Spark Member
  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

About sparkto

  • Rank
    New Member

Profile Information

  • Region
    Canada Ontario
  • Location
    North York
  • Current Vehicle
    2017 Spark CVT

Recent Profile Visitors

246 profile views
  1. Dealer maintenance shops are no better or worse than other shops, you get good or bad service anywhere depending on who is doing the work. But, the main reason I don't depend on dealership maintenance after a warranty period is purely price and convenience. Dealership service for things like oil changes or tires tends to be slower and less convenient, and they tend to be on the pricier side. That's not to say you can't get good service, but the hour or two hour wait oil change at a dealer has happened more than once in my life, and I don't have the time to wait on something that takes all of 10 minutes to do, and then pay a premium price for it. In summary, yes: do your warranty maintenance at the dealer, but find a non-dealership shop for all other items you need service with. You'll save money and time in the long run. And often you can build a relationship with an independent shop you won't have with a dealer.
  2. I didn't bother getting a set of winter tires this past season, but my first winter with the Spark went well. I drove through a pretty tough winter storm from Sudbury all the way to Toronto and the hours of driving didn't feel particularly out of control, just had to watch my speed and stability was fine. But to be fair, the tread on the all seasons they installed was very good and it was only a few months of driving from when I bought it to the winter season. So, next year the tread may be worn to the point where it would be noticeably poor. Bottom line, as you may know, winter tires mean everything with winter driving. If you experience poor control with regular tires, just get a quality set of winter tires and you'll be fine. Since winter is over, maybe this time of the year is a good time to buy to prepare for next year. Maybe get some closeout specials somewhere and just store them for the fall.
  3. It could be that you had a set of defective tires put on during the manufacturing process, since the tires aren't made by GM, you could file a warranty claim with the tire manufacturer if they prematurely went bad. I find most stock tires tend to be cheap quality, tires have never been a top priority of most new vehicle sales in my car buying history. I had a new Honda years ago where the tires went bad at 20k. They were balding bad after only one season worth of use.
  4. Often people seem to rag on smaller vehicles and performance in winter conditions, but I experienced reasonable performance when we had a freak ice storm two weeks ago. The traction control seems to help tremendously in certain conditions, although if you're stuck its of course better to turn it off and rock the car back and forth until you get out. I got stuck, rocked it back and forth, and then had to put traction control back on to get into a parking lot. It worked well. If you put a quality set of winter tires on this car, especially if you can get studded ones in your location, it can take pretty much the worst winter driving conditions you can throw at it.
  5. I've already taken several big trips with my Spark, its only 1 year old. Just a few months ago I did a 5,000km round trip (roughly 3000 miles) in winter and it performed remarkably well. If you don't push the speed, you can easily get around 5l/100km or roughly 45mpg. I kept my speed around 100 and it returned very good economy. Again, converting to the US that's around 60-65mph.
  6. Regarding the transmission... CVT takes getting used to, it sounds different, it performs different. But different does not equal bad. The only 'negative' to a CVT is if it needs servicing most all shops are setup to just replace it, there isn't really a repair option or rebuild option for the CVT. BUT, if you have severe transmission issues years after ownership when the warranty expires, its unlikely major repair would be cheaper anyway. You have to pick your poison in life, and a CVT actually runs smoother than traditional automatic transmissions and is far less shifty and jerky than a dual clutch transmission, which has become popular as well in modern day. DCT is too jerky for my liking, so I prefer a CVT or a traditional automatic.
  7. *facepalm* There won't be a trade war per se, the rest of the world will continue to trade. Whether the US wants to buy those goods without a tariff is its own choice. Edit: I wanted to mention you can drop corporate tax rates to 0% and you still can't bring certain jobs back that automation or foreign labour can produce cheaply. Tax rates are only a small factor in a large set of circumstances. Secondly, if you're so against foreign labour, why didn't you purchase a Chevy Sonic? The Spark is manufactured in South Korea. The Sonic is built with mostly US and Canadian sourced parts in Michigan, wouldn't that have been the car for a self identified nationalist? Although it contains foreign Canadian parts so that may not be pure enough? At the end of the day, we all do what is best for our pocketbooks. Trade can make our purchasing power go a little further, and that's why trade is good. That's why purchasing a Spark was good for me, financially. A car of this quality cannot be produced at this price point domestically in the US or Canada. If you want the ultimate nationalist country, go to North Korea. Juche ideology is nothing more than rampant nationalism, and you can see what its done for the glorious North Korean economy. They are poor and isolated. I may not know everything, but I'm old and wise enough to know a few of the basics discussed above. The USA of today isn't the proud, anti-nationalist USA of yesteryear that put every bit of its might in fighting nationalism and defeating tyrants like Hitler. I don't recognize this new wave of nationalism or why its in vogue. Conservatives and liberals of sound mind - regardless of ideology - should come together to fight nationalism and defend democracy and free and open trade. Borders are fine, im glad we have one between Canada and the US. Being proud of your country is fine, I'm proudly Canadian. Nationalism, however, is a farce.
  8. Anyway, getting away from China, the fact is your President tried to dump a 300% tariff on Bombardier, which is the key Canadian aerospace brand based in Montreal. It seems to be a decision made without any facts, without any planning, and without any sense rooted in reality: Pray tell me exactly how Montreal-based Bombardier is a threat to US national interests and security? Please, make the case my friend. It can't be done. Here is what a trade war looks like: US stomps and snorts its nose, places a 300% tariff on Bombardier's Aerospace unit. Bombardier can still sell to the rest of the world, the US is just a market it hopes to gain. So, when the US does this to protect Boeing, now all the Canadian airliners will likely pull back their Boeing orders. Air Canada and WestJet specifically might decide to ultimately pull the plug on new Boeing orders, causing the loss of business to Boeing. Who really wins? Bombardier can still sell to other clients, the US suffers because it can't purchase the new CS100-300 series jets that serve key markets for that size of aircraft. Who really wins there? The US certainly doesn't. Bombardier Aerospace has developed some of the most efficient jets in the world for its size, the beneficiaries will be those who purchase the advanced product that is better than the competitor right now. Essentially, Trump decided to dump a huge tariff on a product in a segment and jet size that Boeing doesn't even offer. They aren't even directly competing for the type of customer or flight plans that demand a CS100 or CS300 jet. That's dumb as dumb can get. If Canada is threatening the US, if Mexico is a threat to the US, and if everyone is a threat to the US and no one should do business with the US except for the USA, that's something most of us call paranoia. Stupid, silly paranoia. We're friends and allies for chrissakes. Come World War III there's no better partner you'd rather have than friends like Canada. Don't spit in our faces when there's no need for it. P.S. any tariff what-so-ever isn't free trade. Its restrictive trade. You can't pervert the word free and just say 'free and fair' when it is neither. Lastly, Bombardier will likely be successful with its new CS300 aircraft, but if Trump ultimately gets his way, it will be successful by selling to other countries than the USA. The point is, the US has little control here, its just stomping around and snorting its nose. And Trump looks like a fool doing it. Take it from someone who isn't a left wing extremist, there's a few screws loose in the Trump mentality. As I said with Mexico, if the US has to fear allies and friends like Canada, the US has more problems than I imagined... I know the USA well, and putting a tariff on Bombardier will not convince people to move from Tampa or Phoenix back to Pittsburgh or Mishawaka. The problems in the rust belt cannot be fixed with protectionism.
  9. I provided the Quebec reference just to show that power generation can be done cheaply and in carbon neutral ways, I have no idea why hydro prices would be what they are in New York. I'm not going to sit here and pretend to be a grid specialist when I'm not, all I can say is that there are places where energy is cheap, abundant, and green already. Quebec is one of those places where rates are extremely low and where production is carbon neutral on a large scale. With regard to global warming, I happen to be someone who believes the data shows man has dumped astronomical amounts of greenhouse gases and it seems like a case study where the evidence is overwhelming. It is hard to say that man hasn't created this problem. But what I disagree with in the general discussion about global warming and climate change is the response. We can tackle these problems without the hyperbole and knee jerk mentalities that have currently presented themselves. There's a brilliant European by the name of Bjorn Lomborg who has committed his life to pro-environmental causes, but ones that make sense. He had a documentary several years ago called 'Cool It!' that I would recommend. Much like the nuclear documentary I mentioned, he goes through all the practical, real world applications to combat climate change that don't involve these pie in the sky ideas that are currently being discussed. I would recommend looking into his work, because I for one am a believer in what he's saying. The facts say we're damaging the environment, but the facts also suggest there are economical and beneficial policies we can pursue that don't include cap and trade programs or other things that have proven ineffective. P.S. I am with you on electric cars not quite being ready for prime time. The Chevy Bolt is damn close, all it is missing is a $20k price tag. The truth is, superchargers are allowing electric cars to already get an 80% charge in 10 or 15 minutes. That's more than a 5 minute pump stop, but you have to admit electric cars are nearing the phase where they are almost ready to become a mainstream replacement for gas engines. I'd be willing to buy one, once more supercharge stations become available and once the price points come down just a tad more.
  10. Really this is a story of isolationism vs globalism. Mexico isn't draining the US economy, if the US has to fear Mexico then the US has serious problems. The biggest problem I have when talking with a yankee is that the average American thinks the world revolves around the US, that isn't the case. The world isn't necessarily out to get the US and the world isn't soaking the US. China is an emerging power, but they produce cheaply made manufacturing goods. They aren't doing so to soak the USA, they are doing so to bring the hundreds of millions of Chinese citizens out of poverty and into a middle class like lifestyle. GM, as an example, is probably only a profitable company because they are selling cars in China now. They wouldn't have been able to survive the post 2008 bankruptcy without China. You do realize this, I hope? Trade with China is a good thing. It is why your 50 inch flat screen TV is $300 instead of $3,000, which it would undoubtedly be if trade with China weren't a reality or if there were super high tariffs. Mexico certainly isn't out to 'get the USA' and it doesn't even have the capacity to if it even wanted to. There's a bit of paranoia there... I say this as a friend: the US currently has less stature, less influence in the post-WW2 period, and people are tuning the US administration out. It isn't hate of the US (I certainly don't, I'd love to fly to Las Vegas for a weekend getaway, I'd love to tour the Gulf Coast, and the other treasures in the USA), its just more of a joke politically right now. That's the honest truth. If you think Trump is doing a good job, well, you're free to believe whatever you wish my friend. As a friend, I don't think he's helping your country. And again, that's not an endorsement of any other political party or group, just speaking to Trump. Like I said, I'm likely supporting the conservative party in our next provincial election here this year. But then again, our conservatives (PC party) have committed to not destroying our health care system and have vowed to support it. So, I'm comfortable voting PC. Personally, progressives somewhat repulse me in 2018. Every sentence has to contain rape or racism and there is little substance beyond it. Its become a problem in Canada, whereas this used to be a problem with progressives in the US. I just want a competent government that will build some new highways, repave our aging infrastructure, and spend wisely. I'm not an extremist.
  11. I bought a more premium 1LT CVT with the heated rear view mirrors and other perks, they had another LS model on the lot for $13,300, but I ended up paying $16,000 I believe it was? I was going to buy the $13k model, but they offered no interest payments on the $16k model so I was sold. If I wouldn't have gotten the no interest promotion, I wouldn't have got the 'premium' Spark.
  12. I bought a Spark for several reasons: 1) I wanted a brand new vehicle, I had grown tired of the last several used vehicles I had and ended up spending more in maintenance for a short life span than it was worth. 2) I wanted value, I just don't see the point of spending a fortune for transportation. 3) I am single and don't have a need for tons and tons of space. 4) Despite not needing seating room for tons of people all the time, I admire the hatchback design where you can fold the seats and still fit a lot in this vehicle. 5) Last, but not least, I was looking for fuel efficiency. I just don't feel like paying more for gas than for the payment on my car, I drive a lot and this was important to me. I drive between 40-50k a year (Canada is a big place, and things are often spaced a long way away, its just the reality) There are several competitors I looked at: Nissan Micra, Mitsubishi Mirage, even larger vehicles like a VW Jetta, the Cruze, so on and so forth. I found a used VW Jetta for a similar price that I found my brand new Spark for, but I looked at VW reliability figure and realized I'd probably get back into the past mistake of maintenance and repair cycles that defeated the purpose of a used car, so I settled on the Spark. Nissan's Micra and the Versa Note both drive like crap: they accelerate poorly. The Mirage had impressive fuel economy, but it had horrific drive quality. That thing bounced and rolled around like crazy, and its build quality was noticeably poor. I wanted cheap, but not *that* cheap. Doesn't hurt that the Spark looked like it did incredibly well in off-set crash tests you find online. The Spark appears to be the safest small vehicle out there, from what I've seen. The Spark seemed to be the best mixture of all the above: fuel economy, good acceleration quality, build quality is slightly higher for an economy car. Quite frankly, the build quality and materials feel like luxury compared to Nissan or Mitsubishi's offerings. The only other car I considered near the end of shopping was the Honda Fit, but I couldn't justify its price tag for thousands more. Honda has over-priced its small vehicles, they are selling for thousands more and they rarely include incentives. The sales guy wouldn't budge from the sticker price and I don't feel like paying for a name, so they lost me as a customer. The Spark sold me on the price point of offering a higher quality product for less than the Fit. So I went for it. For better or worse, I presently live in one of the largest cities in North America. I also needed a smaller type car just to get around town easier. Parking in Toronto is a pain, well just being in a major city is a pain half the time, but the footprint of this car makes my life easier. The Spark has a magical formula: its city/congestion friendly, but it has performance so you can drive comfortably on the highway. Some of the other sub-compacts quite honestly aren't designed for a highway. The Spark can pass fine, it drives well at 120 (km/h, not mph), which is my average highway cruising speed. But if I need to speed up to 140 to pass a slow group of trucks or cars, the Spark can perform well. Some other sub-compacts really aren't highway friendly. The Spark seems to have good wind resistance and isn't blowing around all over the place at high speeds.
  13. I'm not an extreme environmentalist, far from it as I like a modern lifestyle and I'm not looking to reduce my usage back into the stone age... But honestly, batteries are recyclable. Every heavy earth metal in them can be reused. They aren't nasty, they are in need of improvement and development, which Tesla and others appear to be improving the price points on.
  14. Do I sense an anti-electric feeling in the room? LOL I consider Nuclear power to be clean, it has zero emissions and there's little to be afraid of. Its clean energy. Wind turbines are cool if you ask me, not sure where the problem is there. You still need a back-up supply that isn't susceptible to low wind periods, but its a great addition to the grid. Nuclear is the obvious choice for a zero emissions redundant backup energy source. There's a great film in regards to this, its called Pandora's Promise, I'd recommend you watch it if you have the time and desire for the topic. I see zero reason to be anti-electric car, the problem has always been storage and price. Electric cars still don't have the range they need at price points people can afford. The Bolt from Chevrolet goes a long way (longer than Tesla, at its price point, might I add) toward making a car that has decent range at a price point many people can afford in the middle class, but its still not a vehicle I could rely on 100% since there aren't enough charge stations. Regarding the heavy metals in a battery, they are all recyclable. Batteries can be recycled over and over and over. So I don't buy these arguments that the tailpipe is just longer, electric cars do have a lot of promise. Just look at the Bolt, it almost makes EV's totally mainstream. If they can just get the battery costs down just a tad more, and more charge stations available, then you will really see a lot of change. There's one thing about electric cars that really destroys the 'longer tailpipe theory' and that is the distribution of electricity itself. You don't need trucks and tanks and burning carbon to deliver the energy as with gasoline or diesel. Electricity operates on a static line, a grid that is in place and doesn't need to be driven around constantly and pumped Just stick the car plug into the outlet and you have instant energy delivery at the literal speed of light from its production source, even if that source is 1000km from you. There is no other distribution source that effective, that efficient. There are astronomical benefits to electric energy delivery and having a common source of the energy produced. I know you might find this surprising, but Quebec is a province here in Canada that has a strong winter season and a majority of homes are heated by electric furnaces. Why? Its dirt cheap and easy. They have a near 100% carbon neutral grid fueled by massive hydroelectric and other green energy methods. Its by far and away the most green energy province. If a colder climate like Quebec can cheaply heat homes in a brisk winter climate, more of us could do that as well. It proves that electric generation can be green and cheap, not one or the other. There isn't one single coal generation plant left in Quebec, or Ontario. They've all been shut down. Quebec's grid is so advanced and has so much excess supply, they practically power the entire northeastern coast. Boston and Massachusetts almost entirely imports their generation from Canada. There's little to fear from electric production and the build-up of greener non-coal sources. I toured a Hydro Quebec facility some years ago, there was a direct line straight from the facility to the northeastern USA, a line that was over 1000km long. There's so much excess available and its 100% green.
  15. Car sharing is probably going to become a bigger thing in major cities like Toronto. About the only thing leaders of this region talk about anymore is transit, but the reality is that the vast majority of people still prefer and strongly demand car ownership. For the urban kids who can't afford a nice car, this is a good option for driving to the store after work or for weekend trips where the bus won't take you. Its too bad they are letting congestion get worse and worse by ignoring street and highway improvements in this great city. All major city leaders ever talk about in the 2010's is transit, transit, transit. Most everyone else prefers a car and to drive. The Onion actually had it right years ago, this was a great work of art: LOL