2016 Chevrolet Spark for School, 25K CPO cars, Hyundai Santa Cruz info? [Ask Nathan]

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MMUSA Connecticut

In this edition of Ask Nathan:

  • Chevrolet Spark!
  • 25K CPO suggestions?
  • Any word on the Hyundai Santa Cruz?

Today’s first question comes from a fan who wants our take on the next Chevrolet Spark.

2016 Chevrolet Spark front
The 2016 Chevrolet Spark debuted at the New York International Auto Show.

Q: Hi TFL!

I love you guys! Sometimes it’s like I’m watching the Animal House of car review shows. I mean that as a compliment. Brother Bluto, I mean “Nathan” and Brother Otter, that’s you Roman! I wanted to know if you’ve driven the new Chevrolet Spark yet? I am about to go to college and I wanted a new car to replace my junker ’03 Pontiac Vibe. I have a budget of $14,000 and I want something that is new, not used.

I looked at other cars, but I like the way the Chevrolet Spark looks. It’s so much better looking than the 2015. The only other car I considered is the Mitsubishi Mirage. Is it a better car? What do you think?

Com’on Brother Bluto, tell if the right choice is the 2016 Chevrolet Spark!

Brother Otis

2016 Chevrolet Spark rear
The 2016 Spark has updated styling and a more powerful 1.4-liter engine.

A: Well, at least “Bluto” is better than “Flounder.”

I have not driven the 2016 Chevrolet Spark, but I have some information on it. Simply put, it’s faster, more efficient, has a lower profile and it is significantly upgraded. The interior is much improved and, as you stated, it’s better looking.

The 2016 Chevrolet Spark now makes 98 horsepower and 94 lbs-feet of torque. This isn’t too shabby for a vehicle that weighs 2,248 lbs. According to General Motors, it can get up to 41 mpg on the highway. Big improvements over the last model.

I sat inside the new Chevrolet Spark, it’s a nicer place to spend time over the Mirage. On paper, the Chevrolet Spark is superior, with two notable exceptions: the Mitsubishi Mirage can seat five and it gets up to 44 mpg on the highway. Still, the 2016 Chevrolet Spark seems to be the fun choice.

Best of luck!


By the way, you might be able to get a rebate or reduced sales price on the 2015 model.

2012 acura tl

This next question comes from a viewer who wants a good, used, AWD vehicle for under $25,000.

Q: Hi

I’m looking for some suggestions regarding my future purchase of a dealer certified car. Since you have driven so many vehicles and given that you get better feedback than I ever could, I was hoping you wouldn’t mind suggesting some vehicles for me to look at.

First some info about me, I am in my mid 40’s, I’m 5’6 tall (so I don’t need much head or leg room) and I don’t have a large family to drive around. It’s just me and my teenage son. Professionally I’m a sales rep and I would be using my car most days for local business travel. I would put about 25K miles per year on the vehicle. I currently drive a 2010 Saab 9-3 Aero which has 160,000 miles and until recently has been extremely dependable.
I am leaning towards a small to mid-sized CUV but I would also seriously consider a smaller to mid-sized Sports sedan. My budget for a certified vehicle is under $25,000. I plan on keeping the vehicle for 6+ years and will most likely put 150K miles on it over that period of time. I don’t think I want to buy something new, mostly because of depreciation but also because most of the vehicles I would consider purchasing as new are out of my price range.
What is most important to me are the following: ..

1. Reliability / dependability
2. Reputation for longevity and safety
3. Must have 4-wheel or all wheel drive (I live in the Northeast)
4. Must be either a 6 cylinder or a 4 cylinder turbo (I’m not interested in a non-turbo 4 cylinder motor)
5. Must have leather and heated seats
6. Must have alloy wheels
7. Must have an affordable after-market (or manufacturer) warranty to purchase

Any other options or features are fine but not necessary.

Hopefully you can suggest some vehicles that make sense for me.
Thanks in advance for your feedback!

A: Great questions!

The AWD component narrows the choices, but there are a multitude to chose from.

Here are a few in no particular order.

2015 Chrysler 200
2015 Subaru Legacy
2014 Chrysler 300 AWD

2015 Honda HR-V
2015 Mazda CX-5
2010 Lexus RX350

I’m sure there are other suggestions out there.

Best of luck!


Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

The last question comes from a few fans who wants an update about the Hyundai Santa Cruz.

Q:Do you guys know anything about the Hyundai Santa Cruz? I didn’t see it at the 2016 NAIAS this yrea. Thanks. Hank

Santa Cruz Crossover Truck Concept

A: Thanks for the email Hank.

There was no sign of the Hyundai Santa Cruz at the 2016 NAIAS. Hyundai was rather busy launching Genesis. Fortunately, rumor has it, Hyundai is seriously considering building the Santa Cruz for real. Check it out (The Hyundai Santa Cruz may be produced ).

There’s a ton of interest in the Hyundai Santa Cruz, we’ll be keeping our ear to the ground.


Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.

From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.

Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: asknathan@tflcar.com

nathan adlen Easily amused by anything with four wheels, Nathan Adlen reviews vehicles from the cheapest to the most prestigious. Wrecking yards, dealer lots, garages, racetracks, professional automotive testing and automotive journalism – Nathan has experienced a wide range of the automotive spectrum. His words, good humor and videos are enjoyed worldwide.