General Motors has had to work overtime to keep up with the buzz surrounding rival Ford's decision to import the European version of the Ford Fiesta compact. Rising public interest in inexpensive and fuel-efficient small cars has helped fuel the media's recent love affair with the Ford Fiesta, and as a result GM has done its best to ensure that Chevrolet isn't left out of the picture entirely when it comes to exciting new urban car options.
Chevrolet will be whetting the appetites of entry-level car buyers when it showcases the Chevrolet Aveo RS concept (pictured left) at the 2010 Detroit International Auto Show, which opens the second week of January. Built in Korea and rebranded for American consumption, the current Chevrolet Aveo hasn't exactly set hearts on fire with its tepid looks and thrifty yet uninspiring performance. Set to debut mid-2010, the new Chevrolet Aveo RS will derive much of its styling from the far more interesting RS concept, which features muscular angles and genuinely attractive front and rear clip designs. In short, the Chevrolet Aveo RS finally provides budget-conscious shoppers with a vehicle that they wouldn't be embarrassed to park in their driveway - namely, one that doesn't scream 'cheap' at the top of its lungs.
The interior of the Chevrolet Aveo RS also trumps that of the departing design by leaps and bounds. A funky square speedometer and round tach share the space directly in front of the driver, while a puffed up center console offers stereo and heating / cooling controls, along with space for a vehicle information screen. Seats are also improved to hug the body instead of providing the park bench-like support endemic to previous Aveo efforts. In the power department, the compact hatchback will be outfitted with a 1.4-liter, four cylinder engine that makes use of a turbocharger to produce a stout 138 horsepower and 148 lb-ft of torque. Matched to a six-speed gearbox, the RS trim finally gives the Chevrolet Aveo a desirable model that will draw younger buyers into showrooms.
Not only will Chevrolet hit the Ford Fiesta head on with the improved Chevrolet Aveo RS, but it will also offer an even smaller and more efficient option called the Chevrolet Spark (pictured in green). Currently on sale in other markets around the world as the Chevrolet Beat, General Motors has confirmed that the Spark will eventually make it to the United States in order to provide a new tier of inexpensive motoring for price-conscious drivers. The current Chevrolet Beat is a four-door mini-hatch that combines value with fuel economy, as its 1.2-liter, four-cylinder engine consumes gasoline at the rate of 44 miles per gallon.
While its reduced dimensions and stingy 80 horsepower output, the Chevrolet Spark will most likely only be popular in major cities where parking is at a premium and top speeds are largely limited by traffic congestion and not the engine found under the hood. However, with the emergence of the Tata Nano as a possible competitor in the near future, General Motors is covering all of its compact car bases with this new small-car strategy. The one-two punch of the Chevrolet Aveo RS and the Chevrolet Spark will no doubt have more than a few buyers who were previously considering Hyundai or Honda options to at least take a test drive in a GM vehicle.