Chevrolet Toughens Up the Meek Aveo :

The Chevrolet Aveo RS is the automotive equivalent of the kid who, fed up with being picked on, learns karate and starts kicking ass.  General Motors wheeled into the North American International Auto Show with an Aveo concept that gives the tired econobox an aggressive look, a turbocharged engine and a silly suffix. The Aveo RS strongly hints at the 2012 Aveo that GM is prepping for battle against the sharp new Ford Fiesta in the increasingly competitive subcompact market. “Our intent with the Aveo RS show car is to demonstrate Chevrolet’s vision and design potential for a small car we think customers will love,” said Jim Campbell, Chevrolet general manager.

General Motors didn’t specifically say what the suffix stands for, and though we know it means “Rally Sport” when talking about, say Camaros, this is an Aveo. It’s gotta mean “Really Small.” In any case, the RS is longer, wider and more spacious than the current Aveo. It ditches the bland forget-it-as-soon-as-you’ve-seen-it styling for sharp lines, deep creases and an aggressive stance. It rides on 19-inch wheels, sports a dual exhaust and wears a big spoiler. Chevrolet is clearly aiming the car at younger buyers and hoping the tuner crowd latches onto it.

There’s more of the same inside, where GM designers laid on gloss black paint with metallic details and blue accents. There are some motorcycle influences both inside — a big analog tach flanked by an asymmetrical digital speedo — and outside, where you’ll find brushed aluminum bodies housing the headlights and taillights. “The Aveo RS show car demonstrates how progressive design can inject personality into a small car.”

The General’s given the Aveo RS some stones to go with the swagger. The 1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec engine under the hood puts down 138 horsepower. It’s bolted to a six-speed manual gearbox. You’ll find the same engine in the Chevrolet Cruze.

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