The fuel-efficient nature of this powerplant was quickly apparent during acceleration, as peak torque is just 83 foot-pounds at 4,200 rpm.
This compares with the more spunky Fiesta’s 112 foot-pounds of torque at 5,000 rpm.
But the fuel mileage was genuine. In nearly all city driving — and it wasn’t gentle driving — the Spark tester averaged 29.4 mpg, which is better than the government estimate. A full tank of unleaded gasoline, therefore, could have lasted for 270 miles and cost under $30 at today’s prices.
A couple nits: The driver seat had a clunky knob to crank to raise seat cushion height, and the rear wiper on the back window is small and doesn’t clear the whole view.
There are no crash test ratings yet for the Spark, which comes standard with electronic stability control, traction control and 10 air bags, including bags mounted to the sides of the back seats.