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Joining the over-40 mpg club: Overachievers that can beat EPA fuel economy ratings

Consumer Reports News: February 21, 2012 09:08 AM

We’ve recently showed that most fuel-efficient cars can beat their EPA highway fuel economy estimates in Consumer Reports measured fuel economy testing. But if you want to hit 40 mpg on the highway, our tests show that you have more options than you might think.

Below is a list of recently tested vehicles that returned 40 mpg or better in our 65-mph highway fuel economy testing, but were officially rated for less.

Make & Model EPA Highway MPG CR Highway MPG Difference (mpg)
Honda Civic LX 39 47 8
Honda Civic EX 39 43 4
Ford Fiesta SE sedan 39 45 6
Ford Focus SE 38 43 5
Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE 38 43 5
Fiat 500 Sport (manual) 38 42 4
Fiat 500C Pop (manual) 38 42 4
Nissan Versa SV sedan 38 40 2
Honda CR-Z EX (manual) 37 45 8
Ford Fiesta SES hatchback (manual) 38 42 4
Mini Cooper (manual) 37 41 4
BMW 335d (diesel) 36 40 4
Ford Fusion Hybrid 36 40 4
Toyota Camry LE 35 41 6
Mazda2 Sport (manual) 35 40 5
Toyota Corolla LE 34 40 6
Scion xD (manual) 33 40 7

If getting that magic 40 mpg on the highway is important to you, this list provides more options.

Again, it’s important to emphasize that maximizing fuel economy depends a lot on how and where you drive.

Several years ago we measured fuel economy with a 2005 Toyota Camry four-cylinder sedan in different situations. Driving at 65 mph delivered 35 mpg; speeding up to 75 mph cut that to 30 mpg, while slowing down to 55 mph returned 40 mpg. Hard acceleration and braking reduced the Camry’s mileage by 2 to 3 mpg.

The bottom line

EPA highway fuel economy numbers provide a place to start your comparison shopping, but they’re often over-hyped as advertising claims. The full fuel picture is more complicated than that. We suggest using a variety of sources, including Consumer Reports test data, to determine if you’ll actually get the fuel economy you desire.

Tom Mutchler

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