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The Sound of Savings; The Cruze Eco

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On: Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 2:29PM | By: Lou Ruggieri

The Sound of Savings; The Cruze Eco

So, if you are anything like me, even during this heightened fossil fuel, ‘go green or go home’  paradigm shift that has all but taken hold of the planet, you still are not quite willing to surrender your gas-powered engine for some electrical half-gas, half-battery, silent-synergy science project… At least not yet. Plus with companies like Toyota, you can’t help but wonder about potential recalls at this point. Not to mention batteries that still need a bit more time to really prove themselves totally reliable, there are a lot of reasons to not jump on that electric band wagon.

Luckily, Chevrolet has brought out an option for us hold-outs. No, not the be-all, end-all Volt, it’s actually the Cruze Eco. Although the Eco keeps the same 1.4-liter turbo four the standard car has, this is no ordinary econobox. The Eco version uses pretty common sense technological changes to maximize fuel economy. The Eco’s six-speed transmission uses a taller sixth gear to minimize RPM at highway speeds while the 138 horsepower (148 lb-ft of torque) engine chugs along steadily.

The Eco also changes its appearance slightly from the standard Cruze, all form-following-function modifications. The front intake gets downsized with a smaller grille, as well as an extension to its lower air dam that closes at higher speeds to reduce drag. There’s a rear spoiler and finally low-rolling-resistance tires that sit on lighter (by five pounds) 17-inch wheels.

Speaking of weight savings, the Eco trims down a little more than 200 pounds over the standard Cruze using little nips and tucks; over all, the car weighs in at 3,009 pounds, which is by no means a featherweight, but it does come in on the lighter side of the sedan world.

0-60 miles per hour comes up in 10 seconds flat, which is nothing that will set the world on fire, but then again, if you’re buying a car for maximum economy, you probably won’t be flooring the gas pedal very often. But just for the sake of argument, ten seconds flat will smoke a first gen Prius off the line, and it will be a driver’s race with a second generation.

The Cruze Eco is available now at Chevrolet dealerships across the country. Pricing starts at a very reasonable $18,995, which is several thousand below the aforementioned Toyota; and finally we get to the fuel mileage. The Cruze Eco will get you 42 mpg on the highway and a combined 33 mpg. Now both of those numbers fall short of the some hybrids;, at least you get to hear where your gas is going.

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