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Cars that fall short of EPA fuel economy estimates

Consumer Reports News: February 20, 2012 10:08 AM

Last week, we looked at whether cars rated at 40 mpg EPA highway could actually deliver on that estimate in the real world. It turns out that most can based on our tests, but the Hyundai Elantra fell a bit short. Are there other cars that are also challenged to live up to their window sticker?

Here are other recently tested cars and truck that just match (or miss) their EPA highway fuel economy numbers in Consumer Reports highway tests.

EPA highway fuel economy, below 25 mpg
Make & Model EPA Highway MPG CR Highway MPG Difference (mpg)
Chevrolet Silverado 1500 21 19 -2
Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ 21 20 -1
Chevrolet Suburban 21 20 -1
Chevrolet Traverse 23 23 0
Nissan Quest 24 24 0
Toyota Tacoma (V6) 21 21 0
EPA highway fuel economy, between 25 and 40 mpg
Hyundai Santa Fe (4-cyl.) 25 24 -1
Ford Edge (FWD, 2.0 EcoBoost) 30 29 -1
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport 28 28 0
Subaru Impreza Premium (sedan) 36 35 -1
Ford Escape Hybrid 27 27 0
Ford Taurus Limited 3.5 27 27 0
Hyundai Santa Fe (V6) 26 26 0
Hyundai Tucson 28 28 0
Kia Forte EX Hatchback (2.0) 36 36 0
Kia Optima LX (2.4) 34 34 0
Kia Sorento (4-cyl.) 28 28 0
Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 27 27 0

This list features a variety of automakers and models. However, about a third are Hyundai and Kia vehicles (the Forte, Optima, Santa Fe, Sorento, and Tucson). Several large GM pickups and SUVs appear here, too. Hitting the EPA highway estimates in these vehicles will be more difficult than in the typical vehicle.

To sum up, you probably can easily beat the EPA highway numbers in your Volkswagen TDI or Toyota Prius. If you drive a big GM truck or SUV, a Hyundai or Kia, then you may struggle to achieve the window sticker figure. Even beyond that, there are exceptions: The Hyundai Sonata with its base 2.4-liter beat its EPA estimate by 4 mpg in our tests.

For buyers interested in fuel economy, there’s more to the story. Tune in tomorrow for more.

For more on fuel economy, see our special section.
See our video on how we test for fuel economy.

Tom Mutchler

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