An admittedly bolder-than-life precursor to the next-generation Chevy Aveo, the slick RS Concept does give a good idea of what to expect when the 2012 production version hits Chevy stores in early 2011. While virtually all of its detail elements are enhanced to "show car" spec, the upcoming volume-build Aveo will have the same basic size and shape as the RS, making its longer, wider and more spacious than the existing car with an interior that offers a more contemporary look and allows buyers a far greater level of personalization potential.

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Finished in metallic Boracay Blue, the Aveo RS Concept expands on the current Chevrolet design themes that begin with its more-aggressive front end treatment that matches upsized twin grilles and foglamps integrated into its prominent brake cooling ducts set off by motorcycle-inspired bi-xenon headlamps and brushed/polished aluminum trim bits. A high beltline, low roofline and well-defined side character contours help reinforce that dynamic flair, which gets resolved in a distinctively angled C-pillar that also hides the rear-door handles, twin-stacked rear taillamps, an integrated roof spoiler and dual center-exit exhaust outlets. As a final touch, the RS Concept wears its low-profile tires on custom 19-inch/five-spoke alloy wheels finished in Gunmetal Metallic.

Underhood, the front-drive Aveo RS packs the same 138-horsepower/1.4-liter turbocharged Ecotec four that will be used in the new Chevy Cruze. Here, it's backed by a six-speed manual transmission. Inside, the show car complements matte and gloss black finishes with Boracay Blue accents and ice-blue backlighting on the center stack of its twin-cowl dash. The instrument cluster, also motorcycle-inspired and similar to the one that appears in the Chevy Spark, is an asymmetrical design that teams a round analog tachometer with a digital-readout speedometer in a milled-metal bezel. Nicely formed sport buckets display torso-hugging promise up front while the split rear bench folds flat to add extra utility.

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Although the RS Concept goes one step beyond what's likely to appear in the showroom, it does reflect the future of Chevy's small-car thinking. Beyond its more evocative styling, Chevy promises that the new Aveo will boast higher quality materials, a superior level of fit/finish and a roster of standards and options aimed at luring even more youthful buyers with a package that will deliver superior overall value. In presenting the RS show car, Jim Campbell, Chevrolet general manager, said that he hopes it will demonstrate that "we are as serious about redefining the Aveo and its place in the small-car segment as we were about reinventing the Malibu." If Chevy does manage to make that kind of giant leap, it should bode well for the division's future.

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