Posted by: David Kiley on September 15, 2008
Chevrolet chief Ed Peper only says that the Chevy Cruze, when it hits the market in mid 2010, will post fuel economy “North of 40 mpg.” That’s thanks to a 1.4 liter, direct injected turbo-charged engine that will be standard equipment.
It’s bigger than a Ford Focus or Toyota Corolla, says Peper, yet gets better fuel economy. That was a unique trick, but the small displacement and direct injection seems to be the key. What I think will make this model take off is the ability to scream the 42mpg headline in ads.
The Toyota Prius, a hybrid, gets better mileage. And despite having the expensive battery on-board, sticker prices are $22-$23K. Dealers, though, are getting more. As David Welch reports, Peper wants to price the Cruze above Corolla to earn money for the fuel economy benefit. Some doubt whether Chevy can pull it off—pricing above Toyota given Chevy’s down-market image for cars. But I’d say that a Cruze, without a pricey navigation system, could well go out the door at $19,000-plus. Maybe $20K-plus with a navi, and even more with leather and the like.