These days, the gold standard for compact cars is the ability to meet or exceed 40 mpg on the highway. Currently, the Chevrolet Cruze is able to do so when fitted with the Eco package (42 mpg highway), but other forms of the car don’t quite meet the big 4-0. However, they will move closer to that mark for 2012 — some slight revisions will allow most 2012 Cruze models to bring their highway ratings up to 38 mpg.
As was the case for 2011, non-Eco-spec 2012 Cruze models (with the exception of the entry-level LS trim) are fitted with GM’s turbocharged 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine, which is mated only to a six-speed automatic transmission. 2011 models are rated by the EPA at 24/36 mpg (city/highway), but thanks to new taller gearing in the transmission, Chevy was able to bump that last figure up by two MPG.
Two miles per gallon may not seem much, but it’s enough to change how the turbocharged Cruze ranks amongst its peers. When looking at compact cars without specialized fuel economy package, the Cruze’s highway ranking now rests within the top four spots, besting the Ford Focus but falling short of the Honda Civic and Hyundai Elantra.
Pricing for the 2012 Cruze has yet to be announced, but expect pricing to remain similar to the 2011 model. Pricing starts at $17,275 (destination included), but the 1LT model — the least expensive trim to receive the aforementioned turbocharged engine and the aforementioned economy bump — presently stickers for $19,175. Expect finalized figures to emerge later this year when 2012 models begin to roll into Chevy showrooms nationwide.