Ford has been making a lot of noise about the mileage of its Fusion and C-MAX hybrids, claiming that their 47 mpg city/highway/combined mileage easily beat rival Toyota Camry and Prius models.
When tested by Consumer Reports (CR) though, both Ford hybrids' MPGs were found overstated. Actually, that’s an understatement: the publication bashed the two Blue Oval hybrids saying that “these two vehicles have the largest discrepancy between our overall-mpg results and the estimates published by the EPA that we’ve seen among any current models.”
Spurred by CR’s findings, an Environmental Protection Agency official who wished to remain anonymous revealed that the EPA will test the two Ford hybrids again.
Consumer Reports, which always buys the car it tests and doesn’t accept ads, said that it drove them 2,000 miles before installing a “precision fuel meter” in their fuel lines.
It then proceeded on to test city driving, which includes a standard course on its Connecticut test circuit, making multiple stops and letting them idle for a predetermined period. Highway mileage was obtained by driving both cars at 65 mph on the same part of highway.
Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood issued the following statement: “Early C-Max hybrid and Fusion hybrid customers praise the vehicles and report a range of fuel economy figures, including some reports above 47 mpg. Driving styles, driving conditions and other factors can cause mileage to vary.”
CR’s auto test chief Jake Fisher said: “Hopefully the EPA and Ford can look into this… Eighty percent of the vehicles we tested are within 2 mpg of EPA estimates.”
He conceded that the Fusion and C-MAX “are still excellent vehicles when it comes to fuel economy. They are not gas guzzlers”, but he pointed out that “they’re certainly not matching the advertised claims.”
Last month, Hyundai and Kia admitted that a “testing procedure error” resulted in them advertising mileage for the majority of their 2012-2013 model year models and offered compensation to owners.
“There is an arms race when it comes to fuel economy”, commented Fisher. “There’s certainly a lot of emphasis on these numbers and getting them as high as possible.”
By Andrew Tsaousis