J U N E 2 0 1 7
M E D I C U S
D R I V E
Dr Peter Randell
ales of micro-cars have dropped
by 30 per cent in the last year,
making this a hard-fought
segment. Holden is also facing the
cessation of the Commodore and is
keen to hold or increase its market
share. Can the completely new Spark
light the wick?
Here is a tiny five-door hatch designed
by the vast resources of General
Motors, built in Korea to be sold in Oz.
The sharp design on the outside is
quite European, with an Audi like nose,
daytime running lights and fogs. Trick
door handles for the rear doors are
hidden in the window frames to make
the car more coupé like.
Within, the big buzz is a seven-inch
touch screen dominating the central
column. The steering wheel is a smarty,
with phone, radio and cruise control
buttons, behind which is a tacho and
speedo. If you have a smartphone, it
can be mirrored to the touch screen
and Siri can then do voice-to-text
messages at your whim. This also
creates a navigation system through
the phone’s maps, and plays your
phone’s music through the car’s six
speakers. This is stunning connectivity,
all in just a few years.
The driving force under the bonnet is
a 1.4L four-cylinder naturally aspirated
engine producing 73kW and 128Nm.
Not much, but the Spark is very light,
resulting in brisk acceleration in this,
the most powerful of the micro car
The impression of a five-gear box when
accelerating hard is false, as this car
has Holden’s first continuously variable
transmission, and it works well with
seamless forward motion in normal
Handling and suspension produced a
pleasant surprise with the fluidity of
response to steering inputs and none
of the bounciness one might expect
with such a short wheelbase. The
Korean-built car has had extensive
development in Australia, and it shows.
The driving experience is enhanced by
excellent all-round vision, the
windows being quite
large – with all
on the LT model, and quaint manual
winders on the LS.
Quality was good throughout the cabin,
with an unusual patterned white metal
band across the dash. Very funky! The
rear seats have good leg/head/foot
space, but a small boot results.
Economy is claimed to be 5.2L/100kms
but I saw more with my short, sharp
I respect the laws of physics and would
never want to have a bingle with a bus
in a micro-car, but the Spark is ANCAP
5-star rated, with six airbags, ABS, EBD,
BA, Traction Control, a collapsible pedal
release system, seatbelt pretensioners,
electronic stability control, rear view
camera and rear park assist (and my
friends at uni laughed at me in 1965
for putting a lap-belt in my 1949 Austin
A40!). This is a very safe little car, and
combined with its notable connectivity
and stylishness, should do well.
HOLDEN SPARK LT
BRIGHT SPARK TO FIRE UP
RRP from $13,990+ORC;
this LS variant $18,990+ORC.
Vehicle supplied by Shacks
The Holden Spark shows off a rather European looking exterior with an Audi like nose,
daytime running lights and fogs.
Inside the Spark’s cabin, a
seven-inch touch screen dominates the