Thursday, April 1, 2010

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco unveiled at New York

2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco - Subcompact CultureBy Sean Murphy

Chevrolet's Cobalt replacement, the Cruze, officially bowed at the New York Autoshow this week. In addition to the sporty Cruze RS (which also debuted), Chevy is adding a high-efficiency model to the Cruze line up called the Cruze Eco.

Although powered by the same Ecotec 1.4L turbo engine found in other Cruzes, the Cruze Eco is estimated to get 40 MPG when paired with the available 6 speed manual transmission. How does Chevy do it? They've taken the time to reduce aerodynamic drag by adding underbody panels, including more upper grille closeouts, and installing a lower front air shutter that will close at higher speeds to improve aerodynamics. The car is also lowered and rides on lightweight 17-inch wheels with Goodyear ultra-low rolling resistance tires.

Expect a 0-60 time of 10 seconds with the 6 speed manual but an improved time of 9 seconds with the coming 6 speed automatic, no word on its MPG numbers yet. GM is expecting that 70% of its Cruzes made at the Lordstown, Ohio assembly complex will sport the 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with 138 hp and 148 lbs. ft. of torque, which is found in the Eco.

My snap judgment on this is that we will see a good, entry level, fuel sipper that shows what the technology learned from the Volt project can do for a standard car. Also if you get some good wide tires and the automatic you will see some good performance from this car. It may look a little plain but it is set up to be a super star performer with the right suspension set up. Just too bad they had to set the 6 speed manual gearing to favor fuel economy over performance. This one will be an interesting drive when it comes around.


nlpnt said...

I suppose if you want performance they'll sell you an RS. And then there's the base model.

Also, still no word on whether the hatchback is coming to the US because GM seems to have learned the wrong lesson from the Saturn Astra fiasco ("Americans don't want hatchbacks", not "Americans don't want to pay a 50% premium for a hatchback" or even "you can't sell a car as 'upscale' of the base model has steelies and plastic hubcaps and A/C's an option")

murphyseanm said...

I think if you get the automatic with the ECO then you might have a decent performer. Wheels will help a lot and just the right performance mods and it will do better than the RS appearance package.

Chad Karsting said...

Great looking car inside and out ( Affordable and sporty....what a concept! Nearly 40 mpg won't hurt either.