2016 Holden Spark Review

2016 Holden Spark Road Test and Review

There’s a new player in the micro-car segment with Holden recently launching the Holden Spark.

Budget-priced, starting from just $13,990, the Spark is in a keenly-fought battle with models like the Suzuki Celerio, Mitsubishi Mirage and Kia Picanto.

Aimed at first car buyers and those looking for an affordable runabout, there’s plenty to like about the 2016 Holden Spark.

Under the bonnet of both model grades that the Spark is offered in (LS and LT) is a 73kW/128Nm 1.4 litre petrol engine.

The entry-level Holden Spark comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission.

If an auto is required you are looking at a starting price of $15,690.

The top-spec LT is auto-only and prices start at a rather prohibitive $18,990.

Standard features in the Holden Spark LS include:

  • Air-conditioning
  • Six-speaker stereo
  • Bluetooth
  • Central locking
  • Power windows (front only)
  • Height adjustable driver’s seat
  • Trip computer

Stepping up to the LT, Holden adds:

  • 15” alloy wheels
  • Reverse camera
  • Cruise control
  • Push-button ignition
  • Leather look seats
  • Leather steering wheel
  • Power windows front and rear

The only options box you can tick is the $550 prestige/metallic paint and that includes five shades above the standard Summit White or Solid Red.

On the road the new Holden Spark is a creditable little performer.

It’s a small engine, yes, but it has some pep, because the car it’s moving is a featherweight. It’s quite refined, meaning noise is kept suppressed.

The five-speed manual gearbox is light and notch-free in its action, the clutch is super light and the hill-start assist prevents rollbacks on hills.

While if you opt for a Spark with a CVT auto transmission you will find it is compliant enough and while the Spark is not all that brisk off the mark, at speed it is actually quite a good little goer.

The fantastic thing about the Spark though is the way it drives and this is thanks to Holden spending the time and money to tune the cars steering and suspension to Australian conditions.

The ride is supple and compliant and more than a little Commodore-like, both on suburban and country roads.

This is never at the expense of the body control and handling, which is first rate.

The steering is electric-assisted, and super-light around town, but also gives you decent feel if you want to have some fun in the corners.

At highway speeds, the Holden Spark feels relatively well planted and quiet for the class.

Basically, the Holden Spark feels composed and competent like a much bigger and more expensive car.

To the inside. There’s no doubt this is a class-topping cabin, in terms of design and equipment.

It feels more mature than most, including larger and pricier cars, is bright and airy from the driver’s seat, and feels of good quality.

Rear seat space is surprisingly excellent in the Holden Spark.

Cargo space is listed as 185 litres with the seats in use, which is poor for the class, or 985L when folded.

In real terms, if you’re using the back seats, you have room for a few weekend bags or carry-on luggage.

Summing it up: Fun, well-engineered and technologically advanced, the new Holden Spark is in another league to most of its competitors in this segment and thus really is a ‘must drive’ proposition.

NUTS and BOLTS – 2016 Holden Spark

Engine 1.4 litre petrol producing 73kW and 128Nm

Transmission: Five-speed manual or CVT automatic

Safety: Five stars

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000km

Origin: South Korea

Price: from $13,990

About Garry Fabian 101 Articles
Garry is a contributor to Behind the Wheel. He has been a freelance journalist for over 25 years across a wide range of subjects, including technical and health areas. He has written weekly car reviews and automotive articles and historic features for a number of newspapers and magazines.

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