Independent tests of Fusion and C-MAX Hybrid MPG's lower than EPA certification
Sometimes the EPA certified fuel efficiency (MPG) rating of a car is inaccurate. On Thursday, Consumer reports released a news item saying that their testing of the Ford Fusion Hybrid and Ford C-MAX Hybrid came up with a lower MPG rating than the EPA-certified results. Turns out that others have noted the same result, and that there is a shadow of doubt over how the EPA fuel efficiency certification is carried out.
Both the Ford C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid are EPA certified for 47 MPG in city, highway and combined measurements. This sort of fuel efficiency is part of Ford's strategy to win market share away from Toyota and Honda, and Ford's product planners see a customer base moving toward green vehicles. Early sales results are showing Ford's electrified vehicles are coming on strong, especially against Toyota's offerings.
What Consumer Reports found is a different picture than painted by the EPA results. Their testing found the Fusion Hybrid delivered 39 MPG overall and 35 MPG city and 41 MPG highway. With the C-MAX Hybrid, they got 37 MPG overall, with 35 MPG city and 38 MPG highway. This undershoots the EPA certification by quite a margin. At this lower MPG measurement, the Fusion Hybrid is still the most efficient family sedan beating the Toyota Camry Hybrid by 1 MPG. The C-MAX Hybrid, by CR's test, is the second most efficient car in its class edged out only by the Toyota Prius V. However, when the C-MAX Hybrid received its 47 MPG EPA certification Ford loudly touted how that beat out the Prius V.
According to CR, their testing usually is within 1-2 MPG of the EPA results.
It's not just Consumer Reports, but several other news outlets according to a news item on Green Car Reports. That item summarized several other reports all showing MPG ratings in the vicinity of 40 MPG in real world driving by journalists attempting to replicate the EPA certification. To make it even more interesting, the fueleconomy.gov site shows a 39.5 MPG result for "Our users average MPG" for both the C-MAX Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid sitting right next to the 47 MPG official fuel efficiency rating. The picture shown above shows the range of MPG's reported by the EPA's users.
What's going on? Consumer Reports points the finger at how the EPA certification comes about in the first place.