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Chevrolet Aveo RS at 2010 Detroit Auto Show

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119662221 1425510095436 jpeg
  • Looks like: The next-generation Aveo, dressed up for “The Fast and the Furious” tryouts
  • Defining characteristics: Snub-nosed hatchback design, turbocharged four-cylinder engine, digital/analog instrument pod
  • Ridiculous features: Nothing that you can’t already get from the aftermarket
  • Chance of being mass-produced: Maybe not this RS version, but a basic model will hit dealers

The Chevrolet Aveo RS is technically a “show car” designed to share with consumers the ways in which the upcoming production model could be modified. But if you remove the aggressive styling cues — large vents in the front bumper, 19-inch alloy wheels and center-mounted exhaust pipes, to name a few — you’re looking at the next-generation Aveo hatchback.

Although Chevrolet showed reporters — including myself — near-production-ready versions of the Aveo hatchback and sedan at an event leading up to the Detroit auto show, the automaker said only the Aveo RS show car will be on display in Detroit.

The Aveo RS features a version of Chevrolet’s signature twin-port grille, but the new circular headlights on either side of it give the car an entirely different look from its Chevrolet siblings. The production Aveo’s headlights are a bit toned down from the ones you see here; they don’t have the BMW-like halos that the RS gets.

The overall profile of the Aveo RS — with its snub nose and forward-raked C-pillar — is essentially the same as the production car, which means the new Aveo will be a pretty sporty-looking hatchback even if it doesn’t come with the RS’ appearance and performance bits. Some of those components include large brake calipers painted Boracay Blue to match the car’s exterior and a liftgate spoiler.

The current Aveo is one of the most affordable cars available today, and its basic interior reflects that fact. The Aveo RS shows Chevrolet intends to raise the style factor of the car’s cabin, as an all-new instrument pod in front of the steering wheel incorporates a digital speedometer and analog tachometer. New controls in the middle of the dashboard resemble the ones in Chevrolet’s new Cruze compact sedan.

The front-wheel-drive Aveo RS is powered by a turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder that makes 138 horsepower. It’s the same engine that will be offered in the Cruze, and it teams with a six-speed manual transmission. It’s unclear whether this turbocharged engine will be offered in production Aveos.

The Aveo has been a source of cheap wheels for car shoppers for years, but the Aveo RS indicates Chevrolet wants to make it something more than just an affordable choice. It’s too early to know how the new Aveo will be priced, but from what we can see from the show car, the new Aveo looks much better positioned to challenge models like the Honda Fit and Nissan Versa.

More photos below.

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Mike Hanley has more than 20 years of experience reporting on the auto industry. His primary focus is new vehicles, and he's currently a Senior Road Test Editor overseeing expert car reviews and comparison tests. He previously managed Editorial content in the Research section. Email Mike Hanley

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