While official EPA fuel economy ratings, as well as federal environmental ratings, weren't yet posted at the time of this writing, General Motors has said that the Cruze will achieve EPA ratings ranging from 22 mpg city and 35 highway for the base 1.8-liter version with an automatic to 26/36 mpg for the 1.8 and a manual transmission. The 1.4T with the six-speed automatic will carry a 24/36 mpg rating, while the Eco package, with six-speed manual, will get 40 mpg highway (though a city rating still hadn't been released).
Over 35 miles of driving on congested freeways and urban streets leading into Washington, with plenty of stop-and-go and rapid takeoffs—a "hard commuting," worst-case scenario that's bound to be on the low side—we saw about 24 mpg from the trip computer in a Cruze LTZ model equipped with the six-speed automatic. Otherwise, we saw readings in the upper 20s in about 150 more miles of mixed driving.
Cruze models with the automatic transmission also get a neutral idle feature that automatically disengages the torque converter when sitting at stoplights in Drive—helping to boost mileage in stop-and-go driving.
The Cruze Eco model targets shoppers who are looking for good fuel economy and perhaps have other green motivations but don't have the budget for a hybrid. Changes include thinner steel panels, smaller welds, and reduced flanges at welded joints, altogether reducing weight by about 25 pounds. To help aerodynamics, the Eco has a lower ride height (about the same as the Sport models), a rear spoiler, a larger front air dam, and an underbody air diverter, among many features that aid aerodynamics and reduce drag. GM is anticipating a coefficient of drag of less than 0.30.
Altogether, Chevy says the Cruze Eco will deliver the highest fuel economy of any compact car sold in the United States and a cruising range of more than 500 miles.