General Motors have announced the official fuel economy number for the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco, a very fuel efficient version of the Cruze. According to GM, the car gets an EPA-estimated 28 MPG in the city and 42 MPG on the highway, both values available for manual transmission models. This is pretty impressive, considering the value is better than that of hybrids like Ford Fusion Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid or Toyota Camry Hybrid.
In order to get the fuel consumption as low as possible, GM engineers focused on three aspects: aerodynamics, weight reduction and powertrain upgrades. A large part of the aerodynamics improvements were “borrowed” from the Chevrolet Volt and include a lower front grille air shutter (closes at high speeds and opens at low speeds) and ultra-low resistance 17-inch Goodyear tires. All of these efforts were worth it, because GM says only the aerodynamics improvements contribute to a 6 MPG economy.
In order to reduce weight as much as possible, 42 changes were made, which brought down the car’s total weight to 3,009 pounds (1,365 kg), more than 200 pounds (100 kg) less than the regular Cruze 1LT. These changes include reduced weld flanges, thinner sheet metal gauge and lighter 17-inch alloy wheels.
As for the powertrain, the Chevrolet Cruze Eco is powered by a 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged engine that delivers 138 hp (103 kW) and 148 lb-ft (200 Nm) of torque between 1,850 and 4,900 rpm. The engine is mated to an extremely optimized six-speed manual transmission, which, according to the press release “includes aggressive ratios for first and second gear coupled with a highly efficient, “taller” sixth-gear ratio for highway driving.” Also, a six-speed automatic gearbox is available, but it increases fuel consumption to 26 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway.
“Chevrolet Cruze continues to redefine the compact segment, offering class-leading standard safety features, upscale amenities – as well as hybrid-like fuel economy without the price,” said Chuck Russell, vehicle line director. “The Cruze Eco is in a league of its own and will challenge perceptions of the efficiency available in a more affordable non-hybrid.”
“We left no stone unturned or piece of sheet metal un-weighed,” said Russell. “Our engineers were comprehensive and thorough when it came to evaluating and modifying the aspects of the car’s performance that contribute to fuel economy.”
The Chevrolet Cruze Eco is scheduled to go on sale in January 2011, with an MSRP of $18,895 including destination charges.