The Chevrolet Spark doesn’t have a lot going for it. Earlier this year it was named as the UK’s least satisfying car to own by JD Power. It doesn’t help that Chevrolet was also named as the least satisfying car brand in the same survey. Ouch.
But none of this really matters because, unless our eyes are playing up, the Chevrolet Spark is Britain’s fastest car. No really, it is.
No matter what speed you’re doing, you’ll invariably end up being passed by a Chevrolet Spark. Seriously, the Spark is the new Astramax van. You could be ‘doing a ton’ on the outside lane of the M4* and there’d still be a Spark filling your mirror. Front fog lights blazing, one wheel trim missing and bits of engine popping out from under the bonnet.
It’s unbelievable. It’s like they enter the motorway via a huge elastic band, which catapults them to the next junction at break-neck speeds. Nothing can stand in their way.
We wondered if we were missing something. Maybe the publicised 1.0 and 1.2-litre engines were just a front. Could the Chevrolet Spark actually be powered by the 432hp, 6.2-litre engine found in the Camaro? Or could Chevrolet be using the Spark as a test mule for the 450hp Corvette Stingray due in 2014?
No. According to Chevrolet, the top speed of the Spark 1.2 is a mere 102mph, with the 0-62 time a relaxed 12.7 seconds. So how on earth were the Spark drivers extracting so much performance from their unsatisfactory superminis? And perhaps more importantly, how much of a run-up did they need to generate enough momentum to reach these dizzying speeds?
Then the penny dropped. Every single one of these Chevy Sparks featured a little green sticker on the boot lid. A little green ‘E’. ‘E’ for Enterprise. These supercar-taming Chevrolet Sparks are rental cars. And not only that, they are entry-level rental cars – the lowest of the low. Crikey, these little Sparks are being pushed to within an inch of their lives.
And as we all know, nothing goes faster than a rental car.
There’s no mention of the Chevrolet Spark’s unexpected turn of pace on the Enterprise Rent-a-Car website, but given that it makes a reference to the ‘3-door’ Spark, when it’s most certainly a 5-door supermini, we’re not entirely sure we can trust the site. Think of it as a bonus. Not only do you get more performance than you budgeted for, you also get a couple of extra doors thrown in, too.
A cheap, five-door supermini, with five proper seat belts, that will get you between two airports at opposite ends of the country in about the time it will take an airline passenger to clear departures. Sure, the Spark isn’t exactly like flying Club Class, but it’ll be good fun trying to hold on to your hubcaps on the M6.
We reckon we could hire a Spark for around £20 a day, with no restrictions on mileage. Take four of your mates and you could travel from Penzance to Aberdeen, and then back again, for just £4 each. Or, for that authentic airline experience, you could simply surround yourself with people you don’t like.
The message is clear, when you have absolutely, positively have to be there on time, forget flying or public transport – get behind the wheel of a Chevrolet Spark. Britain’s fastest car. Fact.
*note the word ‘could’, not ‘should’. Only mid-spec Audi A4s should be ‘doing a ton’ on the M4.