One of the most important cars being shown this year, for its potential sales volume as a replacement for the popular Cobalt, is the Chevrolet Cruze.

The small midsized, front drive car has been shown before. It's already on sale in some other markets and it's due here later this year.

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For buyers interested in the ultimate in fuel economy from a Cruze, Chevy executives at the show were talking mostly about a version called the Eco, which they said would get 40 mpg for highway driving in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's test cycle.

Under its hood will be a 1.4-liter four-cylinder engine with a turbocharger. The Eco will come with a six-speed stick shift and be available with a six-speed automatic transmission. Cruze vehicle line director Chuck Russell said other measures to help improve fuel economy include lighter weight materials and a special shutter over the car's lower grille to redirect air at highway speeds beneath the car for smoother aerodynamics, rather than into the engine compartment for cooling.

AP Photo

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