2018 Holden Spark review New Zealand
Although I have often used the term sarcastically, a bright spark is generally used to describe a smart or witty person, someone of above average intelligence or even (at times) a genius, but when it appears in Holden’s vehicle line up, Spark is a bright and nifty little motor that never fails to put a smile on your face.
It’s been a while since I’d been behind the wheel of a Holden Spark, so when the opportunity arose I seized it with both hands. You see, there’s no doubt that the motoring world is heavily leaning towards taller riding vehicles. SUVs and utes are the in thing right now and sure, that lofty sense of security is hard to argue with. However, there is certainly still room on our roads for variety and when it comes to the Holden Spark, virtually room enough for two.
At around 3.6m long and 1.6m wide the Spark is obviously the baby of Holden’s impressive range, but has a maturity beyond its years. There are two models to choose from LS and the one I had been given, the LT. Both come with a 1.4L engine, both have 5-Star ANCAP ratings, but my version came with a few extra toys.
My LT came in ‘Summit White’, it’s a very clean (and of course bright) teeth white and showcases the Sparks shadow lines high above the front and rear wheel arches and one that rises along the beltline. The compact car’s exterior design is modern, with a happy face Holden grille, Halogen wraparound headlamps, a rear roof spoiler and 15-inch alloys, while inside, it’s remarkably roomy (for a car this size), has leather-appointed seats, uncluttered dashboard, a 7-inch colour touch-screen, 6-speaker sound system and MyLink with Apple and Android Smartphone projection.
Under its cute bonnet is the 1.4L ECOTEC engine strapped to a CVT transmission, it’s fun to drive and offers around 5.8L/100km efficiency.
We had the Spark in my families possession for around a week and both the wife and I shared custody. For me, it was highway going transport getting me to and from the city. For the wife it was school run ‘fun’ and darting to and from the stores, quite frankly the Spark impressed us both.
On the freeway, the Spark feels remarkably stoic. The high wind warnings for the Harbour bridge did little to unsettle the ride and although the seats are a little small for a guy of my girth, I didn’t feel claustrophobic in any shape or form.
Picking up children from school at 3pm is almost akin to a riot. The jostling for parking spaces, the passive-aggressive nudging into non-existent gaps….I can see why the SUV has become such an effective tool. But the Spark apparently side-stepped it all, manoeuvring in and out of the tightest of spaces while providing plenty of room for backpacks, scooters, footballs and all the other school ‘necessities’.
The Spark doesn’t pretend to go off road, doesn’t boast rapid off the line speeds or white-knuckle handling. It’s not going to muscle you in or out of trouble or have other drivers tut tut as you spend an age navigating out of a parking spot. No, what the Holden Spark offers is honest to goodness, A to B motoring, a down to earth driving experience that is nimble and fun, plus a large amount of style thrown in to really brighten your day.