MPG-o-Matic 2011 Chevrolet Cruze ECO Review Summary: The 2011 Chevy Cruze ECO sedan is the most fuel-efficient vehicle in General Motors 2011 lineup, outside of the extended-range electric Chevy Volt. When equipped with the six-speed manual transmission, the Cruze ECO is capable of gas mileage that rivals many of the current hybrid cars on the market. The combination of a tiny turbocharged 1.4-liter engine, advanced aerodynamics, and an optimized manual gear set (with overdrive) deliver excellent real-world fuel economy, at a very attractive price point.
The front-wheel-drive (FWD) 2011 Chevrolet Cruze ECO is equipped with a tiny turbocharged 1.4-liter ECOtec VVT DOHC inline four-cylinder engine producing 138 horsepower (HP) and 148 foot pounds of torque.
The official fuel economy estimates for the manual-equipped 2011 Chevy Cruze ECO are 28 city / 42 highway miles per gallon. The six-speed automatic-equipped Cruze ECO is rated at a significantly lower 26 city / 37 highway.
We rolled up more than 500 miles in our Ice Blue Metallic review unit and had no problem slipping past the official mileage estimates, with an average of 43.9 MPG on the Interstate highway and 36.3 MPG combined, with temperatures ranging from the mid-teens through the high-thirties. The test vehicle was delivered with just over 1000 miles on the odometer.
Interstate Mileage Testing:
- Cruise control set to 68 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 42.2 MPG
- Cruise control off, target speed 60-72 MPH, A/C off, windows up: 45.7 MPG
The 2011 Cruze ECO is equipped with 17-inch forged polished alloy wheels clad with P215/55R17 ultra low rolling resistance Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max all-season tires.
Highway driving range is good when equipped with the manual transmission. The 2011 Cruze ECO is fitted with a 12.6 gallon fuel tank and is designed to run regular unleaded fuel. Standard Cruze models are fitted with a larger 15.6 gallon tank.
The four wheel anti-lock (ABS) disc brake system uses front disc and rear drum brakes. Four-wheel disc brakes are not available in the Cruze ECO, although they are optional in the Cruze 2LT and standard in the Cruze LTZ.
The Cruze ECO’s dash is designed with gas savings in mind. The center-mounted Drivers Information Center includes an individual tire pressure display, and a simultaneous display of both instant and average fuel economy data. A green upshift light begs for the manual transmission to be shifted into a higher gear at fuel-efficient RPMs.
With a six MPG highway bonus over the automatic, the most fuel-conscious drivers will opt for the ECO-Overdrive six-speed manual.
While the Cruze ECO isn’t fast, it handles well and is fun to drive … proving how enjoyable it can be to shift for yourself. Aerodynamic tweaks include a lower front grille air shutter, front air dam, mid-body aero panels and rear decklid spoiler.
Although the Cruze ECO’s interior is handsomely designed and the front buckets are supportive, luxurious touches are reserved for the 2LT and LTZ models. The Cruze ECO is not available with heated seats, leather seating surfaces, or lumbar support.
Our test unit was equipped with the Connectivity Plus option package, which includes cruise control, USB iPod integration, and hands-free Bluetooth, along with a leather wrapped steering wheel with integrated controls and a leather trimmed shifter.
There are two 12-volt outlets: one on the center console (between the shifter and cupholders) and one at the back of the center console. The USB jack is located inside the center console.
GM’s OnStar is standard, with six months of complimentary Directions & Connections service. A navigation system is not offered in the Cruze ECO, although it’s optional in the Cruze 2LT and LTZ.
The Cruze ECO’s rear seat provides 37.9 inches of head room and 35.4 inches of leg room. The rear seat lacks a center armrest and will be snug for taller passengers.
The trunk provides 15 cubic feet of cargo area, with a 60/40 fold-down rear seat to accommodate longer cargo. To save weight, the Cruze ECO uses a tire sealant and inflator kit, in lieu of a spare tire.
All-in-all, the 2011 Chevy Cruze ECO is an affordable, economical, and fun-to-drive compact sedan when equipped with the six-speed manual transmission. It’s been said that we Americans have become too lazy to drive manual transmission-equipped cars. The Cruze ECO just might be the car that reverses that trend.
Parts Content Information:
U.S./Canadian Parts Content: 45%
Major Sources of Foreign Parts Content:
Final Assembly Point:
Country of Origin:
- by Daniel Gray
March 2nd, 2011
- 2012 Chevrolet Sonic LTZ Turbo Review
- 2014 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel Review
- 2010 Chevrolet Malibu Review
- 2010 Chevrolet Equinox Review
- 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco Review
- 40 MPG Cars: 2001-2013
- 2011 Hyundai Elantra Review