Topshot by Sally Torchinsky

Hey, did you hear? The all new 2016 Chevrolet Cruze will get up to 42 mpg highway! Are you excited? Because Chevrolet is very excited that their all new Cruze that has about the same MPG ratings as a 2012 Mazda3.

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The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze looks to be a pretty nice car for someone looking for an affordable compact sedan. This week Chevrolet released a statement that the Cruze will achieve up to 42 MPG highway and 30 MPG city. Pretty impressive figures when you consider the last Cruze only managed 38 MPG highway and 26 MPG in the city. (Of course, if you opted for the Eco model with some fancy aero flaps and low-rolling resistance tires, you could eke out another 1 or 2 MPG.)

All this newfound efficiency is achieved through a 1.4-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that puts out 153 horsepower and 177 lb-ft of torque. Chevy also claims that it was able to find 250 pounds of weight savings from the previous Cruze.

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Chevy is quick to point out that the new Cruze will be more efficient than some of the other compact cars in the class.

The Cruze’s EPA-estimated 42-mpg highway rating for L, LS and LT models rivals its competition. It tops competitors such as Focus with a four-cylinder (40 mpg hwy), Nissan Sentra FE (40 mpg hwy), Mazda3 (41 mpg hwy), Hyundai Elantra (37 mpg hwy) and Volkswagen Jetta (40 mpg hwy – non-hybrid)

However, the brand conveniently leaves out the two best selling compact cars in that segment: the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic. Toyota manages to get 40 MPG highway and 30 MPG city from the Eco trim, but does so with only 140 horsepower, so Chevy takes the win there.

But on the other hand, the 2016 Honda Civic will get 42 on the highway and 31 MPG in the city when equipped with the 1.5 liter turbo motor that puts out 174 horsepower, but only 163 lb-ft of torque. This engine is available in the EX-T, EX-L, and Touring trims.

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Of course, the Cruze starts at a lower price point with a starting MSRP of $17,495 (L trim with manual transmission) and comes standard with the 1.4 liter turbo. While the Civic starts at $19,475 for an LX with a manual and you are stuck with the naturally aspirated 158 horsepower, 2.0 liter motor that achieves 40 MPG highway and 27 city.

What I find especially curious is when you start moving up the in the trim levels and start tacking on options. Load up a 2016 Cruze Premier Automatic with things such as a sunroof, navigation, and advanced safety features and you will max the price at $28,640. Chevy also notes that all that extra gear will pull down the efficiency a little bit to 40 MPG highway.

A fully equipped Honda Civic Touring with sunroof, Navigation, and advanced safety features, will maintain its 42 MPG highway rating and max out at $27,335.

We drove the 2016 Civic and it is pretty fantastic. Maybe the Cruze will be just as good, but I’m not surprised why Chevrolet chose to exclude the Civic from its grand statement.

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The 2016 Cruze is a nice car and is certainly and improvement over the previous generation. I imagine it will find a few customers once Chevrolet and the dealerships throw in their discounts to steal sales from Ford and the Asian brands.

However, when Chevrolet has engineers that can make things like the Camaro and Corvette that outperform and undercut cars that cost much more, the 2016 Cruze doesn’t seem all that impressive.