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2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco and Cruze RS
By the time New York auto show rolls around at the end of the show season, most of the big debuts have been announced. But stop the presses, boys, because Chevy is storming the Big Apple with nothing less than two brand-new variations of its upcoming Cruze compact sedan the Cruze Eco and the Cruze RS appearance package. Yes, two more variations on the compact sedan that Chevy has been promising us for about two years now but has yet to sell on American shores. These two, however, promise to be among the most interesting to buyers.
Cruze Eco: Good Mileage and Good Looks, Too?
The valiant mission of the 2011 Cruze Eco is to realize the magic 40-mpg highway fuel-economy number, thus giving Chevrolet a Cruze that offers what it calls hybrid-like efficiency without the expense of actually making a Cruze hybrid. (That, in a way, is the Volt, which utilizes Cruze architecture.) The Eco model pairs the 138-hp, 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine with a six-speed manual transmission packed with what are likely to be some pretty tall ratios. An optimized axle ratio helps stretch the Eco model s legs. And low-rolling-resistance tires also come along for the ride (if not the handling).
Automotive minutae-philes may remember that Chevy also pulled those same stunts to squeak an extra three to five mpg from the Cruze s predecessor, the Cobalt, with its XFE model. With the Cruze Eco, however, aerodynamics have been made a bigger priority, resulting in less open space within the upper grille and a lower-grille shutter that closes at higher speeds to reduce drag. And get this the Eco model rides on a dropped suspension. Equipped thus, and riding on unique and not altogether unattractive multispoke 17-inch wheels, the Eco model actually winds up being one of the nicest-looking Cruze models we ve yet seen.
Not to Be Out-Dressed: Cruze RS
Perhaps surprised by the Cruze Eco s improved appearance, Chevy has also decided to offer a sex-appeal-enhancement package for the more upscale Cruze LT and LTZ models. Cruzes equipped with the RS appearance package will greet the world with a snazzier front fascia featuring a honeycomb grille and chrome-trimmed fog lamps, a rear bumper with a chrome spear bisecting pretend grillework, a slim spoiler, subtle lower rocker fairings, and RS letters on the lower corners of the front doors.
Both Cruze derivatives will be arriving here later in 2010 as 2011 models. For a company that s been uncompetitive in the small-car segment as long as Chevrolet has, they can t get here soon enough.