Automotive

Unique air shutter helps Chevrolet Cruze achieve 40mpg fuel efficiency

Unique air shutter helps Chevr...
An exploded view of the Chevrolet Cruze's air shutter system
An exploded view of the Chevrolet Cruze's air shutter system
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An exploded view of the Chevrolet Cruze's air shutter system
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An exploded view of the Chevrolet Cruze's air shutter system
The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco
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The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco
The Cruze's air shutter system is located behind its front grille
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The Cruze's air shutter system is located behind its front grille
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The Honda Civic hybrid gets approximately 45 mpg on the highway, while the similarly-sized 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco gets 40 mpg. That's pretty decent on the Chevy’s part, considering it isn’t even a hybrid. Of course, because it isn’t a hybrid, that means it doesn’t sport a hybrid’s price tag – the Cruze Eco will start at $US18,895, as opposed to the Honda’s $23,800. So, how is it possible for a combustion-engined car to almost match a hybrid’s fuel efficiency? Well, lowering the weight and the ride height help a bit, but according to Chevrolet, the real reason lies in the car’s unique front air shutter system.

The shutters are located behind the Cruze’s front grille, and utilize sensors to determine ambient wind and temperature conditions. At higher speeds, electric motors automatically close the shutters, to maximize aerodynamics. At lower speeds, the shutters open, to improve engine-cooling airflow.

The Cruze's air shutter system is located behind its front grille
The Cruze's air shutter system is located behind its front grille

The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco
The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco

All told, the shutter system reduces the car’s drag coefficient by a factor of 0.016, which translates into about about one mile per gallon of added efficiency on the highway, and about half a mile per gallon combined city and highway.

The Cruze Eco will be available Q4 of this year.

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26 comments
Ravenacious
I\'m not sure this is much of an achievement! There are European and Asian non-hybrid cars that will easily do much more than this. My 10 year-old Peugeot with do 40 mpg. There are things like the WV Polo Blue Motion that will do more than 60 or 70 mpg.
Rune Winsevik
"The Honda Civic hybrid gets approximately 45 mpg on the highway, while the similarly-sized 2011 Chevrolet Cruze Eco gets 40 mpg. That's pretty decent on the Chevy's part, considering it isn't even a hybrid."
In what way is a hybrid supposed to have an advantage on the highway?
Harmsy
There are the usual muddled units here - mpg (US) and mpg (UK) are wildly different. My Honda Civic Hybrid (7 years\' old) achieves 60 mpg (UK) in the summer (when the air is thinner) and around 57 mpg in the winter. Not 45 mpg (US).
Ravenacious\'s comment about the VW is in UK units, so should not be compared to the US units in the article!
Chris Fabri
How is this unique? Porsche did this 23 years ago on the 928. Toyota also recently got credit for a dual plenum intake that the same 928 introduced. Sure, it was the top of the line Porsche, but this isn\'t new
David Klein
Harmsy, I really think that you should explain better the difference between UK mpg\'s and US mpg\'s... are their gallons of a different size or density? are there miles all flat or downhill? do they have a different atmospheric pressure or less gravitational pull? I just fail to see what the difference could possibly be between a \"UK mpg\" and a US mpg.\"
Big Mook
I don\'t get it. This isn\'t groundbreaking in any way. My 1993 Nissan Sentra XE sedan got 45 mpg (US) highway consistently with no mods. My 2002 Camry V6 gets 31 mpg highway right now, and it\'s huge and heavy compared to the Cruze Eco.
Carmakers have gone backwards IMHO. When they introduce a car that gets over 60 mpg (US) that\'s actually a practical car (like that old Sentra or my Camry) then they\'ll have something worth getting excited about.
Facebook User
one mile per gallon is not that impressive, but the article is smart in pointing out that it is way cheaper than a hybrid getting comparable mileage. That has been my argument for years. For instance, the Ford Focus Hybrid is $4000-$5000 more expensive than the regular gas version. It only increases mileage 15%. That takes a LONG time to break even on your investment. We sell a much better solution with our compact on demand hydrogen generators. They cost under $1000 (our small kits under $500) and usually average a 20-40% increase in mileage as well as a significant drop in emissions. We have had one customer go from 16 mpg to 50 mpg using our system (results not typical), which beats the pants off of a hybrid in my opinion. You can see them here if interested: http://www.hhokitsdirect.com/ You can also see real customer results here: http://hhokitsdirect.com/articles/ I can answer any questions that anyone may have about them if you want to contact me... I try not to spam my comments or use them to advertise, but I feel this is very relevant... Bob
leedobolek
Sounds great for those of us who see purely electric vehicles as problematic until the suburban and rural areas provide convenient recharging points and the mileage between charges picks up. What really bothers me is the \'made lighter\' aspect which usually means a copious use of thinner plastic. Passenger safety is paramount, more so than efficiency, and ending up implanted in the grill of a truck, bus or semi just isn\'t my idea of a smashing way to end the day. If you are going to have a lighter vehicle it will be more susceptible to wind, potholes/bumps/cracks in the pavement and will stop quicker than the steel car-crushers behind it, requiring greater attention to the road on the driver\'s part plus a safe and secure passenger compartment.
drbob
40 MPG (US) is pitiful. My bone stock old enough to vote Geo Metro gives 52 MPG(US) at 50 MPH, and 45 at 70. Why aren\'t we seeing the LUPO here?
Crazy2
Great.. But How long will Chevy Cruze last??? Chevy is not know to last like a Honda..