More than just a trim package, Chevrolet got clever with the Cruze Eco to offer its customers a more sophisticated, fuel-efficient machine. An area where some of its other attempts have failed miserably (think Malibu Eco), the fuel-frugal Cruze shines more brightly.
HANDSOME AND FUNCTIONAL STYLING
The Cruze Eco gets a few fuel-minded nip/tucks that also help it hop up the handsome.
First, Chevrolet cut almost 100 lbs. from the base Cruze’s curb weight by tossing out the spare tire in favor of a patch kit, shrinking the gas tank to 10.5 gallons, and simplifying the rear suspension.
Next, Chevy lowered the car and made the forged alloy wheels standard equipment.
But that’s not all. Chevrolet also added an “active front fascia” with slats that close
during highway speeds to reduce drag and improve mileage.
Aside from functional features, the Cruze generally looks good, with a high beltline to make the car more masculine. That, combined with a chiseled front end and the Eco package’s rear spoiler leave the car looking presentable despite being a less than heart pounding drive overall.
AN INTERIOR WITH SHARED PRIORITIES
From a daily driver’s perspective, the Cruze is a solid choice. Despite its high beltline, the car is easy to see out of from all directions. In fact, the hunched look people see as you pass is imperceptible from the cabin.
Instead, you’ll notice touches like mesh cloth covering much of the ugly plastic panels and convenience features like a dash-top compartment perfect for storing a porky wallet, pens or anything else you wouldn’t want to be caught digging in the center console for.
Between its gauges, an information screen controlled by a knob mounted on the turn signal stick offers typical trip stats, but it also provides an “average mpg gauge.” It offers current as well as average fuel consumption figures that show exactly where the car sits compared to the trip’s recorded gas usage.
With reasonably comfortable seats, the Cruze feels good on a long drive – unless you’re relegated to the back.
That story stands in stark contrast with the front accommodation’s positive feedback. With a sole storage pouch, no cup holders and a lumbar-killing seatback, you had better be prepared for a barrage of complaints from the peanut gallery.