The Chevrolet Cruze has achieved a new efficiency record, a fuel consumption rating of 64.42 mpg on a trip by an Australian couple that spanned 9,552 miles and lasted 23 days. An unmodified Chevrolet Cruze Eco was taken by John and Helen Taylor through 48 contiguous states. Chevrolet issued a press release, stating that this rating is 50% better than the EPA estimate of 42 miles per gallon highway for a Cruze Eco manual.
This record further proves that this model is the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered car in the U.S., except for the hybrids and diesels. Powering the Cruze Eco is an Ecotec 1.4 turbo engine that could reach the same fuel economy rating as a smaller engine, but offers the power expected from a bigger unit.
When it comes to performance, this configuration results to a maximum output of 138hp and 148 lb-ft of torque (200 Nm) between 1,850 and 4,9000 rpm. When partnered with a six-speed manual transmission, the Cruze Eco may hit an efficiency level of 28 mpg city and 42 mpg highway.
However, the automatic version could reach 26 mpg city and 39 mpg highway. There are reports that General Motors plans to present a diesel version of the Cruze that could achieve 50 mpg (4.7 l/100km). This model is expected to make its debut in 2013.
The design of the new Chevrolet Cruze is defined by its bold front end marked by a two-tier grille and the iconic Bowtie logo. This is complemented by an arching roofline that links the raking windshield up front and the sloping pillars on the rear. Its athletic design is further defined by headlamp housings wrapping around the corners and sweeping upward in the fenders and sculpted hood. It also has a short rear deck that is a usual feature of sports coupes.
Aside from minimal front and rear overhangs, the new Cruze also has a wide imposing stance. While the new Chevrolet Cruze is longer and wider than many of its rivals, it conveys solidity, quality and precision through its taut, tightly drawn bodywork and the restricted use of exterior trim.
Precision is also conveyed through the Cruze’s build quality. This was successfully achieved thanks to Chevrolet’s efforts to retool the body shop at its Lordstown assembly facility with the latest body-framing and welding equipment in order to optimize the production of a solid body structure, which promotes minimal production variance as well as gap tolerances of up to 3mm between most of its exterior panels. The boldness of the Cruze exterior is of course continued into the interior, which sports a Corvette-inspired twin-cockpit motif.
Moreover, the interior also boasts of remarkable assembly tolerances and the use of high-quality materials, as proven through its grained, soft-touch components and low-gloss trim panels. One interesting feature inside the Cruze is its instrument panel that accommodates richly detailed instruments backlit with LED units. These LED units emit an ice-blue light for the analog instruments and for other interior controls. In addition, owners would benefit from data provided by a driver information center that is rare in the segment but is standard in the Cruze.