Chevy Cruze Eco Hits 40 MPGs without Going Hybrid

The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco gets hybrid rivaling fuel economy through improved aerodynamics, reduced weight and clever technology. While other manufacturers are talking hybrid, Chevy is talking Eco.  The Chevy Cruze Eco, that gets 40 mpg on the highway, doesn’t need a battery to keep the mileage down. The job is done by a Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with variable valve timing teamed with a standard six-speed manual transmission that puts out 138 hp and 148 pound-feet of torque @1,850 rpm. Chevrolet estimates the Cruze Eco will deliver 0-60 mph performance of about 10 seconds with the manual transmission and 9 seconds with the six-speed automatic.

Other than a little green Eco badge on a rear flank, the Cruze Eco doesn’t look much different than its brother, the regular Cruze. However, Chevy has worked to improve aerodynamics and minimize the weight with some engineering wizardry. During low speed driving (say stop and start city type stuff) the engine’s air intake shutter is open. However, at higher speeds when cooling the turbocharged engine isn’t as much of an issue, the shutter shuts, allowing air to more efficiently stream around the vehicle.

New rear fascia has been wind tunnel tested for more slippery-ness and the Cruze has been lowered by 10 mm and they’ve added light-weight speaker magnets. To bring the weight down even more, the Cruze Eco comes with 17-inch lightweight aluminum wheels and ultra-low rolling resistance 17-inch Goodyear tires.

The Cruze Eco will be available in the fourth quarter of 2010. With a 40 mpg all-gas car, someone could potentially have an eco-happy holiday.

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