2012 Chevrolet Aveo

    Earlier this year, General Motors showed us its Chevrolet Aveo RS concept, which was supposed to be a thinly veiled version of the next-generation Aveo. Like GM's recent Cadillac CTS Coupe's transformation from concept to production, the Aveo RS concept carried over to the production 2012 Aveo, which debuts at the Paris Motor Show, almost unchanged.

    Spared a few concept touches, the 2012 Aveo is a dead ringer for the Aveo RS Concept. The front fascia of the production Aveo is, predictably, a toned-down version of the concept's in-your-face styling. The basic, aggressive shape remains, but the production car receives slightly reshaped headlights and loses the exposed projector beams. Fog lights replace the concept's lower side air vents, and the ride height has been raised to that of a normal street car. But even the hidden rear door handles made it to production.

    Chevrolet also swapped the concept's 19-inch chrome wheels for aluminum units, and with the exception of the center-exhaust and black taillights, the rear of the Aveo is virtually identical to that of the RS Concept. Overall, the new Aveo is a far sight better than GM's current Korean-built, four-door hatchback.

    As with the Aveo RS Concept, GM isn't revealing dimensions quite yet, but simply says that the new car is longer and wider than the outgoing Aveo. According to GM, this increases its interior volume to among the largest in its class.

    GM hasn't yet shown interior photos of the car (RS Concept interior pictured), but has intimated that it will feature a wraparound dash and analog/digital tach/speedometer setup -- pretty similar to the concept's interior. We'll know for sure when the car makes its public debut at the Paris Motor Show at the end of September.

    In addition to vastly improving the exterior and, hopefully, the interior of the 2012 Aveo, Chevrolet has also upgraded the Aveo's powertrain offerings. In Europe, the car will be available with a number of small, fuel-efficient four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines. A five- or six-speed manual transmission comes standard, depending on engine choice, and a six-speed automatic is optional. We wouldn't be surprised to see GM's new 1.4-liter, direct-injected I-4 find its way under the hood in normally aspirated and turbocharged forms, along with six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes. For fuel economy purposes, electric power steering has been made standard across the line.