Choose the Chevy Cruze for Great Gas Mileage

You don’t have to buy a hybrid to drastically increase your gas mileage. Take a look at one of the best new high-mpg cars, the Chevy Cruze.

| April/May 2011

  • Chevy Cruze
    The Chevy Cruze isn’t a hybrid, but its Eco model gets an impressive 42 mpg on the highway.

  • Chevy Cruze

What if you could have near-hybrid-level gas mileage without the added expense of a hybrid car? No, we’re not talking clean diesel here — we’re talking about a new, right-size car that applies efficiency technologies to our old friend, the internal-combustion engine. This non-hybrid mpg champ is the 2011 Chevy Cruze.

The Cruze’s standard model with manual transmission has an EPA highway fuel economy rating of 36 mpg (26 mpg in the city), with a suggested retail price of $16,995. However, at a suggested retail price of $18,895, the Cruze Eco model has a class-leading highway rating of 42 mpg (28 mpg in the city) if equipped with a manual transmission.

The improved mpg in the Eco comes from reduced weight, improved aerodynamics and, most importantly, reduced engine size. The Eco is an example of coaxing maximum fuel efficiency from an already thrifty car. (An automatic transmission is available on the Eco for an extra $925, but delivers only 37 mpg on the highway.)

If the Eco’s smaller engine feels like a deal breaker to you, consider this: The 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine is turbocharged to deliver 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. Its six-speed manual transmission allows the driver to rev the engine for best power or shift early for optimal fuel economy.

At highway speeds, a car’s gas mileage is most affected by how well it slips through the air. Chevy treated the Cruze Eco with the latest aerodynamic tricks, including grille shutters that close off the front radiator at lower speeds (when it’s not needed to cool the engine). The vehicle also rides a little closer to the ground and has tires with low resistance to rolling.

With the development of the Chevy Cruze, we see further evidence that car companies are finally realizing that mpg is an important consideration for buyers interested in a new car.

Sandie Heatherington
4/29/2011 2:22:03 PM

Mr Rogers This is America and everyone has a right to their opinion. It's funny that I could express mine without insulting the Cruise or the person who wrote the article. I was suggesting that there are other gas saving alternatives out there. As far as sheep, Mr. Rogers, sheep follow the Shepherd, so I pray I'm always found guilty.

Jason Hinton
4/29/2011 1:23:12 PM

CJ: You are comparing apples and oranges. The Cruze is a compact car while Prius is a mid-size car. A better comparison would be to a 4 cylinder Camry. The hybrid battery in the Prius weighs 93lbs including steel case and cooling fan. It has 32 pounds of nickel which is less than the nickel used in the steel alloys that make the body of the car. The battery is warranted for 150,000 miles and Prius taxi fleets have been easily doubling that mileage without needed to replace the battery. This is due to Toyota only allowing 40% of the battery capacity to be used so that the battery is never deeply discharged. Considering that the Prius has been in production since 1998 with no record of mass battery failures or replacements, I think it is time to put the “hybrid battery replacement” myth to bed. As far as maintenance, the Prius doesn't have any extra components, just heavier duty versions of what is in any gasoline car. The Prius has a controller, battery, and two electric motors. A conventional car has a controller (to regulate charging), battery, and two electric motors (alternator and starter).

CJ Rogers
4/29/2011 9:37:38 AM

Sandie H. - You are fooling yourself if you believe your Prius has even come close to paying for the premium you paid for hybrid technology. If we assume a generous 50 mpg average for your Toyota and a conservative 38 mpg average for the Cruze, the difference in fuel used over your stated 170,000 miles is less than 500 gallons. You paid a lot more than a $1500-$2000 premium for the privilege of driving a gimmick. When you need to replace the energy storage system sometime during the next 100,000 miles or so you will go several years deeper into the ROI hole. And where will you dispose of that huge hunk of heavy metals and concentrated pollutants? Save your money, America, buy a roomier, better-looking, lower maintenance vehicle and don't be mistaken for a sheep.

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