Never mind the Cobalt. Forget you ever heard the name Cavalier. The newest compact C-car from Chevrolet is the Cruze – a globally engineered vehicle designed not just to compete in the growing small-car segment, but to win.
And for the first time, well, ever, this isn’t just marketing hype behind a lackluster model with a typically low-grade interior.
Already on sale in 60 countries worldwide, this global platform still has a few surprises for its North American debut. Most notably is the launch of a new turbocharged 1.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, designed to deliver the power and driving experience of a larger powerplant with class leading fuel economy. In fact, Chevy claims an ECO model (with a 6-speed manual transmission) will get 40-mpg on the highway. An automatic ECO model will get slightly less, with standard models most likely in the mid 30s range – although no official numbers have yet to be released.
The engine looks tiny in the cavernous space under the hood, its puny turbocharger about the size of a fist. Yet despite its size, the 1.4 delivers both power and fuel economy. During our day with the Cruze, we registered an average of 27-mpg (under what can easily be considered harder than average driving conditions). As for power, the little engine makes a total of 138-hp and 148 ft-lbs of torque, with that torque number coming on strong at 1850 rpm.
More: 2011 Chevy Cruze First Drive