Today we’ll take a look at the all-new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco for Denver drivers.
The Cruze is a new mid-sized five-passenger sedan from Chevrolet that replaces the aging Cobalt. The 2011 Cruze is a front-drive compact sedan that Chevrolet chose to develop into the ‘hybrid’ Volt. While developing the Volt, engineers were able to take some of the fuel-saving technology and design it into the more conventionally powered Cruze. This week we will be testing the fuel efficient Eco model.
The Cruze has an international flavor with the development taking place in the United States, Europe and Asia. The Cruze interior was designed by a Korean design studio and there are Asian influences that can be seen throughout. Tomorrow we’ll take a detailed look at all these interior features. The mechanical engineering took place in Europe and America, as did the Buick Regal and LaCrosse.
The Cruze has already been sold in Asia and parts of Europe since March 2009, and has sold nearly 300,000 units in more than 60 countries. The Eco that we’ll be testing, is manufactured in Lordstown, Ohio alongside the rest of the Cruze lineup, the LS, LT, and LTZ models. The Eco is one of five Cruze models, beginning with the LS priced from $16,995. Three of them, including the LS, LT and Eco are priced under $20,000.
The Chevrolet Cruze is one of the few compact cars built in the U.S. All models come with a four-cylinder engine and a choice of a six-speed manual or an optional six-speed automatic. The Cruze Eco has a slightly smaller engine than the 1.8-liter naturally-aspirated four-cylinder on other models. But the Cruze Eco has a turbocharged engine and offers better fuel mileage and similar performance especially here in Denver at altitude. This week we’ll take a close look at how the Eco accomplishes this.
The Eco, which is short for ecological, enhances fuel economy by engineers doing things like lowering the vehicle weight, making the Eco more aerodynamic, and tweaking the suspension with low rolling resistance tires, and lighter wheels. All these changes to the 5-passenger sedan add up to a lighter, more aerodynamic and more efficient package. By developing the Eco version of the Cruze, GM can provide an alternative to the more expensive hybrid and electric cars.
Base price for the Cruze Eco is $18,175 with an EPA estimated fuel mileage rating of 26/37 city/highway with the automatic. The Cruze can’t match hybrids for fuel economy, nor can it match the standing start acceleration of an electric motor. But buyers aren’t paying a premium for hybrid technology. And the Cruze Eco is less expensive than European diesel sedans, with prices that start over $20,000.
Come back tomorrow and we’ll jump inside the Korean designed interior and see what Asian influence we can see.