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First Look: 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

Hybrid mileage without the hybrid?

by on Mar.28, 2010

Chevrolet claims the 2011 Cruze Eco will deliver 40 mpg on the highway.

There’s a downside to buying a hybrid.  Sure, you get significantly better fuel economy, but that’s offset by the premium you pay for a hybrid powertrain.

But Chevrolet claims you can get the added mileage without that penalty from the 2011 Chevy Cruze Eco.

Set to debut at the upcoming New York International Auto Show, the Cruze Eco delivers an estimaed 40 mpg on the highway, making it best-in-class among gasoline-powered compact offerings.

The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco is powered by a turbocharged version of Chevy’s 1.4-liter Ecotec inline-four and mated to a six-speed manual transmission.  (The automatic is expected to get slightly less than 40 mpg.)

Of course, highway mileage is only part of the picture, but Chevy won’t be releasing fuel economy figures for the City cycle, or for the Eco with an automatic gearbox, until closer to the car’s launch, later this year.

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To achieve what is still a significant highway mileage milestone, Chevrolet engineers put a premium on aerdynamics. Among other things, the 2011 Cruze Eco features: A lower front grille shutter that closes at higher speeds; A lower front air dam extension, underbody panels and a rear spoiler; Lower ride height; Special tires designed to minimize rolling resistance.  

    Chevy will introduce both high-mileage Eco and RS versions of the 2011 Cruze at the NY Auto Show.

    The rear axle is also designed to optimize fuel economy on the manual gearbox model, though the 211 Chevrolet Cruze Eco still delivers acceptable performance.  The 0 to 60 time for the stick is 10 seconds, and 9 seconds for the 6-speed automatic.

    Its U.S. launch delayed for a year, the new Chevy Cruze has already proven to be a much-needed success for General Motors in Europe.  When it finally makes it Stateside for 2011, the compact will be offered in a variety of trims, including the Eco, LS, LT and LTZ.

    Chevrolet will also reveal the Cruze RS appearance package at the New York Auto Show.  It will feature unique fascias, rocker moldings and fog lamps, as well as a rear spoiler.  An upgraded instrument cluster is also part of the package.

    Even the base 2011 Cruze will offer more content than buyers would find on similar-sized General Motors offerings of the past.  Standard equipment includes 10 airbags and the StabiliTrak stability control system.

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