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An open letter to Ford from a customer

I thought my 2013 C-MAX would be a Prius Killer? NOT! As a returning Ford buyer I feel deceived. I want to support US companies and US jobs. What was Ford thinking when they published 47/47/47 estimates? Based on the advertised EPA estimates, I would have been OK with low 40’s...but 28-33 mpg is not even in the ballpark.

This is not an issue about EPA testing standards, but rather an issue about setting false customer expectations in order to promote sales. Ford’s “47MPG” marketing campaign tarnished what should have been the roll-out of a truly remarkable vehicle, the CMAX.

Real-world MPG estimates should have been promoted in the mid-30’s. No one would have questioned those numbers and the CMAX would have received the accolades it deserves. How these MPG estimates made it through Ford corporate is beyond me! Maybe it was the rush to go to market?

I have been accused of not knowing how to drive hybrid. For the record, during the last three years I have leased both a 2010 Prius and 2010 Honda Insight Hybrid, and consider myself an experienced hyper-miler.

My mileage in the Prius is 50-plus, the Insight is 40-plus. The C-MAX is a well-built car, with extremely inflated EPA estimates. I respectfully request that this matter be investigated as soon as possible.

My efforts to deal with this locally and through Ford customer service have frustrated me to no end. The constant response? “You need to learn to how to drive a hybrid type of vehicle.” Is there a difference how I drive Prius Hybrid vs. the CMAX hybrid? I think we all know the answer to that. I need someone at Ford to reach out to me and assist in a proactive manner so we can put this matter to rest.

Ronald Kramer Yankee Ford Customer
South Portland, Maine


consumer 4100

I had expectations of buying one of the Ford Fusion energi cars. I had saved up CASH to pay for it. Yes, cash! First the darn trunk was only 8.2 cu ft. Second Ford was being proven wrong in their mileage claims.

After all the clearly overblown claims from Ford, I took my CASH to another dealer and bought a vehicle there.

Ford, you guys blew it - BIG!!

And you can cut the little video of how a cardboard box was used to configure the batteries in the Fusion trunk. I call that LAZY engineering.


I'm thinking we are into canary colored journalism here.

Walt D

Then you go read all the stories on the Internet about how people in the "real world" are driving Diesel VW Cars (aka VW TDI) and beating the EPA Estimates - Real People, Real World, Every Day... All Ford needs to do is bring the Diesel Focus to the USA... GM Could do the same whith their cars - done deal. If they want to do some mild hybridization on the diesel cars, all the better.

One example: http://www.autotrader.com/research/article/green-car/152744/2011-vw-jetta-tdi-test-real-world-fuel-economy.jsp


Will see, but that doesn't smell good for Ford...anyway I was leery of the number claimed by Ford from the beginning. From what I understand they have over stretched the room for interpretation in the EPA protocol for mileage test.


I'm not a fan of big government but I was a bit surprised to learn that the EPA does not actually perform the mileage tests that it backs but rather leaves it to the most interested party, the car maker, to do so. First Hyundai. Now Ford? Who's next? Perhaps we should all begin using Consumer Reports numbers!


Diogenes lend us your lantern.


And people on this forum says that the US EPA test cycle should be so much better than the European NEDC.


There is no magic in getting great fuel economy from a vehicle - keep momentum changes to a minimum.

Diesel owners may be more educated on how to drive frugally, that is my guess. Granted the gear ratios, efficiency points and regeneration are all gamed to get the best MPG. However, drive any car like a sports car and the fuel economy goes out the window. Drive like the average American and you will get what you pay for.


Diesels are simply more efficient due to the high compression ration and lack of throttle vacuum losses.. but the cost to purchase and maintain!.. add to that super expensive repairs.

A C-Max gets about 37mpg, and that is darn good for such a large and boxy vehicle.. plus its way more powerful than a Prius

Nick Lyons

CMax simply does not achieve its stated mileage. Example: Consumer Reports tests highway mileage with a fuel-flow meter while running at a steady 65mph on a straight, flat highway. Results:

CMax: 38mpg
Prius V: 47mpg

There is no way the CMax will achieve 47mpg in actual highway driving if it can only do 38mpg under optimum conditions.

What was Ford was thinking when they decided to create a host of disappointed customers? The 'learn how to drive a hybrid' BS just doesn't wash.

john mcavoy

Why no mention of Volt? I'm still on my first tank after one month. Oh yeah, how about the no gas LEAF and Tesla?


The folks that made this awful PR base decision (we go with 47mpg even though normal drivers will have trouble touching 40mpg) should be fired (and then that news spread around the executive ranks liberally to prevent a recurrence - Ford has a history of shortsighted Executive decision making....thinking of the exploding Pinto days).

About the only way I could see how they got these numbers is when they did the estimates, Ford let the vehicle accelerate totally on its battery (probably accelerating ridiculously slowly to achieve that) preventing ICE startup for as long as possible (and making sure the battery was topped off before each section of the test was started).


Ford has closed its comments applications stating they are updating their system. I think it's because they are getting so many complaints. (How long does it take to update a sys) It's a shame, as a Prius owner I was considering a Cmax , decent milage and Ford took no gov. money


Like Herm says, 37mpg is very good for a normal vehicle. Equivalent to a 2 door early 90s (very light weight) Civic with a 1.6L engine.

But DOES it get even 37 mpg if you drive a bit carefully?

Admitting early that this would not outdo a prius in straight MPG (but might in pound-miles/gal) would not have made the purist buy.

" I would have been OK with low 40’s" - probably not.

One can only wonder what claiming 47 mpg will do for their image - they will not lose the Prius buyers - they never really had them.

I would bet you can easily get 47 mpg by hypermiling at 47 mph or so, supposedly even by driving the EPA cycle.

As RD implies; what good is the EPA?

The gov is supposed to protect us - not just publish claims (and fund endless wacko programs).


This is all a trade-off; just be glad that C-Max beats Prius in acceleration.


The EPA tests are the same for every car. It's not like Fords could publish different numbers that don't correspond to the EPA test.
Manufacturers do run their own tests, but the protocol is the same for everyone, and the EPA will spot-check their results (as they did recently with Hyundai). Those who decry government waste would be even more perturbed than usual if civil servants had to run a standard test against every possible vehicle powertrain combination, every year.

The problem here is that the EPA loops are relatively short, and mostly low-speed. That means that a hybrid that starts a test with a full battery (as they are allowed to do) will score relatively better than other cars.

The Prius gets most of its fuel economy from the fact that it is very small, light, and aerodynamic. It has relatively little battery capacity and very little electric-only range.
The C-Max is a bigger car with more electric range. It benefits from that range in EPA tests, and also in some driving patterns, but not in others.

I think that some owners will be pleased, and some won't. Same thing with someone who purchased a Prius to do mostly highway miles: they're not getting a mileage advantage, at a cost of terrifying handling (esp. in cross winds and when near 18 wheelers) and poor cargo capacity.


the worse part is wayne from cleanmpg.com can confirm these reports, ford you better ante up or else your going into the tank with the kia/hyundai fuel economy fiasco

Mohan Raj

Hold on guys.

When I bought a Prius-2007 in January end, I got 28 MPG in freezing 10 degrees fahrenheit cold especially driving just 3 miles from home to train station.

Shorter trips means lesser mileage as it takes time to heat the Lubricating Oil. All vehicles give 30 % lesser mileage in winter.

But as the spring and summer came and I took a 2500 mile trip from Chicago to Orlando and back, my car averaged 49.5 MPG with 4 passengers and lot of baggage.

My average is 44 MPG. Wait until spring/summer and soon your C-Max will hit the 47 MPG mark. And note that C-Max has lot more interior space than Prius.

Even when Prius was launched, many people complained that its MPG was very low, but as they drove in summers, it gave the best 50 MPG.


uh Raj the OP knows this and he suggests that short trips are not the problem

the way i see it, if wayne from cleanmpg has trouble, the car is in trouble ;)


Wayne Gerdes over at cleanmpg.com has compared the C-Max against the Prius hatchback and the station wagon.. it achieves 47mpg at a constant speed of 60mph on a flat hwy.. obviously both Priuses do better but that is due to a smaller frontal area and higher Cd. The C-Max is a box on wheels. We think it uses regen on the hwy too aggressively and too often, it should glide more. Perhaps Ford can reprogram that.

You can see the charts here:



This guy is not a hyper-miler. Hyper-milers get upper 60s -lower 70s mpg. I get 55 mpg in the Prius 2010 without even trying (OK - 1/2 highway at 65mph and 1/2 local streets). My last tank was 658 miles using 10 gallons to fill back up.

It sounds like Ford is guilty of deceiving customers. There is no excuse for that. Punishment is bad PR and loss of sales from people who won't buy from a dishonest manufacturer. Whatever wrist slap the EPA gives them, customer backlash will be worse.


Then again, Toyota may have set the bar high for expectations. They claim ~50mpg and that is easily achieved by most drivers, with many drivers exceeding this number.

The charts posted by Herm
don't look that bad. I still say that Ford disappointed its customers by over promising, especially when Toyota over delivers. Seems like an experienced hypermiler can get the 47 mpg from this car, but that takes a lot of work and a lot of slow driving. When you do that with a Prius, you get 20-30% more mpg than the quoted amount, not just barely meet the spec promised.

Mohan Raj

I see many C-Max Taxis belonging to 2 separate companies.
Taxi companies won't buy a car without testing its mileage thoroughly. Definitely it will have 47 MPG or closer.

This writer is from Maine state which is much north of New York and is extremely cold. So wait for few more weeks and as the warm comes in the mileage will also go up.

Besides there is a opinion that before we learn to drive hybrids, they learn to handle our driving and handle accordingly to give a higher mileage.



>>All Ford needs to do is bring the Diesel Focus to the USA... GM Could do the same whith their cars - done deal. If they want to do some mild hybridization on the diesel cars, all the better.

+100 that one.

Also, American drivers have to stop being such power-tripping acceleration freaks. It's absolutely awful to see how they drive, and how much oil they waste. And it is not just the men, the women are driving just as badly.



As long as this kind of ad sells cars. . .

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