New Zealand gets new Spark before Australia

New Zealand gets new Spark before Australia

The new Holden Spark 1.4-litre hatch will be on sale in New Zealand in March before it shakes up the Australian microcar market in April.

Holden New Zealand is pricing the car at $16,490 for the LS manual (customer order only) to $17,990 for the LS automatic, and $19,990 for the LT automatic.

Holden New Zealand’s general manager – sales Sean Tupp confirmed to Autotalk today that dealers are receiving their demonstrators vehicles within a week, and the car is available for public sale from late March.

The Australian arm of GM says its engineers have played a large role in ensuring the car’s engine performance, ride and handling quality, and suspension and steering tune all meet the demands of New Zealand and Australian driving conditions.

Holden’s director of vehicle performance, Ian Butler, says Holden engineers involved themselves heavily in the development of Spark from the outset to satisfy our local market requirements.

The Holden engineers travelled to South Korea on multiple occasions at the start of the Spark programme to define suitable powertrain combinations and relevant content to aid noise and vibration improvements.

“We’ve been working as part of a global GM team to help develop the CVT transmission available on Spark for the Australia and New Zealand markets,” says Butler

“When combined with its all-new 1.4-litre engine, we have been able to deliver a 16% increase in power and up to a 20% increase in torque,” says Butler.

“Defining useful powertrain combinations was an essential first step in allowing the Holden team to be able to tune the car to suit Kiwi lifestyles and use,” he says.

He says the engineers performed tuning work to ensure the Spark drives as a Holden should at the Lang Lang proving grounds in Australia.

The final step in the local development process was the optimisation of chassis controls, working with Bosch on Holden’s gravel road testing circuit to test features including hill start assist, electronic stability control (ESC), traction control (TC) and ABS.

“The new Spark is more than capable on challenging gravel road surfaces with the aid of features such as ESC and traction control,” says Holden’s vehicle dynamics engineer, Rob Trubiani.

“It was important to us to be able to deliver a car that inspires confidence in the driver while being fun to drive, both on bitumen and gravel. The Spark may be a micro car, but it’s big on driving appeal,” says Trubiani.

“Overall, Spark offers a sophisticated feel that, when combined with its feature list and attractive design, will set a new benchmark in the microcar segment,” he says.

Holden says it’s most affordable passenger vehicle is designed to integrate seamlessly into customers’ lives.

Spark has a seven-inch colour touchscreen with the latest Holden MyLink infotainment system, and the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technology available across the range as standard.

Siri Eyes Free and voice recognition software also allow drivers to give verbal commands ensuring their hands never have to leave the wheel.

Recommended Retail Pricing
Spark LS – manual transmission $16,490 (Customer order only)
Spark LS – automatic transmission $17,990
Spark LT – automatic transmission $19,990

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