If by chance we thought about the Chevrolet Aveo at all during the past several years, it was usually because of its unfortunate styling and cheap feel. Starting with next week's 2010 Detroit Auto Show, Chevy is out to change the Aveo's image into a product that we might actually desire. The process begins with the Aveo RS concept, which provides a preview of what to expect from the next-generation production Aveo when it arrives in showrooms sometime next year.
The B-segment of small cars in the U.S. is shaping up to be a real battle royale with the new Ford Fiesta arriving soon, Fiat bringing over the stylish 500, the Volkswagen Polo and, of course, the incumbent Honda Fit and Toyota Yaris. It remains to be seen how much the segment will grow unless gas prices start climb again. Regardless, those of us who appreciate good small cars are certainly in for more feast than famine in the next several years. Follow the jump to learn more about Chevy's redesigned entry in the resurging small car segment.
Related GalleryChevrolet Aveo RS concept
When the Aveo first appeared in 2003, few people noticed the plain looking little car. It was cheap and looked it from inside and out. It wasn't until the 2008 refresh of the five-door hatchback that we paid it much attention, and even then not in a good way. Applying that bold dual port Chevy grille to the tall and narrow Aveo led to a look that could charitably be described as horrid.
The Aveo RS has much more attractive proportions with a wider stance and longer profile that make it look much more aggressive than the current model. It adopts some of the smaller Spark's styling cues, but without the tinier proportions. For instance, the side glass has a similar treatment with a rising belt-line and rear door handles integrated into the C-pillar area. The scooped out rocker panel sculpting is also something the Aveo RS has in common with the Spark.
The Aveo RS diverges more from the Spark the closer you get to its front. It gets the standard dual port grille like all new Chevys, but the upper section is tapered in at the top, which gives the grille a hexagonal appearance. We actually saw a styling buck of the next-gen production Aveo last August at the General Motors design dome, and that base model featured dual grilles of equal height. This more sporting RS concept, however, has a lower grille that extends farther down, but we don't mind the extra height thanks to the greater width compared to the current Aveo.
Inside, the Aveo RS has similarities to the smaller Spark and other larger Chevrolets like the new Cruze and Equinox. Like the Spark, its instrument pod consists of a round speedometer with a rectangular digital display to the right sitting on top of the steering column. A display for the entertainment system sits in a hooded pod atop the center stack, but the rest of the stack design bears a resemblance to larger Chevys.
Since this RS version is meant to be a hot hatch, GM has equipped it with suitable seats to hold the driver in place during aggressive maneuvers. On the show car, the seats are finished in actual leather with stitching that matches the blue exterior. This is a welcome change from the very obviously synthetic vinyl that covered the seats of the last Aveo we drove.
For the first time ever, an Aveo will actually have the hardware to be considered a hot hatch. Power in the RS comes from the turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder producing 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque that will also do service in the larger Cruze. The torque gets sent to those over sized 19-inch wheels through a proper six-speed manual gearbox. Chevrolet hasn't yet publicly committed to building an RS version of the next-gen production Aveo, but since this engine will already be in production for the Cruze at GM's Flint engine plant, we'd be surprised if it didn't eventually show up in the lineup.
We recently spoke with Ford's marketing boss Jim Farley about a Fiesta with a 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine and he was particularly enthusiastic about the idea. Let's hope both of these models make it to market, because we'd love to put these modern interpretations of the original Volkswagen GTI up against each other in a comparison test.
Related GalleryChevrolet Aveo RS concept
- Dynamic hot hatch designed to appeal to young enthusiasts
- Personalization is built into the design
- Roominess and upscale amenities not usually found in subcompacts
- 1.4L I-4 Ecotec turbo delivers exceptional fuel economy with performance when needed
DETROIT – Chevrolet today announced the world debut of the Aveo RS show car at the 2010 North American International Auto Show. It features a European-inspired hot hatch look designed to appeal to young enthusiasts, and hints at the next-generation Aveo.
Longer, wider and more spacious than the current production Aveo, the Aveo RS showcases the car's upscale-looking design cues both inside and out, and presents the many personalization options potentially available on the next-generation car.
"We hope the Aveo RS show car will demonstrate that we are as serious about redefining the Aveo and its place in the small-car segment as we were about reinventing the Malibu," said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet general manager.
The Aveo RS show car, finished in electric Boracay Blue, wears global Chevrolet design cues such as the dual element grille, round taillamps and fender flares, but designers turned up the attitude on the show car with low openings and a lower mouth trimmed in a combination of brushed and polished aluminum. Outboard fog lamps are integrated into an exaggerated brake-cooling inlet that flows into the front fender flares, creating an aggressive-looking face.
Exposed headlamps, with their brushed aluminum structural surround, are inspired by the designers' affection for motorcycles. The sleek side profile is characterized by uninterrupted body side lines, a high beltline and low roofline. The side mirrors with amber-colored turn signal indicators carry the same shape as the car and seemingly disappear into the profile. At first glance, the car actually looks like a three-door hatch because the rear door handles are discreetly located in the "C"-pillar area.
"The Aveo RS show car demonstrates how progressive design can inject personality into a small car," said Michael Simcoe, executive director, North American Exterior Design. "We want customers to see it and have an emotional reaction to it."
No performance-minded car earns its street cred without large wheels and tires. The Aveo RS show car's wheels are 19-inch, five-spoke with a gun metal metallic finish Chevrolet logo. The wheel openings reveal large Boracay Blue brake calipers.
The rear of the show car continues the sport theme, with an integrated spoiler that flows from the roof, a center-mounted exhaust and chrome exhaust tips. The exposed motorcycle-inspired rear taillamps feature tinted aluminum housings and a discreet Bowtie logo.
Spacious and stylish interior
With its matte black interior highlighted by gloss black, metallic and blue accents, the Aveo RS show car reflects as much attention to detail as the exterior. The Boracay Blue theme continues inside, with accent stitching across the dual cockpit instrument panel, front and rear door insert, steering wheel rim, gear shift boot, parking brake, leather seat bolster and even the floor mats. The integrated center stack holds the gearshift, HVAC controls and the sound system, including a USB port. Ice-blue backlighting on the audio display, telltale indicator screen and knobs augments the blue stitching.
The motorcycle inspiration also carries inside, with a round, analog tachometer set within an asymmetrical LCD readout also trimmed in milled metal with round cutouts; and round, aluminum-trimmed side vents.
The interior is as functional as it is stylish, with storage compartments in the center stack and doors. The rear seats fold flat for carrying larger items.
The Aveo RS show car is powered by the same highly efficient 138-horsepower (103 kW) 1.4L I-4 Ecotec turbocharged engine that will be available in the upcoming Chevrolet Cruze.
A six-speed manual transmission is designed to ensure the car will provide a spirited driving experience.
For the show car, designers created a special engine cover in graphite silver with a brushed aluminum insert. The coolant and power steering fluid fill caps are rimmed in ice blue, and the honeycomb vents flanking the center of the cover are matte-finished in shadow chrome and designed to match the wheel color.
Chevrolet has previously announced the new Aveo will be built at Orion Assembly in Orion Township, Mich., in 2011, a move that will restore 1,200 jobs to Southeast Michigan. Timing for retooling Orion Assembly for Aveo production is anticipated to begin in late 2010.
Chevrolet is one of America's best-known and best-selling automotive brands, and one of the fastest growing brands in the world. With fuel solutions that range from "gas-friendly to gas-free," Chevrolet has nine models that offer an EPA-estimated 30 miles per gallon or more on the highway, and offers two hybrid models. More than 2.5 million Chevrolets that run on E85 biofuel have been sold. More information can be found at www.chevrolet.com. For more information on the Volt, visit http://media.gm.com/volt.
PRELIMINARY SPECIFICATIONS: AVEO RS SHOW CAR
Chevrolet Aveo RS show car
Body style / driveline:
five-door, five-passenger front-engine transaxle, front-wheel drive subcompact car
1.4L turbocharged DOHC I-4 with VVT (138 hp / 103 kW – est.)
M32 six-speed manual
Note: Information shown is current at time of publication.