If that is the case, what those buyers have learned is that Chevrolet has done a number of things to improve the fuel efficiency of the Cruze. Low rolling resistance tires and specially designed wheels which are four pounds lighter apiece help to start to boost that effi ciency. The Cruze also has a smaller (12 gallons) gas tank than many vehicles but—given the great efficiency— can still provide a fuel range pushing 500 miles. Aero panels under the vehicle cut down on wind resistance to further help the Cruze boast of having the best highway mileage of any gas engine in America.

The manual, six-speed transmission in the Eco model also tweaks out fuel economy. Automatic transmission is available for about $1,000 but also will cut into that fuel efficiency a little bit.

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Johnson said Chevrolet has even removed some of the insulation to lighten the load, but a person would not know it given the very quiet, smooth ride provided by the Cruze. And with the efficient engine and the lighter load, there is plenty of get up and go in the Cruze. With the manual transmission, I would say the Cruze provides a fun, sporty driving experience.

One change in the 2012 version from 2011 is a 60/40 rear folding seat which is a plus for storage and hauling. Johnson said he has not heard about any significant changes for the 2013 models which should be arriving on the Vogel lot in August or September.

The starting price point for the 2012 Chevrolet Cruze is around $20,120. Check out the nice selection at Vogel Chevrolet in Kiel.