Engineering is a always a comprimise.
that makes no sense...engineering is about developing new ways of doing things...new technologies...new materials...new standards...in that way, the car wins (as i mentioned, i like the Cruze)...it has a nice new engine (1.4T)...6 speed automatic transmissions...nice looking car inside and out, and from what i have seen, seems to get decent reviews...however, all the time and money spent on "light weight high strength plastic automated louver vents" was a waste...they took away from the "bones" of the vehicle and spent it on lipstick...instead of spending all that time and money on those silly vents, and spent it on "engineering" instead of "gimmicks", things would have been quite different....sure, those vents likely save a fraction of a MPG, but so would reducing the cars weight...and that would have benefitted the ENTIRE line up, not just the ECO model.
Just because a car is heavy doesn't mean it's under engineered.
making a lead square box is easy...making something safe, strong and lightweight is hard.
GM marketing wanted best in class safety and low noise. And they achieved it while still being near best in class in fuel economy. To me that sounds like a well engineered car. Is the car heavy for it's class ... Sure it is. Could they have used lighter materials .. Sure but it would cost a lot more. Yes the ECO uses a different gauge sheet metal. But that too is a comprimise. In a few years dings and other abuse will show a lot more on the ECO models compared to the regular Cruze. But you get better fuel economy in return.
but it wouldn't have had to cost more...the money they spent on those silly vents could have instead been put to use in using more high strength steel, maintaining sheet metal thickness and weld seams....that would have made much more sense...in fact, had they done that, they wouldn't even need a special "ECO" version of the car, as the entire Cruze line-up would have benefited from such "engineering", not just one limited production model.
GM took a different approach with the Cruze and pushed for a more premium feeling compact car. Hyundai (for example) went for the most features for the buck approach and was willing to comprimise the premium feeling a little (compared to the Cruze) to achieve good fuel economy.
To elaborate i'm not knocking Hyundai. Just they have taken a different approach and are essentially targeting different people. Want a cost effective feature rich car buy the Hyundai. Want a quiet refined solid car then buy the Cruze. Want both well you will have to pony up the money for the LTZ Cruze.
i wouldn't really say the Cruze is above the Hyundai, as i think both are very good...as i said, i still think the Cruze is a great car...i just wish they thought more about what they were doing as it could have been much better...perhaps a diesel Cruze may fit that bill, as rumour has it we might see it next year.