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Your Best – and Worst – High-Mileage Car Deals

Some cars save your gas – but cost an arm and a leg.

by on Apr.16, 2012

The 2012 Mazda3 was the maker's first model to use the new SkyActiv technology.

The recent run-up in fuel prices has put the spotlight on hybrids, battery cars and other high-mileage vehicles.  But while it may sound great to get 40, even 50 miles a gallon, are you spending an arm and a leg to save far less than you might expect on your annual gasoline bill?

Some hybrids carry a premium that can push up to $5,000 or more.  The penalty is even higher with plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, or BEVs.  Even on many “eco” models using relatively conventional gasoline power you could be in for a stiff price penalty.  But is it worth it?

Not necessarily, if you’re simply trying to save money and not really worried about going “green.”  But there are some models that minimize your up-front investment and deliver you savings fast.

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“The price of gas has consumers thinking about fuel economy but there’s a financial investment involved with most of these fuel-saving packages,” says Jesse Toprak, Vice President of Market Intelligence at TrueCar.com. “It’s important to compare the improvements in fuel economy and the extra costs of the package before purchasing a new vehicle.”

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Chevrolet Cruze Eco To Top 40 MPG

Should give Chevy compact segment leadership.

by on Nov.12, 2010

With a manual gearbox the 2011 Chevy Cruze Eco hits 42 mpg, 2 better than forecast.

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.

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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.

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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.   (more…)