As you no doubt know by now, Chevrolet, in its infinite wisdom, recently unveiled its newest offering in the highly competitive SUV/hatchback market: the 2021 Chevy Subavark, the next evolution of the 2020 Chevy Spark. While I won’t bore you with a lazy retread of Chevy’s big announcement, suffice to say the new vehicle has taken the world by storm and caused a tidal wave of attention and buzzing on social media about what it has to offer. Clearly, Chevy has done everything right with this remarkable new vehicle, but I couldn’t help but ask myself some big questions about it.
How? How did this vehicle come to be, and what kinds of problems did Chevy’s engineers face when trying to make it a reality? Fortunately, I found one of their chief developers sitting alone on a local public bus, a finely-crafted aluminum foil fedora topped his head, and he had the unmistakable odor of genius and urine about him. I saddled up next to him and began asking him questions about the Subavark, and his answers were beyond illuminating.
Rather than presenting you with a transcript of that remarkable interview, I have rummaged through my notes and erased the audio recordings of it so that I can offer my own thoughts on this incredible vehicle and what it took to make it a reality.
The 2021 Chevy Subavark: the Concept
The Subavark, like so many vehicles, began with an idea: the desire to find some sort of use, any use really, for the current Chevy Spark. According to my source, a lot of possible ideas and solutions were thrown around. These included rebranding, redesigning it into a vehicle people would want to drive, and simply removing the doors and leaving the ones they had already made in a rough part of town to let nature take its course. After a fair amount of internal testing, a new concept came into being.
The 2021 Chevy Subavark: the Development
It all happened around Thanksgiving of last year. Though my source was uncertain of what exactly inspired the new concept and design, the vision became clear. To make the Spark something people would drive, Chevy would jam it into a more attractive vehicle. The first test focused on placing a Chevy Spark inside the Chevy Suburban – but this didn’t work out. Apparently, it still felt too much like a Spark, and people wanted something more.
Based on a series of crude sketches that one designer worked out on various napkins from local bars, the Subavark began to take shape. Merely cramming the Spark into a Suburban was not enough – a middle-man was needed, and the Chevy Traverse was chosen. Now, looking back, it seems painfully obvious, but at the time, it was a remarkable leap forward. Lesser minds would’ve considered it madness, but Chevy’s designers don’t know the meaning of insanity, and it shows!
The design is simple: place a 2020 Chevy Spark inside of a 2020 Chevy Traverse, and then place that Traverse inside of a 2020 Chevy Suburban. But, as is so often the case, their simple idea required critical thinking and creative problem solving to make into a reality. The problem had to do with fundamental physics and how to make it all work.
The 2021 Chevy Subavark: the Problem
My source said the first step was to figure out how to fit the Chevy Spark inside of the Traverse. Although the Traverse offers a substantial 98 cu.ft. of cargo space with seating for up to 8 people, the 2020 Chevy Spark is about 300 cu.ft. in size. Simply crushing the Spark proved fruitless as the destruction of the interior and exterior alike was seen as “unpleasant” by the focus groups they tested their vision on. Something else was needed.
Of course, this was only the first problem – there were also concerns about how to fit the Traverse into the 2020 Chevy Suburban once the first step was taken. The Suburban has a generous 121 cu.ft. of cargo space and seating for up to 9, but that is not nearly enough room inside for the midsize Traverse or even the Spark by itself. So they had a two-part problem on their hands: how to cram one vehicle inside of another in a way that would be attractive to the average consumer.
While Chevy has long-held little interest in what drivers actually want or need, my source stated quite clearly that they knew this new vehicle would be revolutionary. As such, it needed to get people excited right off the bat. They needed influencers to start talking, and for people to post videos online right away, so they had to at least dazzle the masses with BS.
The 2021 Chevy Subavark: the Solution
The solution came, as it so often does, through sheer simplicity. Rather than crush the Spark down into a steely cube of loneliness and despair, they would remove all that was unnecessary from it. The engine, drivetrain, and other similar systems were the first to go. They wanted the chassis of the Spark to be mostly intact, since the whole point of this was to do something useful with all of these vehicles they keep making. That meant that other things had to be eliminated.
The designers at Chevy were quick to realize that a lot of space was being wasted on passengers. The 2020 Chevy Spark has more than 80 cu.ft. of passenger volume, and yet the average person requires, at most, about two cu.ft. of space once properly balled up – so more than 70 cu.ft. of passenger space could be removed and still have it fit four people. In the end, by removing the seats, safety features, and luxury items from inside the Spark, and significantly reducing how much room people would have inside, they were able to get the Spark down to a reasonable size that they could then cram inside of the Chevy Traverse.
From there, the solution to their second problem went much the same way: elimination of unnecessary luxury and technology features, removal of wasted personal and comfort space, and an overall disregard for the wellbeing of their passengers. According to my source on the bus, they worked closely with several airplane engineers and designers that have been developing seating on planes to get a sense of just how little space a passenger can have and still be able to exist.
The 2021 Chevy Subavark: the Future
And yet, ironically, the airline industry seems to be paying attention and will likely draw inspiration from the Chevy Subavark in designing a new series of airplanes that cram passengers and aircraft inside of each other for long flights. The future of most forms of travel could be based on the ability for one vehicle to be roughly jammed into another and then sent hurtling through space with people balled up to take as little room as possible. Personally, I can’t wait!
Editor’s Note: After several attempts to find the original announcement that this article mentions regarding the 2021 Chevy Subavark, we have been unsuccessful in verifying any of these claims. As far as we can find, the writer of this piece has suffered some sort of fever-dream and then had information verified by an unknown source. As such, please do not begin pre-ordering the Subavark. An insider at Chevrolet has informed us that orders for this vehicle have already started flooding in. We wonder about all of you sometimes… Thank you.