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Chevrolet Cruze Eco
Cruze Eco gets better fuel economy than many popular hybrids

When most people think about green cars, they usually think of hybrids and EVs that are currently making headlines. The fact of the matter is that while most hybrid cars certainly get good fuel economy there are several subcompacts and compacts on the market that offer great fuel economy with standard powertrains.

Chevrolet earlier this year announced a new variant of its new compact car called the Cruze Eco. The Cruze Eco has been rated for 42mpg on the highway and offers 28mpg fuel economy in the city for 6-speed manual versions. An automatic transmission is also offered on the vehicle and it is rated for 26mpg in the city and 37mpg on the highway.

The Cruze Eco uses an Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine that produces 138hp and 148 lb-ft of torque between 1,850 rpm and 4,900 rpm. Chevy claim that that the motor was also designed with an eye towards being smooth and quiet.

Several features contribute to the fuel economy of the Cruze Eco including special low rolling resistance tires. The lightweight 17-inch alloy wheels and special tires helped shave 21.2 pounds total from the Cruze Eco compared to standard models with 16-inch wheels.

Chevy also spent lots of time in the wind tunnel to increase the aerodynamics of the Cruze Eco. Chevy says that over 500 hours of testing in the wind tunnel lead to a reduction in aerodynamic drag of 10% compared to non-Eco models. The Eco version has an underbody tray that guides air under the car and has a special grill with more closeouts to improve aerodynamics. The front air dam of the vehicle is lower and it has a special rear spoiler as well.

The Cruze Eco is the most fuel-efficient small cars around, beating out the fuel-sipping sub-compact Ford Fiesta rated for 40mpg, the Ford Focus rated for 35mpg (although the 2012 Focus is supposed to approach 40mpg), and most of the hybrids on the road including the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid, and the Toyota Camry Hybrid.

The Cruze Eco will hit dealers in January at $18,895.

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Bie Deal
By tng on 11/12/2010 11:24:10 AM , Rating: 0
I know I am going to get flamed for this comment, but big deal. My current car gets 42mpg and is 10 years old.

Before all of the usual suspects chime in about how much safer this car is over a 10 year old Honda, I don't really care. If the Cruze has side airbags, chances are it wont save me at the speed which I do most of my traveling. Also most of those people out there concerned with safety are the same ones that I watch blasting through traffic at 80 when it is obviously not safe and making numerous lane changes just to get ahead of the car in front of them.

I contend that in 10 years the my car will probably be still running with over 300K on it (like my last 2 Civics) and all those people who bought one of these safe cars will have long ago traded it in because it just had to many problems.

GM was crap long before they became Government Motors. Problem is that about 4 years ago they started to make a turn for the better with their vehicle quality, then they were taken over by Obama. Now there is no incentive to get it right anymore since most of the employees know that in essence their job is backed by the US government.

RE: Bie Deal
By Fred242 on 11/12/2010 11:37:14 AM , Rating: 2
Just think how much better it would be as a diesel and remember also the lower energy cost of refining diesel fuel

RE: Bie Deal
By FITCamaro on 11/12/2010 11:47:13 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah well until the government gets out of the way and allows diesels to actually be built without insanely expensive exhaust systems, diesels unfortunately will never take off.

I'm with you though, I want more diesels fed by homegrown fuel.

RE: Bie Deal
By DerekZ06 on 11/12/2010 12:48:32 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know if I am right here, someone tell me. But doesn't the government not want diesels because it needs to be reserved for our trains and big trucks?

RE: Bie Deal
By FITCamaro on 11/12/2010 3:03:52 PM , Rating: 2
No they don't like diesels because they view them as dirty. Our air quality standards are higher than Europe's and nearly everything over there is diesel.

Yes another part of the problem is we don't make a lot of diesel. But that could easily change if, again, the government would get out of the way.

RE: Bie Deal
By tng on 11/12/2010 3:17:40 PM , Rating: 2
FIT is correct. After several trips to Austria and Northern Italy, I realized that the smog there can be much worse than even LA. I wanted to take a weekend trip to see the Austrian Alps and was surprised to find that during the Summer you had to get pretty close to even see them on some days because of the smog.

Still beautiful, just not what I thought.

RE: Bie Deal
By thurston on 11/12/2010 7:59:33 PM , Rating: 2
I think you just gave a good reason not to have diesels without very good exhausts.

RE: Bie Deal
By Kazinji on 11/14/2010 10:58:38 AM , Rating: 2
NOx makes smog, diesel puts out more NOx(Why there is so many special exhausts for diesel, Mercs BluTEC, and Honda that makes ammonia to reacts to NOx). But on the flip side diesel is more efficient then gasoline motors. Also in Europe diesel is taxed less the gasoline making diesel cars more attractive to people, why there is so many there and so few here where diesel is usually more then gasoline

RE: Bie Deal
By FITCamaro on 11/12/2010 11:45:52 AM , Rating: 2
Your car was also built before the change in emissions standards outlawed "lean cruise" features and safety standards have gone up in the past 10 years.

But do you want a cookie?

RE: Bie Deal
By tng on 11/12/2010 2:35:00 PM , Rating: 2
What type of cookie?

RE: Bie Deal
By mindless1 on 11/15/2010 3:34:46 PM , Rating: 2
.. and the point should be, we should be able to pick the amount of safety features and emissions too, paying for WHAT. WE. WANT. instead of having it crammed down our throats.

By all means let's allow, not force, the automakers to make something expensive, heavy and anemic for the green heads IF it will sell in high enough numbers to be a viable model in their product lines. Let's also suggest that it can travel no more than 40 miles on a tank or charge so those green heads end up staying home more often if they think use of fuel or energy is so bad that they opt not to use it themselves instead of just a little less... as if such a minor decrease matters in the grand scheme of things.

It doesn't matter if we run out of gas in 2180 or can go till 2185! Either way, we are not building infrastructure for more electrical consumption so we are putting the cart before the horse, doing everything backwards.

RE: Bie Deal
By Spuke on 11/12/10, Rating: -1
RE: Bie Deal
By tng on 11/12/2010 3:05:57 PM , Rating: 2
You can't compare your mpg with the EPA standard unless you're driving the EPA test everyday.
Well I don't really know what the old and new test procedures are, never checked. However like allot of us here, I do drive 100 miles everyday just as my commute. I do know what mileage in the real world is. Isn't this why the EPA standards were changed, to reflect more real world conditions?

At least for me, EPA mileage estimates are only the starting points and typically will bear no resemblance to what I will see.

The fact is the Cruze is a MUCH better built, better engineered car than your old Honda....

Experience with close to 500 GM rental cars over the last 10 years says you are wrong. Yes rentals get abused, but about 9 or 10 times I have gotten GM cars straight off the truck at the airport. All have had real issues, things literally fell off of a couple of them.

One GM rental (47 miles on the odometer, I was the first renter to drive it) completely died in the middle of an intersection at night, couldn't even turn on the hazards, had to be pushed by a Texas State Trooper to safety.

Another GM rental, 2 days into the rental, lost the air conditioning, at the airport they said that 6 cars from the same shipment had the same issue.

I had a drivers side door fall off of a brand new Chevy with 50 miles on it, used rope and duct tape to keep it on when I took it back to the airport, a CHP officer followed me there to make sure it would not cause a issue if it came loose, really embarrassing BTW.

I could go on.... but that is where my reasoning comes from, personal experience. Is it a wonder why I think that my 10 year old Civic will probably outlast this new GM model?

As I said, about 4 years ago I saw a change in GM quality for the better, seemed they finally got it. I fear that now that they know they are "To Big To Fail", there is no incentive for them to build better cars.

For a bit of background, I am typically on the road about 75% of the year. Last year my cumulative total of rental days from differing rental companies was about 170 days. Some of these were rented for less than a day, some I kept for up to 2 months. GM, Ford, Nissan, Toyota, Hyundai, large, small, I have driven allot of cars.

RE: Bie Deal
By Spuke on 11/12/2010 6:19:08 PM , Rating: 1
Experience with close to 500 GM rental cars over the last 10 years says you are wrong. Yes rentals get abused, but about 9 or 10 times I have gotten GM cars straight off the truck at the airport. All have had real issues, things literally fell off of a couple of them.
Although considerable, your "evidence" is anecdotal. In my experience, I find current GM cars to be of good quality with my present Solstice the most trouble-free car I've ever owned. The GM cars previous to 5 years ago (with the odd exception of Buick) were varying degrees of junk. GM has improved immensely and I have no problems giving them a shot based on that.

I think Ford is doing a much better job and would be willing to go over to their camp. I'm not brand loyal at all so it's easier for me to switch between makes and I carry no grudges. It's just a car and even if it was really good, I may move on anyways because another car may have more desirable features. I like the 2011 Mustang and am keeping an eye on those. The rear suspension is a huge turn off and I don't want to give up the double wishbones of my present car. Any quirk of the Mustang's rear end would piss me off. Especially since my car has no quirks now. A couple of years of SCCA victories says it all.

If I were on the road as much as you, high fuel economy would be a no brainer and I'm surprised you're not driving a Prius or diesel VW. You would make back you're money a lot faster than your average driver. It might be worth the extra upfront expensive.

RE: Bie Deal
By tng on 11/12/2010 6:52:16 PM , Rating: 2
The GM cars previous to 5 years ago (with the odd exception of Buick) were varying degrees of junk. GM has improved immensely and I have no problems giving them a shot based on that.
While I agree with you on this, my fear is that now they will lapse back into the mentality that drove down quality before.

I know what you are saying about anecdotal evidence, and I would agree here to, but my experience has been so consistently bad with GM. I have also driven allot of Fords both here in in Europe and found them to be fine, even the ones that were beat up.

The little car that I currently have is a Chevy Cobalt 4 door. I will say that the sound system in it is FANTASTIC. However I am not impressed by the mileage which is considerably less than the Focus that I had on my previous trip. Also the controls for the radio and heater are clumsy and cheap. It also has something that all of this model has, a bad engine control. While at idle it will missfire about once every 30 seconds.

I will say that I liked the last Focus I had much better because of the Sync package that allowed me to use the Bluetooth for phone calls. Can't wait to see one of the new setups in the newly announced models. I will admit that I am a junky for that kind of thing.

RE: Bie Deal
By mindless1 on 11/15/2010 3:41:37 PM , Rating: 2
Cars across the board will go down in quality! Honda too for US market, because they're all trying to reach the low emissions, high safety, environmentally friendly BS thrust upon them - while raising price as little as possible.

My experience with US automaker quality is they have a higher % of initial defects, but once you fix those defects the car will last an appropriate # of years for the cost:benefit ratio to be near the imports.

RE: Bie Deal
By dubldwn on 11/12/2010 2:22:23 PM , Rating: 3
The 2010 Honda Civic HX manual (the most fuel efficient Civic that year) got 34mpg combined using the current testing methodology, just like this Chevy. However, this car is larger, safer, more attractive, more powerful, and more comfortable. Should we have expected more over the last 10 years? I dunno. Maybe.

RE: Bie Deal
By goku on 11/13/2010 8:30:49 PM , Rating: 2
There is no 2010 Civic HX manual as the HX was discontinued sometime in 2005. Now there was a Civic HX from 1996-2005 but the fuel economy rating does vary a bit in those vehicles with the '96 getting a 36mpg combined, the '00 getting 33mpg combined and the '01-'05 getting 34mpg combined. Part of the reason for the somewhat abysmal fuel economy of the HX over the 92-95 VX is due to the shorter gearing of the HX. I.e. the HX engine spins at a higher RPM while cruising on the highway compared to the VX. VX has a final drive of 3.25 and the HX has a final drive of 3.722 for the '96-'00 and something like 3.842 for the '01-'05 HX. It's true that a lack of lean burn in newer cars hurts the fuel economy but making these cars heavy and giving them short gearing and high displacement engines to compensate hurts more so.

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