Chevrolet Cruze goes on sale in the U.S. this month
When the 2011 Chevrolet Cruze goes on sale in the U.S. this month, it’s going to bring a whole new experience to the compact car segment, including a brand-new approach to fuel economy. The Cruze is expected to deliver a best-in-segment 40 mpg highway, and that comes courtesy of some impressive work on the part of Chevrolet engineers. For example, a unique variable-displacement oil pump rests under the hood of the Cruze, helping both reduce strain on the engine and increase fuel efficiency.
Here’s how it works: The pump features a pivoting control-chamber mechanism and sliding vanes that allow its displacement to be varied based on engine rpm. When the engine’s first warming up, or when its operating at high speeds, the pump’s displacement is reduced as compared to during other conditions.
“By lowering the volume of oil we reduce the amount of energy, or torque, required to pump the oil, without taking necessary lubrication away from the engine,” said Mike Katerberg, assistant chief engineer for the 1.4-liter engine used in the Cruze. “Reducing the torque demand reduces fuel consumption. It’s a simple, durable, maintenance-free design that we have used in our transmissions for years and more recently in our hybrid vehicles.”
It’s just another way Chevrolet is taking fuel-efficiency to the next level with the Cruze, which will also feature such technologies as variable valve timing and, on the Cruze Eco model, a unique grille-shutter system. The latter automatically opens or closes slats in the car’s grille to optimize engine cooling and aerodynamics based on driving conditions. Other efficiency enhancers for the Cruze Eco include 17-inch alloy wheels with ultra low-rolling resistance tires, as well as a comprehensive aero-oriented body-kit.
The bottom line on the all-new Chevrolet, according to Margaret Brooks, the brand’s marketing director for small cars: “Cruze delivers the amenities, quietness and roominess you expect in larger, more upscale vehicles with the fuel economy of a compact.”