Next baby Chevrolet to get hot hatchback-inspired styling
6 June 2007

Chevrolet is gearing up for a complete overhaul of its model line-up starting next year, at the very bottom of its product folder – with an all-new, better-looking Matiz.Autocar has been privy to an advanced viewing of Chevrolet's next city car, and can report that there's a world of difference between it and the rather vanilla, conservative styling of the current car.Chevrolet's design team has clearly taken the decision to junk the Matiz' bubble-car look for a more contemporary, hot-hatchback-inspired design that's sure to win the car UK fans among the younger, budget car buying fraternity.

New Matiz: more spacious, with show car looks

The new Matiz bears a close resemblance to one of the trio of city car concepts shown at the New York motor show in April. Specifically, it's the Beat concept that it'll look most like, the street-styled urban 'pocket rocket'. Unlike the Beat, though, the Matiz will be available in both three- and five-door body styles.Both cars will be larger than the current Matiz. Changes in the law in the Korean market, a crucial one for Chevy parent General Motors, will allow the Matiz to grow slightly without attracting an additional tax burden for the motorist. That means it'll have roughly the same dimensions as the Kia Picanto.

New bigger brother

Next spring though, six months before we even see the new Matiz, will bring the launch of a slightly larger new Chevy supermini called Aveo, to be built in Poland. A re-skin of today’s Kalos, it will feature much sharper styling and the interior from the Aveo four-door launched last year on the continent and in the US.The hatchback version of the Aveo is tipped for a motor show launch later this year, possibly at Bologna in Italy, Chevrolet’s biggest market in Europe.A small capacity diesel engine will feature for the first time, possibly a Korean-engineered, three-cylinder version of the new 2.0-litre diesel, with a capacity of around 1.5-litres.Chevy might have been expected to use Fiat’s 1.3-litre Multijet, as used in the Corsa, and available thanks to the GM/Fiat powertrain joint venture. But Fiat is understood to have limited its use to Vauxhall and Opel in Europe.

Next Lacetti aimed at Cee'd

Late '08 will also see the third of Chevy’s make-or-break cars launched, the new Lacetti, whose brief is to be more competitive against value-for-money hatches like the Kia Cee’d and Citroen C4.Launch timing for the new Lacetti will be very close to that of the new Matiz. “Both products are going to arrive very close together and roll out quickly in 08/09,” said a company insider. For a reliable guide to its looks, see the Ultra WTCC concept that starred at the 2006 Paris motor show (see gallery). Expect the finished Lacetti to feature very similar surface language and styling themes to the Ultra concept; the blistered arches, bootlid spoiler and front and rear diffusers won't make it.

Julian Rendell

Click here to read Julian's blog on Chevrolet's ambitious European expansion plans

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