The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze gets EPA fuel-economy ratings that are competitive with the best new entrants in its class.
The highest ratings—30 mpg city, 42 highway, 35 combined—come in the models below the Premier trim level, fitted with the single 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission. You'll lose 1 mpg combined if you opt for the high-end Premier version, which is rated at 30/40/34 mpg. And you'll lose 2 mpg combined if you swap for the base 6-speed manual transmission, rated at 29/41/33 mpg combined. A relatively smooth start-stop system is standard on all models.
Those numbers compare to a best of 35 mpg combined for the new Honda Civic, the same number achieved by a single Ford Focus version—with a 1.0-liter 3-cylinder engine and 6-speed manual gearbox—and the Toyota Corolla LE Eco. And they're considerably better than the 32 mpg combined for the latest Hyundai Elantra and the updated Nissan Sentra.
Chevrolet promises that it will add a 1.6-liter turbodiesel option to the Cruze for 2017, which will likely be the efficiency champion in the lineup. But you'll have to wait a year for that one.
Don't get the new 2016 Cruze mixed up with the carryover Cruze Limited, the last-generation model, with combined ratings from 27 to 30 mpg and a special high-efficiency Cruze Limited Eco model rated at 31 mpg combined with an automatic or 33 mpg with a 6-speed manual. The new car outdoes all of those versions.