Chevrolet believes it has rolled out a secret weapon that could get it noticed in a segment of the market long overwhelmingly dominated by import rivals such as Honda and Toyota.
The U.S. maker’s new Cruze Eco model, equipped with a manual transmission, has been rated at 42 miles per gallon by the Environmental Protection Agency, giving the 2011 Chevy a solid lead over the 35 mpg Toyota Corolla and 34 mpg Honda Civic – as well as competing compacts from Ford, Hyundai and other manufacturers.
Chevrolet is hoping to make major inroads in the compact passenger car segment with the so far well-reviews Cruze. (For TheDetroitBureau.com’s review of the 2011 Chevy Cruze, Click Here.) The new model replaces the old Cobalt and other lackluster offerings before it that had cost General Motors dominance in the critical compact niche.
Cruze has been praised for a variety of attributes, including both its exterior and interior design and refinement, and for its ride and handling. But at a time when fuel prices are nudging $3.00 a gallon in much of the country – and nearing $4.00 in parts of California – fuel economy is rapidly rising on the list of consumer demands.
With the standard four-cylinder Ecotec engine and automatic transmission, the Chevy Cruze delivers 36 mpg on the highway. The Cruze Eco with an automatic gearbox beats that by 1 mile per gallon. But it’s the Eco with a manual transmission but pulls off the big number, hitting 42 mpg on the highway, which is actually a full 2 mpg better than the maker had predicted going into the EPA testing round.
Credit several factors for the big number, including underbody panels and a rear spoiler, both designed to reduce wind resistance, as well as lightweight alloy wheels shod with low rolling-resistance tires.
Around town, the government estimates, drivers should get 28 mpg, which is still 2 mpg better than the key competitors, including Corolla, Civic and Ford’s Fusion.
But buyers will have to do some calculations to justify the Eco package. That version of the Cruze comes in at $18,995, compared with the $16,995 price tag on the base 2011 Chevrolet Cruze.
Tags: 2011 chevrolet cruze review, 42 mpg eco, Chevy Cruze Eco, Honda Civic, Toyota Corolla, auto news, car news, chevrolet cruze eco, chevrolet news, chevy news, compact car mileage, compact car reviews, paul a. eisenstein, paul eisenstein, thedetroitbureau