Chevrolet may have been quick to return to the B-car segment in 2004, but timing isn't always everything. Shortly after the Korean-built Aveo hit the market, competitors -- namely Honda and Nissan -- launched subcompacts that outpaced the Chevy in terms of style and sophistication. GM promises that won't happen with the next-generation Aveo -- and if this Aveo RS concept, which debuts at the 2010 Detroit auto show is any indication, it's dead serious.
Apart from the gaping split grille (a hallmark of modern Chevys), the Aveo RS bears little resemblance to today's five-door Aveo. If anything, it seems designers channeled the WTCC Ultra concept from 2006: many cues from that show car, including flared fenders, a raked beltline, and a wide track wrapped beneath flared fenders, carry over into the Aveo. Nineteen-inch wheels, exposed projector lighting, and a center-exit exhaust add cosmetic flair, but unless GM plans on building a hot-hatch version, don't expect these touches to reach production.
The interior, however, looks ready to roll off the assembly line. The majority of the swoopy dashboard -- a stark contrast from the bland form in today's Aveos -- is cribbed from other small Chevys, including the Spark and Cruze. The LCD display may appear to be a fanciful touch, but designers lobbied for it to appear in the production version of the Spark, so it may also carry into the Aveo.
GM won't reveal the exact dimensions of the Aveo RS, but will say the concept is longer, and wider than the current hatchback. That isn't surprising -- in order to make room for the miniscule Spark in North America, GM wanted to enlarge the car, and move it to the next-generation Gamma platform, which will ultimately be shared with the next Opel Corsa. In show-car form, the Aveo RS makes use of the same 138-hp turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 destined for the Cruze, and channels power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual transmission.
Look for most -- if not all -- these details to carry into the next-generation Aveo, which will be built in Orion Township, Michigan. Production is expected to begin in early 2011.