The "eco" version of the Chevy Cruze has scored a 42 MPG rating from the EPA for highway driving. This is notable because the Cruze Eco is neither a hybrid nor a tiny compact car. It's a decent-sized sedan and the fuel savings came from several efficiency tweaks on the part of GM that could be used in all cars to get much higher mpg.
Aerodynamic improvements added six mpg on their own, inlcuding: more closeouts on the upper grille, a lower front air dam extension, a rear spoiler, lowered ride height, underbody panels that refine the air flow under the car, a front grille shutter that closes at high speeds to reduce drag, but opens to allow airflow to cool the engine, and the use of ultra-low rolling resistance tires. These improvements were all born from wind tunnel testing done on the Volt, which has a similar body to the Cruze.
The other focus, as you've probably guessed, is weight reduction. Forty-two changes were made that lead to a weight reduction of 214 pounds compared to the Cruze 1LT.
The Cruze Eco comes with a Ecotec 1.4L turbocharged engine and six-speed transmission that's gears are optimized for efficiency, reducing rpm on the highway and reducing fuel use.
These tweaks have allowed the Cruze Eco to jump over efficiency leaders in its class in highway mpg like the Toyota Corolla (35 MPG), Honda Civic (34 MPG) and Ford Focus (35 MPG). In highway ratings, it also surpasses hybrid models of the Ford Focus (36 MPG), Nissan Altima (33 MPG) and Toyota Camry (34 MPG).
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