What is it? As the on-sale day draws closer for the Cruze, Chevrolet has released details concerning two additional versions: the high-fuel efficiency version, as well as an RS appearance package. The Eco will be powered by a 1.4-liter Ecotec turbocharged engine mated with a standard six-speed manual transmission. Chevrolet claims this powertrain and other fuel-saving measures should achieve an estimated 40 mpg on the highwaythat's almost hybrid or diesel territory. An automatic transmission will be available, but fuel economy figures are bound to be less impressive for that one.
The Eco's exterior is enhanced to maximize fuel economy with a lower front grille air shutter that closes at highway speeds to allow for greater aerodynamics and opens at lower speeds for optimal engine cooling airflow. In addition, the Eco benefits from lowered ride height also for better aerodynamics, light-weight wheels, and low-rolling resistance tires.
The sporty RS package will be offered to dress up the LT and LTZ trims. A storied moniker, RS includes unique fascias, rocker moldings, rear spoiler, and fog lamps, but no performance modifications. The interior instrument panel also gets chrome accent rings instead of the standard silver.
CR's take: The Cruze goes on sale in August. Based on our early experience, it is a pleasant small sedan that's relatively roomy and quiet compared to its peers. As such, it is a lot more competitive than the Cobalt it replaces.
When will it be available? Eco - Late 2010