Almost a year ago, we brought you word that GM insiders were anxious to see a return to fast, small cars, including a possible Chevrolet Cruze SS. Today we have more word that the push for performance compacts is alive and well, and once again the Cruze is the focal point.

It's a natural choice for a performance compact--the existing 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injected LNF engine from the defunct Pontiac Solstice GXP and Saturn Sky Redline and currently riding around in the Cobalt SS is an almost direct bolt-in, offering a stout 260 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. That should be ample power, even if slightly detuned, for a bruiser of a compact.

The next-generation Aveo is also mentioned in the new report, though it would likely find a 1.4- or 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder under its hood. We've already seen a preview of what a hot-hatch 2011 Aveo might look like in the form of the Aveo RS, displayed around the car show circuit over the last year. Packing a potent 138-horsepower 1.4-liter turbocharged engine and wearing aggressive aerodynamic and exterior styling modifications from the standard car, the RS hasn't yet been earmarked for production.

Adding value and sportiness to its more compact lines could add buyers that are interested in the larger and more expensive SS and, in the case of Cadillac, V-series, vehicles but can't yet spring for the larger sticker price. Unfortunately, the new information still doesn't contain a timeframe or any solid plans on what to expect.

Whatever the end result, it's good to see the troubles of the last two years haven't put the desire for fast mainstream cars on ice at the General.

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