HOLDEN SPARK LT
The recommended retail price for the top of the range Spark LT is close to the Yaris Ascent but Holden’s website has it as $22,208 drive-away versus the Toyota’s long-term $17,990 drive-away deal. The Spark comes with more gear. The Holden gains Apple CarPlay, a sensor key, alloy wheels, front fog lights, bigger engine and better transmission. Running costs are competitive ($916 over three years). But the $4218 premium is astounding in such a pricesensitive class. Metallic paint adds $550.
A good looking car, the Spark is smaller in every dimension than the Yaris. That’s because the Spark properly sits in the class size below the Yaris, despite its dearer price. Rear seat space is tighter in the Holden and boot space is smaller, too. There is one advantage: you can squeeze into tighter parking spaces. Six airbags and a five-star safety rating. A rear camera is standard on this top end model in the Spark range. Apple CarPlay deserves a safety mention, too, because it reduces the temptation to touch the phone.
In such a small car, the 1.4-litre engine has plenty of oomph and is matched well to the constantly variable transmission, which finds the best rev range to optimise performance and economy. It’s pretty miserly, at 5.5L/100km, but not much better than the Yaris, considering it weighs less and has a more modern driveline.
For a city runabout, the Spark is fun to drive. It has more straightline zip than the Yaris but is a little firmer over bumps (compared to both the Spark and Yaris base models) due to the low-profile tyres. The tight turning circle makes it a cinch to manoeuvre in narrow streets.