The EPA says the 2012 Cruze Eco with an automatic transmission gets 39 mpg on the highway, which is 2 mpg more than the 2011 Eco.

The 2011 Chevrolet Cruze is one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in its class, and for 2012, Chevrolet managed to increase its fuel economy by 2 percent by making a few eco-minded changes. “One of those technologies is deceleration fuel cutoff (DFCO). While the vehicle is decelerating or slowing down, fuel is automatically shut off to the Cruze’s advanced Ecotec engine,” Chevrolet says in a press release. “When the driver accelerates, the fuel automatically begins flowing again and the vehicle accelerates as the driver commands.”

The DRCO technology is available on Cruze models with both manual and automatic transmissions. So far, the EPA has only rated the Cruze Eco, and says models with an automatic transmission will get 26/39 mpg city/highway, which is two more miles per gallon than the 2011 model equipped with an automatic transmission. According to preliminary tests, Chevrolet says all models with 1.4-liter turbo engines and six-speed automatic transmissions will get a 2 mpg increase. The automaker adds that an Eco with a manual transmission still has the highest ratings of 42 mpg on the highway.

These aren’t the only changes the affordable small car will undergo for the 2012 model year. Previously, 1LT models (one step up from the base trim) and Eco models didn’t come with Bluetooth, USB port, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel and a leather-wrapped shift knob. These features, which came with the $525 Connectivity Plus Cruise option package for 2011, now come with the 1LT and Eco.  

Chevrolet has also added a new touch-screen navigation system with a 7-inch color display that is now optional on the Eco trim, which didn’t have this option last year. This navigation system is also a lot cheaper than the previous version. According to Autoblog, “General Motors has announced that the automaker is reducing the price of its optional navigation system in the Chevrolet Cruze by 50 percent. Buyers who wait for the 2012 model will enjoy an upgraded system for the lowly price of $995, or around $800 more than an excellent on-dash aftermarket nav. The new kit comes with a touch-screen interface and better resolution than the old screen, though users will still be able to make use of physical knobs on the dash to make their selections if they so desire.”

USA Today adds that the new navigation system “ditches the 10-gigabyte hard drive for an SD card slot. No hard drive means the 2012 Cruze loses its ability to pause and play radio stations and record music off CDs, MP3 players and smartphones.”

The 2012 Chevrolet Cruse isn’t available yet, but it should hit the market before the end of the summer.

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