Facing turmoil in its parent market, General Motors India is aggressively marketing its product portfolio in India. It recently launched the LPG variant of its most successful model Chevrolet Spark. The car is the fifth hatchback in India with factory fitted LPG after Maruti’s Wagon-R, the Hyundai Santro ECO, Indica LPG, and the Maruti 800 DUO. It is clear, that LPG and/or CNG cars are winning hugely in popularity (see last week’s article on comparison of fuel types).
General Motors intends to capture different groups of customers and cater to their needs with various variants of its models. Chevrolet Spark effectively meets the requirements of mileage and price sensitive customers in India. With the Spark’s existing base in India, the LPG version may definitely be a success.
Chevrolet Spark LPG model has everything to offer that is expected from a B-segment hatchback model with its 4-cylinder engine with 955cc displacement, the same capacity as the petrol version. The engine is quite fuel-efficient and delivers a power of 60ps@5400 rpm (petrol version: 63ps). Taking into account the LPG engine, the pick-up is fairly good and the model is quiet with its noise insulating mats.
The power steering gives you a comfortable ride in the city and the LPG engine makes the car very economical. The low radius turning makes you park easily in congested spaces in the city parking lots and malls, so it is definitely a car suited for the city life.
Chevrolet has certified the Spark LPG engine with a mileage of 12.5 kmpl in city while 16.7 kmpl on highways. The on road performance of the Spark LPG is quite good, with barely any power loss in switching over to LPG mode.
The car comes in two variants, with the PS as the base model, and the LS model as the advanced model. Versus the PS, the LS has the following extra features:
The Spark LPG LS comes with additional:
- Power windows
- Body coloured bumpers
- Wheel covers
- Fabric inserts in door trims
Design and Model
There is nothing much to speak about the external appearance of the Spark LPG as it is the same model which has been retained and people are very familiar with it. People expecting any drastic or major changes in its exteriors, will be disappointed. The LPG variant still carries the sturdy and sober look of its petrol model.
On the other hand, the company has definitely improved the interiors in the LPG variant. It does not carry the original tapestry of its petrol and diesel models – GM has replaced the seat fabric with better quality option and the dashboard design has also been designed intelligently.
Together with the improved interiors, another good thing is the fitting of the 26.5KG capacity cylinder. It’s of a round shape and fitted just above the fuel tank. Due to the design, it won’t cover much of the space available for baggage. And since it is constructed of hard steel, it will surely not cause an unsafe feeling, though cylinder and fuel tank are next to each other.
The seating position is good, but if you expect the tall head roof of Hyundai Santro Xing, you will not find it there. Tall people may find the knees brushing at the driving seat against the central instrument mount. Though the car is good for seating 4 adults comfortably, the leg room at the rear is definitely cramped. As a result, you can sum up that the car is good for the city drives, but you will not be really very happy to take it on the long drives.
Warranty & After-sales
As always the case with GM cars, the Spark LPG has an excellent warranty package of until 3 years or 1.0 lakhs KM of usage, whichever comes earlier. That’s quite an impressive offer and the spare parts also come cheaper compared to its competitors.
To aid in understanding the maintenance of the car, Chevrolet has published the exact maintenance schedules and service and maintenance costs. The company gives complete details about possible expenditures in 50,000 KM of usage. That is surely commendable!
The warranty schemes are especially welcome for the LPG car, as the trouble-free operations are yet to be proven.
Price and Other Features
The new Chevrolet Spark LPG variant is currently priced at Rs. 3.52 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi), which is for the PS variant. The LS variant comes at Rs 3.7 lakh, which seems a good price. The onroad price comes around Rs 4.0 lakh. But, we feel an onroad pricing around Rs 3.7 lakhs would have made the car a complete run-away success.
The Spark is available in the colours, Olympic white, Misty lake metallic, Topaz, Blazing red, Caviar black, and Platinum metallic.
In overall, the Spark LPG offers tough competition among its segment . If you are contemplating a small car option with alternative fuel options, you should definitely take a test drive of the Spark LPG variant.