Chevrolet Says 2012 Cruze Improves Fuel Economy 2 MPG

Built in the same plant as the late, unlamented Vega, Cruze is light years ahead of previous GM small cars.

The 2012 Cruze will be rated 2 mpg higher on the EPA highway cycle when it goes on sale later this year, Chevrolet said today. A lower axle ratio for the compact models enables about a 5% increase in highway fuel efficiency. Your mileage may vary, and nothing was said about the effect on performance, which normally decreases with a higher ratio. A Chevrolet spokesperson said final performance numbers were not available yet, which is hard to believe. So, as always and particularly with cars touted as having high fuel economy, be sure to drive the car before buying or leasing it.

The Cruze Eco with an automatic transaxle will be rated at 39 mpg on the highway compared with 37 mpg for the current model. The most popular 1.4L turbo/six-speed automatic will get 38 mpg compared with 36 mpg for the current model. Cruze Eco with the standard six-speed manual transmission remains the most fuel-efficient gas-powered/non-hybrid vehicle in America, with an EPA-rated 42 mpg on the highway.

Prices for 2012 will be about $1,000 per model higher, but ultimately will be dependent on competitive actions and the production status of Japanese automakers. Right now the 2011 Cruze is in the $17,000-$24,000 range. Cruze was the best selling small car in the U.S. last month when Chevrolet dealers reported 18,996 retail deliveries, while Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla were not in free flowing supply.

Chevrolet also in May set another milestone of sorts by recalling more than 200,000 of the new Cruze models for two safety related defects caused by improper manufacturing that can result in the car rolling away while in park or the driver losing control of the steering.

Cruze remains Chevrolet’s best-selling nameplate around the world, with global sales of more than 250,000 in the first four months of 2011.

Fuel economy is the top reason customers buy a compact and the Cruze’s greater efficiency for 2012 makes it all the more attractive.” said Rick Scheidt, vice president of Chevrolet marketing.

Cruze has ten standard air bags – the most in the segment – including front, head curtain side air bags, front and outboard rear-seat side-impact air bags and knee air bags. Stability control with rollover sensing, traction control, anti-lock brakes, a collapsible pedal system and OnStar with automatic crash response are also standard.

Also for 2012 in the U.S., an option package containing Bluetooth phone connectivity, USB port, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a leather-wrapped shift knob will be standard. These features were part of the $525 Connectivity Plus Cruise option package on 2011 models. The option was ordered by 90% U.S. customers for the Lordstown, Ohio assembled car.

Additional standard equipment on the 2012 Cruze includes:

  • Remote keyless entry
  • Air conditioning
  • Audio system with AM/FM/CD and MP3 playback
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio with three-month trial service
  • Driver information center with fuel economy, tire pressures and oil life remaining
  • Rear defogger
  • Power windows
  • Fuel-saving rack mounted electric power steering.

New equipment on the 2012 Cruze includes:

  • Keyless entry and keyless start available on 2LT and standard on LTZ
  • Touch screen navigation system with 7” color display available on Eco, 2LT and LTZ
  • 16-inch five-spoke machined-face alloy wheels are standard on 1LT
  • 17-inch five-spoke alloy wheels with four-wheel disc brakes are standard on 2LT
  • Fog lamps are standard on LTZ

(See also Chevrolet Recalls Cruze for Transmission and Steering Defects and Chevrolet Recalls Cruze for “Steering Wheel Detachment” and Driving Impression – Chevrolet Cruze)

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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