Boasting a svelte profile, a smaller gas tank and low-rolling-resistance tires, the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco is estimated to get up to 42 mpg. And the appeal of this 5-place compact sedan doesn’t end there. Equipped on a par with its 1LT sibling, the Eco sports 17-inch polished alloy wheels, power-adjustable mirrors and a rear spoiler outside, with full power accessories, height-adjustable front seats, simulated alloy accents, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel mounting audio and cruise controls adorning the inside. Telescoping tilt-wheel steering is, of course, standard aboard this gas-saving compact, as is manual air conditioning. Trunk space, meanwhile, is a surprisingly spacious 15.4 cubic feet.
Front and rear floor mats add a bit of class to the Eco, while standard Bluetooth hands-free calling and OnStar Directions and Connections technology are among the more noteworthy techno-goodies aboard. Entertainment, meantime, is presented by a single-CD player with 6 speakers and bolstered by satellite radio, an auxiliary MP3 input and a USB port.
Options in Chevy’s fuel-saving Eco include the Driver Convenience Package with rear parking assist sensors, 6-way power adjustable driver’s seat and remote engine start. A 9-speaker Pioneer audio system is also available to the 2012 Eco, as are a hard-drive-based navigation system, carpeted floor mats and splash guards.
Powering the Eco is a turbocharged 1.4-liter inline 4-cylinder (I4) engine that mates with a 6-speed manual transmission (made standard this year) for 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission is, of course, available to this streamlined Cruze trim, while variable valve timing (VVT) helps ensure mileage remains estimated at 28 mpg city/42 highway with the manual transmission, and 26/39 with the automatic.
Standard safety features again abound on the 2012 Eco, including 4-wheel antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front and rear side-mounted airbags, and front and rear head airbags. Daytime running lights also come standard, as do OnStar alerts that back up the post-collision safety system. Finally a remote antitheft alarm is standard, while front fog/driving lights can be added as an option.