2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco designed without a spare tire to lighter, more efficient

Article by Christian Andrei, on May 22, 2011

Fuel-efficient cars are all the rage now that gas prices are going up. But for the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco to be lighter and even more fuel efficient, it was designed without a spare tire. Instead, it has a tire-inflator kit that reduces the weight of the vehicle by 26 pounds. It’s more fuel efficient than if it had been installed with a conventional spare tire and jack.

The other GM models that don’t have a spare tire include the Volt, Camaro and the Cadillac CTS.

The 2001 Corvette Z06 used inflator kits too. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Cruze averages 42 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg in the city. Terry Connolly, the director of GM’s Tire and Wheel Systems, said that GM decided to remove spare tires from the Cruze because with the advancement of technology, flat tires are not as common.

Connolly clarified that this decision wasn’t made lightly, adding that the use of tire pressure monitoring systems in the last five years has made it very unlikely that a flat tire will leave anyone stranded.

GM spokesman Sam Abuelsamid said that another factor that convinced them to drop the spare tire is the fact that all GM vehicles have the OnStar system, which gives subscribers access to immediate roadside assistance.

The new Chevrolet Cruze Eco is simply the most fuel-efficient version of the car. Powered by an Ecotec 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with variable valve timing matched to standard six-speed manual transmission, the new Chevrolet Cruze Eco delivers an estimated 40 mpg on the highway.

In terms of performance, the Cruze Eco is expected to be capable of sprinting from zero to 60 mph in around 10 seconds with the manual transmission and around nine seconds with the six-speed automatic gearbox.

Of course, the new Chevrolet Cruze Eco is laden with a number of elements that further help the already Ecotec 1.4-liter turbocharged engine achieve better fuel economy. These elements do not only improve the car’s aerodynamics, but also minimize its weight and reduce its rolling resistance. One of these elements is the lower front grille air shutter that improves aerodynamics by closing at higher speeds. At lower speeds, the shutter opens to optimize airflow to cool the engine.

Likewise helping improve the car’s aerodynamics is the presence of more closeouts on the upper and a lower front air dam extension, as well as underbody panels and a rear spoiler. The new Chevrolet Cruze Eco also boasts of a lowered ride height, a feature that could also enhance its aerodynamics. Not only that, the new Chevrolet Cruze Eco comes with distinct 17-inch lightweight aluminum wheels and ultra-low rolling resistance 17-inch Goodyear tires.

Chevrolet also made sure that the axle ratio on the manual version of the new Chevrolet Cruze Eco has been optimized both for performance and fuel economy. With these fuel-efficiency elements, the Cruze Eco is seen to deliver the most fuel efficient model in the compact segment, with a level of spaciousness just like that of a midsize car.

Jim Campbell, US vice president for Chevrolet marketing, quipped that the Cruze Eco delivers hybrid-like efficiency at a non-hybrid price. He noted that the new Cruze, just like the Chevrolet Volt, showcases the efforts of the carmaker to introduce new products to the market ranging from gas-friendly to gas-free.

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