In the market for a car, best fuel economy - Gen 1 or Gen 2?
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Thread: In the market for a car, best fuel economy - Gen 1 or Gen 2?

  1. #1
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    In the market for a car, best fuel economy - Gen 1 or Gen 2?

    Hi, Newbie here on this forum. I am in the market for a car. Been looking at the Gen 1 Eco, but see the EPA numbers for the Gen 2 are higher. I am looking for the best fuel economy possible as well as range per tank. Wanted to reach out to the experts here to get your feedback. I prefer a manual trans, but I see the best economy on fueleconomy.gov for the Gen 2 is with the auto transmission? Thanks.

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  3. #2
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    Best range, Gen1 diesel. Best mpg, Gen2 diesel stick shift.
    The Gen2 is larger, lighter, slightly more aerodynamic (but the lower Cd is offset by the fact that it's larger), and has more efficient engines, gas and diesel.

    If you don't want to go diesel, I suspect Gen2 sedan with stick shift is the winner, with Gen1 Eco stick shift following close behind.

    My Gen2 1.4L auto sedan is capable of low 50s mpg at a constant 55mph, but that drops off noticeably above 60mph. Driving at 75, the 40-42 epa rating is about the best I can hope for.
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    Hands down the diesels are the fuel economy champs. The Gen 1 is quiet (inside - pretty noisy outside) and feels very heavy on the road. The Gen 2 diesel feels a lot like a normal gasoline model; very little difference aside from the shove of torque and slight diesel clatter on the outside.

    If you don't want a diesel, I've owned both generations of 1.4 and this is what I'd say:

    The Gen 1 with a stick (mine was a 1LT; add 2-4 MPG for the Eco as it has more aero bits and lighter wheels/LRR tires) was more efficient on the highway, but also far more lethargic and 234892349823x more problematic to own. I specifically sought out the 1LT manual because a few test drives with the Eco gearing (3 overdrive gears, WIDE spacing between gears) drove me absolutely nuts. It was a solid 42 MPG highway car; ~30 city. I liked the torque the car had on the highway without shifting out of 6th, but when you really wanted to move or pass, there was nothing in it left to give. The Gen 1's are quiet, very solid little highway cruisers, and also fun to throw around a back road.

    The Gen 2 (Premier, auto, with the big wheels and non-MPG focused tires) has a lot more power, the powertrain is a lot more refined, and has been way more reliable at this point into ownership. It's a 40 MPG highway car if you keep it at or below 70, and I am doing more short city driving than I used to, so that mileage is in the mid to high 20's. The auto is sometimes hesitant to downshift unless you give it a good stomp, but it will get up and move a lot better than the Gen 1 would, and the engine has a good 2500-4500 RPM torque band. The car doesn't feel as solid as the Gen 1 - it lost a good 200 lbs of weight and is on a newer, bigger platform. The steering is totally and completely lifeless, and it isn't as eager to be chucked into corners as the Gen 1 was, despite the lower profile tires on mine. They admittedly do make ride quality a little worse too. Despite that, they improved on a lot of other areas with the car: interior room, refinement, way better HVAC, and better reliability.
    Last edited by jblackburn; 06-02-2019 at 08:17 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MalcolmReynolds View Post
    I prefer a manual trans, but I see the best economy on fueleconomy.gov for the Gen 2 is with the auto transmission? Thanks.
    Having owned both a ‘12 Eco 6mt and a ‘17 Lt Auto I have a thought on the EPA ratings. Our ‘17 Auto makes the same mpg as the ‘12 man. The reason is that my wife puts on 75% of the miles on and she is not so mileage conscious. Driving a manual for best mileage takes conscious action (downshifting, coasting, etc.) The new Auto is programmed to downshift itself coasting to a stop. That keeps it in the zero fuel use without any action by the driver, thereby negating some of the advantages of a manual transmission. The EPA ratings use normal driving (not hyper miling) techniques.
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    Thanks for the feedback regarding the Gen 1 and Gen 2 differences. Been searching here on the forum and found a lot of info that is helping me to decide if I am going to buy a Cruze. I appreciate the help.

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    I own a 2014 eco Manual. I love it. 42 highway 32 all around. but I"m in a smaller city. Less stop and go. I would recommend a 2014-15 first generation with a manual. It has been good to me.

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    Gas mileage is lousy on a Gen1 when it is broken down.

    And the older it gets, the worse it gets. The Gen1 has coolant system flaws that can not be fixed with updated engineering, which is why there is a Gen2.
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    Now to throw a curveball - take a look at your daily driving habits and whether or not you can charge regularly (as in daily), even on a 110V circuit. If you can, consider a Volt (either generation). When running on gas you'll see anywhere from 40 to 55 MPG depending on speed and if your commute is short enough you may not need to put gas in the tank more than once a year. I haven't put gas in my Volt since Feb 28.

    I only post this because OP is asking for fuel efficiency.
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    Are you only considering the cruze?
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    If you're looking for a used car, circa 2016, I think the Cruze has a lot to offer.

    This Carp&Drivel comparison helped me decide on a 2Gen, along with this road test.
    The Cruze placed 3rd in the five car comparison despite being the fastest, the most fuel efficient, the quietest, and the most comfortable (some of those first place performances were ties), because they found it too boring, it was the small car that thought it was a Malibu.

    Where do you live?
    Maybe somebody here would know about a car you might want.
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