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Chevrolet Cruze Eco achieves EPA-rated 42 mpg on highway (updated table)

The non-hybrid 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco delivers an EPA-estimated 42 mpg on the highway (manual transmission models), with city fuel economy of 28 mpg. Cruze Eco’s highway fuel economy beats non-hybrid segment competitors—including 23% greater highway fuel economy than the Honda Civic—as well as the Ford Fiesta subcompact and hybrid models, including the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Nissan Altima Hybrid and Toyota Camry Hybrid. The Cruze Eco carries an MSRP of US$18,895 (including destination charge). It goes on sale in January.

Cruze’s engineers focused on aerodynamic performance (with some improvements derivative of GM’s work with the Volt), mass optimization and powertrain enhancements.

We left no stone unturned or piece of sheet metal un-weighed. 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.

—Chuck Russell, vehicle line director

Aerodynamics. Aerodynamic improvements over non-Eco manual-transmission models contributed approximately six mpg to the Cruze’s EPA-estimated 42 mpg highway fuel economy. Many were developed and refined in more than 500 hours of wind-tunnel testing of the Chevy Volt, which shares a core architecture with the Cruze. Examples include the upper grille, which has more “closeouts” to improve aerodynamics, a lower front air dam extension, a rear spoiler, a lowered ride height and underbody panels that smooth airflow beneath the car.

The Eco model also features an all-new technology in the compact segment: a lower front grille air shutter that closes at higher speeds to reduce aerodynamic drag and opens at lower speeds to optimize engine-cooling airflow. Another contributor to reduced drag is the use of ultra-low rolling resistance 17-inch Goodyear tires (used with lightweight wheels), which are also used on the Volt.

As a result of the aero enhancements, aerodynamic drag was reduced by 10% over a non-Eco model, with a coefficient of drag of 0.298. That places Cruze at the top of the class for mainstream compact cars, according to GM.

Mass optimization. More than 42 changes were made on the Eco to reduce weight. It weighs in at 3,009 pounds (1,365 kg), compared to the 3,223 pounds (1,462 kg) of the Cruze 1LT. Cruze engineers looked at all aspects of the vehicle’s construction, including hundreds of weld flanges on the vehicle. They were reduced 1 mm to 2 mm in length, which saved several pounds, while the sheet metal gauge thickness was reduced by about 0.1 mm in select components. This saved weight while preserving structural integrity.

Lighter wheels and tires are used on the Eco. They’re 17-inch alloy units with Goodyear tires that weigh 36.5 pounds (16.6 kg) apiece—5.3 pounds (2.4 kg) less than the 16-inch wheel/tires of the Cruze 1LT for a complete savings to the vehicle of 21.2 pounds (9.6 kg).

Efficient powertrain. Cruze Eco is powered by the power-dense Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine and a standard six-speed manual transmission. The transmission’s gearing is optimized for the model’s specific 17-inch wheel/tire combination and includes aggressive ratios for first and second gear coupled with a highly efficient, “taller” sixth-gear ratio for highway driving. That means engine rpm is reduced on the highway, which in turn reduces fuel consumption. A six-speed automatic transmission is available, with EPA-estimated fuel economy ratings of 26 city and 37 highway.

The Ecotec 1.4L turbo’s power ratings are 138 horsepower (103 kW) and 148 lb-ft of torque (200 N·m) between 1,850 rpm and 4,900 rpm. The wide rpm range for the maximum torque—a specific trait of turbocharged engines—helps the engine deliver a better driving experience and performance. The turbocharger is integrated within the exhaust manifold, for reduced weight and greater packaging flexibility.

The engine also features premium design elements that give it smoothness and durability while also contributing to the Cruze Eco’s lower curb weight. They include a cast iron block with a hollow frame structure, hollow-cast camshafts and a plastic intake manifold.

Cruze Eco and segment competitors
ModelEPA city fuel economyEPA highway fuel economy
Chevrolet Cruze Eco 28 mpg 42 mpg
Chevrolet Cruze (1.4L turbo, auto 6) 24 mpg 36 mpg
Toyota Corolla 26 mpg 35 mpg
Honda Civic 26 mpg 34 mpg
Ford Focus 25 mpg 35 mpg
Hyundai Elantra 26 mpg 35 mpg

Cruze Eco and select hybrids
ModelEPA city fuel economyEPA highway fuel economy Price
Chevrolet Cruze Eco 28 mpg 42 mpg $18,895
2011 Ford Fusion Hybrid (FWD) 41 mpg 36 mpg $27,950
2011 Nissan Altima Hybrid 33 mpg 33 mpg $26,780
2011 Toyota Camry Hybrid 31 mpg 35 mpg $26,150



Looks to be a good accomplishment without the complications of the hybrid especially when compared to the mileage of Toyota Camry. I have not driven one yet (hope to correct that soon) but if it is anything similar to the experience that I had driving a newer Chevy Malibu, it is probably a nice car to drive.

However, I am sure that the GM bashers will find much to critize so let the bashing begin.

The Goracle


Only 20 mpg worse than the Honda diesel (still banned from the US by Obama/Reid/Pelosi) and 10 mpg worse than my 30 year old diesel VW Rabbit pickup. Progress?!?! Please...



The Ford Fusion HEV and specially the Prius III HEV does a low better but they do cost more. The new larger 2011 4 cyls Sonata can match it and does not cost much more.


The average 35 mpg is good for 3100 lb, yet a 3200 lb Sonata has a large, not small, car rating - though 5 mpg less.

Come on people, this car is very impressive. There is nothing like that on the market right now among gasoline ICE cars. The Goracle says his 30 yrs old Rabbit does better by 10 mpg. What a bunch of baloney ! That's impossible. No Rabbit back then was rated that highly. Other people write about 2011 Sonata. Well yes, the Sonata is also a very impressive car with a highly impressive mileage. BUT the Sonata is rated only at 35 mpg (please check the Hyundai web site), whereas the Cruze is rated at 42 mpgs. Although it is really difficult to compare the Cruze to Sonata as Sonata is a bigger and more expensive car.

Seems like GM is moving towards the head of the pack of the leaders if it comes to gas efficiency. They have the Equinox (an absolute leader among SUVs), now they have the Cruze. They also seem very well positioned in the market if it comes to the dissemination of the DI technology which is bringing all of these awesome results.

I think GM bashing ought to stop. The company made mistakes in the past, but is doing its absolute best to go past it and towards a very strong future. And let's do not forget, a part of the GM problems was not even the company itself but the unrealistic demands and expectations of the unions.


Hey Goracle:

In January, when Honda still hasn't figured out how to get its Diesel here and our laws are exactly the same are you going to blame just Obama and Reid or Boehner too?

Mercedes and VW both have 50 state legal passenger cars available in the US. Honda could too, if it wanted to.

In my entire lifetime, Diesels have never been popular in the US, regardless of who controlled the House, Senate or White House and regardless of our emissions laws. Stop blaming the current administration for something that's been going on for 30+ years.


Impressive numbers for 6-sp turbo-charged manual, which will probably be selected by less than 10% buyers in US.
It's not clear if competitors were equipped with manual or automatic, I'd say with automatic so the Cruze numbers look better.

Interesting that Honda and Toyota do not use turbo charged engines in their best selling models (Civic,Accord, Corolla, Camry) in the US , and they apparently don't plan to use them in near future.
Probable reason is that the use of turbos would damage their stellar reliability record, their key selling point.
I hear from some mechanics that turbos are usually supposed to last 100 k miles, and used cars with turbos are best avoided. Replacement is expensive, and sometimes involves a lot of labour.
I read once saying from a car executive: "The price of used car determines the price of new car".

George Furey

There are plenty of reasons besides government that make it hard to import diesels into the US. For example, over here we have much tighter emissions standards for diesels, 0.07 grams per mile of NO2 versus 0.29 in europe. For this reason the entire emissions system would have to be reworked on european cars, which often leads to a reduction in efficiency.

See Here:


The 2011 Sonata is an amazing buy. How they get that mileage with that horsepower I do not know. It is bigger and roomier, so they seem to know what U.S. buyers want.


The 2012 Focus is also expected to get 40mpg on the highway.

MG - from briefly viewing a few of the listed cars it appears as if they compared the Cruze against the competitors with manual transmissions.


Actually the Goracle is right about his Rabbit. With the 1.5L diesel the '80 Rabbit was rated at 45 mpg city/ 57 mpg highway.

However, the Rabbit was a much smaller car, 2006 lb to the Cruze Eco's 3006 lb, you shouldn't compare the two.


To be truthfull; there was some variation in the weight of the Rabbit, some models were as heavy as 2,445 lb.
But they still had less weight, height, width and length than the Cruze.


ai vin

Second that. My old 1997 Audi A6 2.5TDi (5cyl 140bhp)gets up to 50mpUSg highway (60mpUKg), and that's by doing long motorway journeys at 70mph, in 6th gear.


For your information:

Cruze 2011: 138 hp, City 28 mpg, Highway 42 mpg

Sonata 2011: 198 hp, City 32 mpg, Highway 49 mpg

On top of that, the Sonata is a mid-Large car and the Cruze is a compact.

The Cruze 2011 fuel consumption is nothing to write home about while the Sonata's 2011 is a real accomplishment.

GM still has a very long way to go.


and what's with comparing the Cruze (a compact car) to mid size cars (hybrid or otherwise)? It's crap like that that will continue to turn me off to GM.



Harvey, where did you get those numbers? Did you just make them up? I just went to and they list three Sonatas at 22/33, 22/35 and 24/35. Plus there is a big Sonata billboard near my house that says "200hp, 35mpg, under $20K". Even Hyundai doesn't claim the Sonata gets 49mpg. There is nothing out there, in the US or elsewhere that is the size of a Sonata, and is not hybrid or Diesel, that gets that kind of mileage.


Peter... I must have been on a Canadian or British site and I forgot that USA had downsized the gallon to 80% of the original (from 160 oz. to 128 oz.) .

Your combined fuel economy of 35 mpg (US) or 43.75 mpg makes sense.

The corrected fuel economy should read City 32 mpg (24 mpg US), Highway 49 mpg (39.2 mpg US)

It is still very good for a 200 hp mid-large car.


2011 Hyundai Sonata
GLS Manual
$19,195 2.4L I4
198 HP 24 / 35 mpg



Where did you get the fuel economy numbers for the 1980 diesel rabbit? You can't do an EPA comparison of it to the Cruze unless you are using the revised EPA standard from 2007 (or 2008?). The earliest listing I saw for a VW Rabbit Diesel is 35mpg city / 43mpg highway for the 1.6L.

This is besting the Cruze while getting very poor or 1/2 star ratings on modern crash & rollover tests through the NHTSA and IIHS. Additionally, it would put out more pollution than 100 Chevy Cruze vehicles.


HarveyD and all others who are trying to compare fuel economy figures from other countries - the numbers don't compare.

If you want to check against EPA figures, use EPA figures. Otherwise I could easily trump your numbers by using the Japanese 10-15 cycle results for the Cruze. Heck, the Malibu's numbers on the Japanese 10-15 cycle would likely beat the Sonata numbers you posted.


The general lack of acceptance of Diesels in the US flows from what GM did in the late 70's, early 80's.

They converted a gasoline (design) engine to a Diesel without beefing up the connecting rods and bearings. They often totally destroyed themselves on trips at high speeds.

Word got around and bias against Diesels swept the country.

Nick Lyons

I would like to see GM add idle-stop to this package and get the city mpg over 30.


The Cruze EV will be out in 2012, then stopping the engine at a light will not be an issue. It is suppose to have 31kWh worth of batteries and have a 150 kW motor, it should go like a rocket.


You are of course quite right Patrick, it is unfair to compare apples to oranges. Which is what I was trying to point out with noting the size difference. I knew that an old rabbit would lack the pollution controls we now have and would put out more pollution but was trying to keep my post short. And I believe the milage numbers come from the old testing cycle. As I stated that's what they was rated at, in the real world you wouldn't get 57 mpg highway. Most people I've talked to only get 45 MPG highway but one guy did get 60 while using dangerous hypermiling techniques like drafting trucks.


EPA numbers have been revised downwards three times. -- you cannot compare the numbers from different years.

The first numbers were unrealistically high, and difficult to obtain even with the (then) 55 mph limit. The first downward revision in the early 80's was about 22 percent. Since that time they were revised downward again in 2008, about 10 percent, then lowered another 10 percent this year.

So a 57 mpg Rabbit back then would now be nearer a 40 mpg estimate.

Our 2007 Corolla (stick) was 41 hwy then, I think it is now 38..... It gets a lot of 40 mpg hwy tanks with a skilled driver.

I suspect the Cruze with a 45 mpg number on the new system will often return nearly 50 for skilled drivers.. amazing, whaddya think. I have been driving small cars for 40 years, 30 mpg used to be good!!

Goracle, you have revealed your prejudices and ability to twist the facts, without having revealed any evidence to support your claim.

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