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2016 Chevy Cruze: Gasoline version's MPG beats even last year's Eco model (+video)

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Rebecca Cook/Reuters/File

(Read caption) General Motors Executive Vice President Global Product Development Mark Reuss talks about the new 2016 Chevy Cruze vehicle at the Filmore Theater in Detroit last year

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The 2016 Chevrolet Cruze EPA fuel-economy ratings beat those of all gasoline versions of the previous-generation model.

The second-generation Cruze was unveiled last June, and shown in China before that, but is just now going on sale throughout the U.S..

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It achieves a best of 30 mpg city, 42 mpg highway, 35 mpg combined, making good on Chevy's promise that the 2016 Cruze would achieve at least 40 mpg highway.

That's with the 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that is currently the only one available, and a 6-speed automatic transmission.

This engine produces 153 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque, which is sent to the front wheels.

A 6-speed manual gearbox is also available on the base model; that version of the Cruze is rated at 29 mpg city, 41 mpg highway, 33 mpg combined.

The highway rating drops to 40 mpg in the top Cruze Premier model, which is only offered with the 6-speed automatic.

The 2016 Cruze beats all standard versions of the previous-generation Cruze by a fair margin.

It even inches past the efficiency-focused 2015 Cruze Eco model, powered by an older 1.4-liter turbo engine.

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That model was rated at 28 mpg city, 42 mpg highway, 33 mpg combined when fitted with a 6-speed manual transmission

With a 6-speed automatic, it gets 26 mpg city, 39 mpg highway, 31 mpg combined.

Previous-generation models, including the Eco, are still available but now wear the Cruze Limited name.

The improvements in the new 2016 Cruze sedan are due in part to a lower drag coefficient of 0.29, and a lower weight than the previous model.

The new body cuts weight by around 250 pounds in most versions, according to Chevy.

The previous-generation diesel model still has the advantage in highway fuel economy, though, at 46 mpg.

Chevy says it will launch a new Cruze diesel in early 2017, so a direct comparison with the outgoing model can be made then.

A five-door hatchback will also join the existing four-door sedan for the 2017 model year.

We'll be driving the new 2016 Cruze shortly, and will bring you our driving impressions as soon as we have them.