Select Page

Gas-powered engines can indeed be eco-friendly, which is what Winding Road found out when it test drove a 2012 Chevrolet Cruze Eco. And that’s just one reason to dig the top-selling compact car for August. You may even be able to check out the Cruze Eco in person at the nationwide Motor Trend Auto Show, which is making stops in cities ranging from Baltimore to Phoenix. If you can’t wait for the show to come to town, Chevrolet dealers in Phoenix, Baltimore and across the rest of the U.S. should already have the aptly named Cruze Eco in stock.

Going Green

As noted, the eco part of the Chevy Cruise Eco’s name plays a huge part in its desirability. Top of the eco-friendly facts is the mileage with 42 mpg on the highway and 28 mpg on city streets. A Winding Road test drive actually netted 44 mpg when the car hit an uninterrupted 100-mile highway stretch. Testers noted they did nothing extraordinary to boost the mileage other than simply drive. The results officially put the Cruze Eco on the Winding Road list of “cars that deliver effortless economy.” Eco-friendly, low-rolling-resistance tires are part of the mix.

The Price

With a starting price of $19,325, the Cruze Eco comes up as a bargain. The test vehicle Winding Road used happened to have a $995 touchscreen navigation system, but even with the handy, seven-inch screened system and the destination charge, the car still clocks in at about $21,560. Even with the gadgetry, the Cruze Eco costs several thousand less than the starting price of the Toyota Prius, it’s main competitor.

The Power

Although the car weighs in at a scant curb weight of 3,011 pounds, it can pack some punch. As seen on AOL Autos, the 1.4 L, Ecotec turbo-charged engine revs with 138 hp and 148 lb-ft of torque. Add the six-speed manual transmission and the Cruze can as easily accelerate on the highway as it can maneuver through a city’s labyrinth-like streets.

The Comfort Level

Winding Road testers adored the vehicle’s interior, which is replete with soft yet supportive seats and unobtrusive bolsters. The telescopic steering wheel netted high marks, as did the smooth and comfy ride. Noise, or lack thereof, was another plus. Wind and road noise were under control while the engine noise was minimal. The Cruze Eco also exhibited smooth and linear power delivery as well as the ability to maintain a smooth ride over ripples and bumps on the streets. Even potholes didn’t pose a problem.

Other Motorists Are Already Digging It

A major way to tell if a car is worth its salt is to look at its sales record. The Chevy Cruze has an impressive one, beating out all other compact cars for August 2012 sales, according to Automobile Magazine. In fact, August laid claim as the top selling month for the Cruze since it first debuted in late 2009. The Cruze has been cruising with high sales all year, actually, averaging about 18,400 units per month since January. August saw sales of the Cruze leap to 25,975, which the Plain Dealer reports was a sales record for the GM vehicle. Cruze sales definitely contributed to GM’s overall 10 percent in sales of August 2012 over August 2011.