Ford 3, Chevy 0

2011 Focus: 40 mpg ... with an automatic.

Chevy threw down the 40 mpg gauntlet earlier this year when they announced that the Chevy Cruze ECO model would deliver up to 40 mpg city and 43 mpg highway … which has, over time, turned into “Coming late 2010, Cruze ECO is expected to offer up to 40 mpg highway.” on the company’s Chevy Cruze website.

SO, to recap:  before anyone can even test the cars, GM’s already backing down from their initial Cruze’s mpg claims, much as they’re backing down from claims that their upcoming Jesus Car Volt will be motivated by purely electric power …

… what does it all mean?

In case you hadn’t noticed, that’s a picture of a 2011 Ford Focus up there, not a 2011 Chevy Cruze ECO – and that has to have the marketing guys at GM shaking in their boots because, as Jack Baruth points out over on the Truth About Cars blog, the new 2011 Ford Focus is offering 40 mpg from their new Focus compact – which would seem like a direct competitor to Chevy’s Cruze ECO if not but for one very important fact:  the Chevy Cruze ECO wants buyers to row their own gears.

Last time I cruised a dealer’s lot, it seemed to me that the vast majority of cars actually being sold were automatics.  The official numbers read 91% automatics for 2009 MY cars.  I think that figure is probably higher, by now – and if you start comparing the Ford to the Chevy in a more apples-to-apples (or, “automatics-to-automatics”) sort of way, you’ll find that the automatic Cruze gets about 36 mpg.  To put it another way:  less.

Adding insult to injury, the new Focus offers buyers 160 hp (vs. the ECO’s 138 hp) and is fully E85 capable, for those of you who (as Jack puts it) “take particular joy in helping America’s trade balance by running up the price of foodstuffs.”

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s:

  • 2011 Ford Focus auto:  40 mpg, 160 hp, E85
  • 2011 Chevy Cruze ECO manual:  40 mpg, 138 hp, not E85

SOURCE:  The Truth About Cars.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.