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Owners report Ford's latest hybrids don't live up to 47-mpg claims

Consumer Reports News: December 03, 2012 03:38 PM

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Automakers have answered new fuel economy requirements and increased consumer demand with some lofty mpg claims. But it seems some of these claims have been a little too high, at least on paper.

We all know the disclaimer about fuel economy "estimates" and how your results may differ. Well, some of the most impressive "estimates" have come from Ford on its new hybrid lineup.

For both the new C-Max Hybrid and Ford Fusion Hybrid, the company estimates the cars will return 47 mpg in either city or highway driving. Now media outlets are sharing owner tales of Ford's new hybrids not living up to those claims. (Read related coverage from Automotive News, Green Car Reports, and Fox News.)

At last check, the official EPA website,, has gathered estimates from 14 real-world C-Max Hybrid owners and five 2013 Fusion Hybrid owners. The C-Max owners report averaging 40.5 mpg; the Fusion Hybrid owners, just 37.1 mpg.

Again, your results may vary.

We've bought one of each of these cars, and our test drivers are busy putting break-in miles on them. We'll report results from our own real-world fuel economy tests as soon as we have them.

In the meantime, our anecdotal experience also isn't living up to Ford's 47 mpg claims. The trip computer in our C-Max has been wavering between about 33 mpg and 39 mpg. We've only had our Fusion Hybrid for two weeks, but one driver with a long commute says he saw about 40 mpg on its trip computer.

It's worth noting that at these high mileage levels, even a small increase in fuel consumption look like a big shortfall in mpg.

Earlier this month, the EPA forced Hyundai to restate fuel economy estimates for 23 models after overstating their estimates. The company is spending an estimated $100 million a year to refund customers who bought the cars for the extra fuel they burn.

Hyundai Chief Technology Officer W. C. Yang says the company is making "process corrections" in how it rates fuel economy. For the most part, automakers self-certify their vehicles' fuel economy, and then EPA tests about 15 percent of them in a lab to check the automakers' claims. With hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, automakers have every incentive to squeeze out the highest fuel economy estimates they can.

Updated: We now know how these Ford perform in our repeatable, real-world fuel economy tests.

Why do Ford's new hybrids ace the EPA fuel economy tests?
Tests show Ford Fusion, C-Max hybrids don't live up to 47-mpg claims
We get a charge out of driving the new Ford C-Max Hybrid, C-Max Energi
New 2013 Ford Fusion makes a good first impression

Eric Evarts

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