New York 2010: Chevrolet Cruze Range Expands With Eco, RS Models

General Motors has brought two new versions of its upcoming Cruze compact sedan to the 2010 New York Auto Show, the Eco and RS. But while both Cruze variants start off with the same car, they end up with two unique objectives.

The Cruze Eco utilizes the same 1.4-liter turbocharged I-4 engine as its LT and LTZ brethren (138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque) as well as the same six-speed automatic or six-speed manual gearbox. True to its name, it manages to achieve 40 mpg on the highway when equipped with the latter transmission. The secret lies in a number of modifications designed to make the Cruze Eco propel itself a little more efficiently. Ultra-low rolling resistance tires on unique 17-inch wheels are fitted at all four corners, while a revised grille and front air dam, aerodynamic underbody panels, and a rear spoiler all smooth airflow around the Cruze Eco, making it considerably more slippery than the standard car. One of the most innovative features is a lower grille shutter that automatically closes at high speed, smoothing airflow to the radiator and cooling the engine more efficiently, along with reducing drag. Other changes include the use of thinner sheetmetal in some areas and optimized body welds. Drag coefficient has been reduced to just below 0.30 Cd and the car will be released to showrooms in the fourth quarter of this year.

The Cruze RS has a different objective: to make Chevy's new compact sedan look a little more racy. That end is reasonably well accomplished with mildly reworked front and rear fascias to lend a more aggressive image, with the rear including a new black grille and the front incorporating new fog lights. The interior is similarly spruced up with new chrome trim and ice-blue backlighting on the gauge cluster. What the RS doesn't get, however, is a performance boost. Available as an option package on both the Cruze LT and LTZ model, the RS makes do with the same 1.4-liter and 1.8-liter inline-four engines as the standard cars do. Is more power and a sport-tuned suspension in store for the Cruz? Expectations are high, but GM refused to add much fuel to the fire here in New York.

Be sure to stay tuned to Automobile for all your 2010 New York Auto Show updates with our continuing live coverage today and tomorrow, direct from the show floor.

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