Chevrolet Aveo RS concept – Click above for high-res image gallery
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 if gas prices don't 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.
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.