Road testing by Consumer Reports has found the fuel economy on the 2013 Fusion Hybrid sedan and new C-Max Hybrid falling far short below Ford (and EPA) triple 47 mpg (5.0 l/100 km) figures—i.e., 47 mpg for city, highway and combined—for both vehicles.
Consumer Reports found the Fusion Hybrid delivered 39 mpg (6.0 l/100 km) overall and 35 (6.7 l/100 km) and 41 (5.7 l/100 km) in city and highway conditions, respectively. For the C-Max Hybrid, the results were 37 mpg (6.4 l/100 km) overall, with 35 (6.7 l/100 km) and 38 (6.2 l/100 km) for city and highway. Consumer Reports said that these two vehicles have the largest discrepancy between overall-mpg results and the estimates published by the EPA that it has seen among any current models.
Yes, the disclaimer on EPA fuel-economy labels notes that “your results may differ.” But the overall mpg for these C-Max and Fusion models is off by a whopping 10 and 8 mpg, respectively, or about 20 percent. Our overall-mpg results are usually pretty close to the EPA’s combined-mpg estimate. Among current models, more than 80 percent of the vehicles we’ve tested are within 2 mpg. The largest discrepancy we’ve previously seen was 7 and 6 mpg for the Toyota Prius C subcompact and Prius hatchback, respectively. And while our highway test results almost always meet or exceed the EPA highway numbers, our highway figures for these cars fell far below.
Make no mistake; both the Fusion Hybrid and C-Max Hybrid still deliver excellent fuel economy. The Fusion Hybrid’s 39 mpg is the best of any family sedan we’ve tested, edging out the Toyota Camry Hybrid by 1 mpg. And the C-Max Hybrid’s 37 mpg is second only to the Prius V’s 41 mpg in its class. But our tests show that buyers shouldn’t expect the stellar 47 mpg that Ford is promoting.—Consumer Reports
Consumer Reports methodology includes first putting 2,000 break-in miles on the vehicles after buying them from local dealerships. The testers then install a precision fuel meter in the fuel line. To measure the city mpg, they run the cars through the standard course on the test track, which consists of regimented speeds, multiple stops, and predetermined idle time. For the highway mpg, they twice drove the cars each way on a specific section of a local highway at 65 mph. Tests are run by multiple drivers on each vehicle, conducted only under certain weather conditions, and corrected for ambient temperature.
Most buyers won’t get anything near 47 mpg in the real world. Even though these two Ford hybrids are very efficient, this big discrepancy may leave customers disappointed.—Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of auto testing
EPA fuel-economy estimates are the result of testing on a dynamometer. It’s worth noting, Consumer Reports pointed out, that automakers mostly self-certify their cars. Then, the EPA spot-checks about 15% of them with its own tests in a lab. Consumer Reports has reported its fuel-economy results to the EPA.
On the DOE/EPA fueleconomy.gov website, vehicle owners have reported an average 39.5 mpg for the Fusion hybrid (9 reports), with a low of 32 mpg and a high of 49 mpg. Owners also report an average 39.5 mpg for the C-MAX hybrid (23 reports), with a low of 35 mpg and a high of 45 mpg.
A Ford representative told Consumer Reports in an email:
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. This reinforces the fact that driving styles, driving conditions, and other factors can cause mileage to vary.