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    Consumer Reports Calls High-MPG Compact Cars Bunk


    William Maley

    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com

    June 3, 2012

    With gas prices going up and up, automakers are offering fuel-efficient versions of their compact cars to help stretch a gallon of gas farther.

    Consumer Reports wanted to see if these fuel-efficient compact models are worth the extra $500 - $800 from their non fuel-efficient models. They picked up a Chevrolet Cruze Eco, Ford Focus SFE, and Honda Civic HF to test the claim. Each of the vehicles were equipped with an automatic transmission.

    The Civic HF and Focus SFE is rated at 33 MPG combined, and the Cruze Eco is rated at 31 MPG combined.

    CR found in their testing the Civic HF got the highest combined MPG with 33, the Focus with 31, and the Cruze Eco was last with 27.

    The news gets even worse for the Cruze Eco. Consumer Reports found that Cruze Eco would only save about $20 per year in gas if prices stayed around $4.00. The Focus SFE would save $145 and the Civic HF would save around $135. That would mean you would need to own the vehicles between 3 to 38 years for the savings to offset the higher price.

    CR points out that the Mazda 3 SkyActiv and Toyota Corolla can achieve similar mileage without any special tweak.

    Source: Consumer Reports

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    My Cruze got much better than that. The cars tested were autotragics though. My six-speed Cruze was a mileage champ, and it was a 1LT, no Eco necessary.

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    It is all about priorities. Take the Cruze Eco. For an extra 1-3 MPG (YMMV), you pay an extra $800 and a lower-rent interior. Competitors have made similar tradeoffs in their ECO-trim vehicles. I find it interesting that people actually buy into this when they could spend their money on higher-end trim levels (and by extension a better car) and say forget saving 1-3 MPG. If I were buying new, I would reject the ECO models for a lot of reasons, including the poor ROI for the consumer.

    Then again, if I want real MPG savings, I would learn how to use a manual transmission and buy a car equipped with one.

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    How about we just forget about the whole ECO thing and Oil and go with CNG auto's.

    Mucho Cheaper price and way better ROI than the eco gives.

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    Give me a break.

    CR fails again.

    Crap article from front to back.

    40 MPG from 50/50 city/highway with my 2011 ECO 6MT.

    That's driving with a lead foot, heavy on the turbo.

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    It is all about priorities. Take the Cruze Eco. For an extra 1-3 MPG (YMMV), you pay an extra $800 and a lower-rent interior. Competitors have made similar tradeoffs in their ECO-trim vehicles. I find it interesting that people actually buy into this when they could spend their money on higher-end trim levels (and by extension a better car) and say forget saving 1-3 MPG. If I were buying new, I would reject the ECO models for a lot of reasons, including the poor ROI for the consumer.

    Then again, if I want real MPG savings, I would learn how to use a manual transmission and buy a car equipped with one.

    What is lower rent on the Eco over a similar equipped Cruze?

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    What is lower rent on the Eco over a similar equipped Cruze?

    The Eco trim level uses LS-level interior bits rather than LT or LTZ-level interior bits. A Cruze Eco customer is paying an extra $800 for a couple MPG increase, but is then punished with an interior that is LS-level. Again, why would anyone buy that Cruze Eco?

    Edited by riviera74
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    What is lower rent on the Eco over a similar equipped Cruze?

    The Eco trim level uses LS-level interior bits rather than LT or LTZ-level interior bits. A Cruze Eco customer is paying an extra $800 for a couple MPG increase, but is then punished with an interior that is LS-level. Again, why would anyone buy that Cruze Eco?

    For the same reason that people pay more for a Porsche that's stripped down & uses lightweight bits - it gives them more of what they want. What makes you right and them wrong for caring more about mpg than creature comforts?

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    What is lower rent on the Eco over a similar equipped Cruze?

    The Eco trim level uses LS-level interior bits rather than LT or LTZ-level interior bits. A Cruze Eco customer is paying an extra $800 for a couple MPG increase, but is then punished with an interior that is LS-level. Again, why would anyone buy that Cruze Eco?

    For the same reason that people pay more for a Porsche that's stripped down & uses lightweight bits - it gives them more of what they want. What makes you right and them wrong for caring more about mpg than creature comforts?

    I see your point, but does the nicer interiors really affect the MPG that badly? I kinda doubt it, if it does maybe by 1/2MPG at worst.

    There is no reason to offer eco models that cannot have the nice internals. It is just stupid decisions by bean counters and some moron in marketing that thinks people will pay a premium for the MPG and accept a lousy interior.

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    What is lower rent on the Eco over a similar equipped Cruze?

    The Eco trim level uses LS-level interior bits rather than LT or LTZ-level interior bits. A Cruze Eco customer is paying an extra $800 for a couple MPG increase, but is then punished with an interior that is LS-level. Again, why would anyone buy that Cruze Eco?

    For the same reason that people pay more for a Porsche that's stripped down & uses lightweight bits - it gives them more of what they want. What makes you right and them wrong for caring more about mpg than creature comforts?

    I see your point, but does the nicer interiors really affect the MPG that badly? I kinda doubt it, if it does maybe by 1/2MPG at worst.

    There is no reason to offer eco models that cannot have the nice internals. It is just stupid decisions by bean counters and some moron in marketing that thinks people will pay a premium for the MPG and accept a lousy interior.

    It is a good question, whether the nicer interior adds significant weight or otherwise somehow reduces economy. The other option might be that the cheaper interior costs GM less, and using it helps offset the additional cost of using unique parts on the eco for weight savings, meaning they'd have to charge more for the Eco with both the unique parts and nicer interior. If that's the only issue, though, the nicer interior should probably be optional. It could also just be a marketing ploy. It might be interesting to see what they could come up with in a super-lightweight yet upscale interior, perhaps using seats that ditch the traditional foam & fabric on metal frame for a plastic or even carbon fiber frame. I bet it wouldn't result in enough increase in economy to offset the cost though.

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    What is lower rent on the Eco over a similar equipped Cruze?

    The Eco trim level uses LS-level interior bits rather than LT or LTZ-level interior bits. A Cruze Eco customer is paying an extra $800 for a couple MPG increase, but is then punished with an interior that is LS-level. Again, why would anyone buy that Cruze Eco?

    For the same reason that people pay more for a Porsche that's stripped down & uses lightweight bits - it gives them more of what they want. What makes you right and them wrong for caring more about mpg than creature comforts?

    I see your point, but does the nicer interiors really affect the MPG that badly? I kinda doubt it, if it does maybe by 1/2MPG at worst.

    There is no reason to offer eco models that cannot have the nice internals. It is just stupid decisions by bean counters and some moron in marketing that thinks people will pay a premium for the MPG and accept a lousy interior.

    It is a good question, whether the nicer interior adds significant weight or otherwise somehow reduces economy. The other option might be that the cheaper interior costs GM less, and using it helps offset the additional cost of using unique parts on the eco for weight savings, meaning they'd have to charge more for the Eco with both the unique parts and nicer interior. If that's the only issue, though, the nicer interior should probably be optional. It could also just be a marketing ploy. It might be interesting to see what they could come up with in a super-lightweight yet upscale interior, perhaps using seats that ditch the traditional foam & fabric on metal frame for a plastic or even carbon fiber frame. I bet it wouldn't result in enough increase in economy to offset the cost though.

    How about taking the Hammock approach to seats. You dich the foam, steel springs, etc and build a seat that just molds to your body with a few tie downs to keep it from moving but reducing great amounts of weight. I am sure we can find low cost solutions that would give a better interior without sacrificing the quality and options that people will want in a car with high mileage.

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