, quieter, and more amenities. (ie, LED headlights, rearview camera, on board navigation, rear heated seats, DC quick charge port, etc)