The current Chevrolet Aveo never set the world on fire. It filled its place in rental-car ranks and the third-car slot of suburban driveways, but no one ever really got passionate about it.

If General Motors has anything to say about it, that's going to change. The production version of the 2012 Chevrolet Aveo subcompact will be revealed at the 2010 Paris Motor Show--coming up at the end of the month--and it's meant to excite.

With fierce competition from the 2011 Ford Fiesta staring it in the face, GM has gotten serious about subcompacts. It will build the 2012 Aveo in the U.S., which is a bold move considering the old mantra that small cars equal small profits.

The Aveo's lines were previewed by the Aveo RS styling concept that Chevrolet displayed at January's Detroit Auto Show, but it's still pretty rakish. (We showed you an uncovered Aveo test car in July, by the way.)

Chevrolet says the new Aveo is longer and wider than the current model, with the intent of winning "best in class" laurels for interior volume and cargo space.

Of course the interior shares the current Chevrolet look--unlike the previous model, whose instrument panel came off as generic Asian-economy-car. The center console offers blue backlighting, and the dashboard wraps into the doors.

Power for U.S. models will likely be provided by a 1.4-liter engine--the same one offered with a turbocharger in the compact 2011 Chevy Cruze--though it may forgo the turbo (as it does in the 2011 Volt). Output is likely to be somewhere between 100 and 115 horsepower.

Unusually for such a small car, the engine will be paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. That competes neatly with Ford's six-speed PowerShift automatic manual, and we look forward to comparing driving feel between the two technologies.

The usual suite of electronic aids--ABS braking, electronic stability control, and new electric power steering for better fuel economy--come standard. Premium features include available USB, auxiliary-in and Bluetooth functionality.

Full details and pricing will be released closer to the launch date, which will be sometime next year. There will also be an Aveo sedan, as there is now, though for the Paris show, Chevy is showing only the five-door hatchback model.