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Chevy Cruze ekes out 42 mpg

CNET Car Tech reviews the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco.

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In Eco trim, the Cruze shaves weight by using thinner body panels and light wheels. An electronically controlled shutter in the lower grille closes down at speed to improve aero efficiency. Back to review.
Josh Miller/CNET
2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco
Josh Miller/CNET

With a manual transmission, turbocharged engine, and front-wheel drive, you would expect a fast little canyon carver. But the Cruze Eco takes these standard features of the tuner set and turns them into hypermiler gear.

A miracle of turbocharging, the little 1.4-liter engine cranks out 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque. The Cruze Eco should help debunk the idea that good fuel economy means a gutless car. With that engine and a few tricks to shave weight and reduce drag, the Cruze Eco boasts a 42-mpg highway figure.

Chevy lets the car down a bit in the cabin tech department. The Cruze Eco can be had with the basics, such as iPod support and a Bluetooth phone system, but no onboard navigation system. Instead, Chevy expects OnStar to fill navigation and other connected-car needs for buyers. However, you can use the OnStar app to remotely start the car and unlock the doors.

Check out our review of the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco.