Detroit Preview: Next-generation Chevrolet Aveo RS to appear at Cobo

On Wednesday night, Chevrolet held a media preview in Motown to discuss and show off some of what will be coming up at the Detroit Auto Show next month. Unfortunately, we were not allowed take any photos or video at the event, although General Motors officials did say we could write about anything that was discussed.
The presentation kicked off with an introduction to new Chevrolet general manager Jim Campbell who just assumed his role a week ago. Campbell and Mike Simcoe, director of exterior design, then spent the next half-hour showing off the same batch of new Chevrolets that we were shown in the GM design dome last August. All of these cars including the forthcoming Orlando MPV, Cruze, Camaro convertible, Volt and the all-new 2012 Malibu are promised to be in U.S. Chevrolet showrooms within the next 24 months. The Orlando remains pretty true to the 2008 concept, with the only real changes being to the details of the light clusters – just don't look for it at the Detroit show.

Anchoring the entr- level end of the Bowtie's lineup will be the Spark and Aveo. Campbell reaffirmed that the Spark will be coming to the U.S. in 2011, putting to rest – at least for the moment – rumors that the program had been canceled. The bigger news is the next Aveo which will get its first public viewing at next month's show. Read on after the jump for more details and observations.

[Image: The Detroit News]

At the preview, we saw the same Aveo styling buck that was displayed in August. This is the five-door hatchback version, and it shares absolutely nothing with the current car of the same name. When the refreshed version of the Aveo hatch debuted a couple of years ago, AB editor in chief Neff described it as having "fallen down the ugly tree and hit every branch." The current model's oversized dual port grille exaggerates how narrow the car looks and does it no favors.

The new Aveo most certainly does not suffer this problem. In talking of the new Aveo, Simcoe described the model's face as having "deliberate aggression." The grille is both shorter and broader than the present car, a strategy which works with the increased width of the new model to lend it a "wide, planted stance." The corners get four individual round headlights and the flanks of the car feature some of the sculpting found on the Spark, albeit less exaggerated. It does feature the same hidden door handles on the C-pillars as the Spark.

Simcoe spoke of the desire to get some of the "hot hatch" look into the new Aveo – even in the base model. It will be very interesting to see how customers react to this new model in contrast to the Ford Fiesta and Honda Fit, its primary competitors. Just to underscore the Aveo's hot hatch flavor, when the car is shown in Detroit in a few weeks, it will be shown in RS trim. The RS will be powered by a turbocharged EcoTec, engine although no further details were provided. We're guessing it will be the same 1.4-liter turbo that is slated to be optional in the Cruze. With 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque, it should be enough to make the Aveo RS a real mover.

Since that same powerplant will be made at GM's Flint South engine plant and the Aveo will be built at the automaker's nearby Orion assembly plant, this combination would make sense. Of course, since this is America, the hatch will also be joined by a four-door sedan, but we were only shown a photo of that bodystyle. Frankly, based upon what we've seen, we'd take the hatch and can't wait to see the RS in the metal.

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