Heather Peters beat Honda. A small claims court in California awarded Ms. Peters $9,867 because it agreed that her Honda Civic Hybrid failed to deliver the 50 mpg EPA rating Honda claimed it would. According to The Detroit News, Honda is appealing the decision, especially after the success of Peters's suit inspired 1,700 others to opt out of a 2003-2009 model year class action settlement, possibly portending a wave of one-shot litigation that the company would have to defend itself against.

Honda didn't seem to take Heather Peters very seriously until it lost, but it now seems that the company is intent on not blowing its last chance to have the case reviewed. Peters will be presenting new evidence and both sides will get to argue their side of the issue to a judge, basically re-trying the initial case.


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  • 38 Comments
      Ron spins
      • 2 Years Ago
      Things like using your defroster (which uses ac) and high heat makes a big difference. No way she should have Won this lawsuit.
        XT6Wagon
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ron spins
        So honda shouldn't be liable for straight up fraud? Thats the bigger issue here, why hasn't the EPA sued Honda into the ground yet? Honda did thier testing and got a certain EPA milage. The EPA then either approved it or did thier own testing and approved it. Then later after customers had cars in hand, Honda performed a reflash of the ECU that lowered the MPG the car could achieve. They continued to sell new cars on the lot with the lower MPG but with the same EPA rating on the sticker.
          Mike
          • 2 Years Ago
          @XT6Wagon
          +1
          Rr778
          • 2 Years Ago
          @XT6Wagon
          your aware that the EPA under rates SUVs and over rates subcompacts due to the nature of its testing right? Why do you think Kia doesn't advertise that it's subcompact get 40+ mpg EPA. There is a difference between EPA rated, and actual mpg. Honda legal should have known better than to listen to its marketing dept.
          aMaG1CaLMaNg1Na
          • 2 Years Ago
          @XT6Wagon
          EPA, sue Honda? Are you nuts? EPA re-evaluates all drive train programs before they are allowed to be rolled out to the public. You obviously have 0 understanding of EPA/CARB testing procedures and evaluation.
      Big Rocket
      • 2 Years Ago
      I wish the media, including Autoblog, would report the facts more accurately. In a nutshell, this is what really happened: Folks bought the Civic Hybrid and got a certain MPG due to their particular driving styles, then later on, Honda secretly changed their car's software. The new software engaged the hybrids' batteries less often, which prolonged the hybrids' batteries and resulted in less warranty cost out of Honda's pocket, but noticeably reduced MPG for the cars' owners. This isn't about how your mileage may vary due to your personal driving style. The same drivers are getting less MPG because of the new software, a change that was made without their knowledge. Should companies be allowed to secretly change the product in your possession after you had purchased it? That is what this case is really about.
        foci
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Big Rocket
        Did Honda reprogram the software of the car that customers purchased? Or did Honda change the software of new and unsold cars. If Honda made the change to unsold car , I see no issue. Either way the case about a published mpg claim.
          • 2 Years Ago
          @foci
          [blocked]
          XT6Wagon
          • 2 Years Ago
          @foci
          Honda has a long history of performing reflashes and repairs on customers cars without authorisation from said customer. They do this to avoid recalls. So you take your civic hybrid in for an oil change or other minor service, and BAM suddenly your car gets worse gas milage.
          merlot066
          • 2 Years Ago
          @foci
          Even if they changed it on unsold cars, they did so after advretising mileage given the old programming.
      cardiologymidwest
      • 2 Years Ago
      She should sue the EPA. Honda just reported EPA numbers. Never trust a lawyer to be fair.
        Christopher Evans
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cardiologymidwest
        In all fairness to the down voters, it is the EPAs test.
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cardiologymidwest
        [blocked]
        Rr778
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cardiologymidwest
        Honda is still responsible to point out the EPA lab numbers will not be achieved in the real world.
          Christopher Evans
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rr778
          The government mandates that too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monroney_sticker. Now as BigRocket points out, if it was a software update to reduce wear and tear on the batt. so Honda MIGHT save money then that is the real issue.
      Soyntgo4it
      • 2 Years Ago
      How is suppose to get 50mpg when even their website says 44mpg. Do people realize these are only estimated MPGs that the manufacturers puts out. Also depends on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.
        Bryant Keith
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Soyntgo4it
        44 is for the new one. hers is older. Also it came out that shes a terrible lead foot. No better way to kill your fuel economy.
        Rr778
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Soyntgo4it
        Correction they are EPA lab results, Honda sold them as estimates.
      xspeedy
      • 2 Years Ago
      This sort of thing pisses me off. Honda basically disabled this car's hybrid feature and felt that it was cool to do without informing the customer. A non hybrid version would get comparable mileage and wouldn't demand a premium. Honda deserves each and every one of those small claims suits. Class actions never benefit the victims.
      GoFaster58
      • 2 Years Ago
      She must have really had a very stupid judge. Just another frivoulous lawsuit.
      Mike
      • 2 Years Ago
      I've got an '06. The car was great until the 2010 software update. Since then, despite subsequent updates, it hasn't driven right since. Easily lost 5-7 mpg. I drive "normal," keep up with traffic, accelerate with traffic, etc. From my perspective, if Honda compelled us to take a software update that ultimately didnt work out as planned then they need to step up and take responsibility for it rather than blaming the owners. I can understand if the update led to some unintentional negative results (my IMA battery is now unbalanced and loses charge within 1 mile every time the car is driven). I can't understand not owning up to the resulting problems and willingly choosing to do nothing to correct them. It's unfortunate because the car has been ok with the exception of the IMA battery.
        SloopJohnB
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Mike
        Now it gets interesting...if Honda updated the software without EPA retesting...
      dohchp
      • 2 Years Ago
      I work at a Honda dealership and we had a customer come in today with his hybrid to have it serviced and said he has been getting 53 mpg. There are to many variables when you test just one car in one location. proper way to test should be 5 cars in 5 different locations and average them. No 2 cars are the same just like no 2 people are the same.
      sonbuster
      • 2 Years Ago
      Honda should be held responsible for this. Reflashing the computer to allow the battery to last outside the warranty period is nothing but FRAUD; let alone also intentionally reducing mpg when it's advertised at something else. These cases are really a warning to Honda as well as all other auto manufacturers that they can't get away with exploiting consumers for their hard earned money and get away with it. Honda should be technologically innovative if they want to compete with the Prius, not cheat to get there.
        aMaG1CaLMaNg1Na
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sonbuster
        Do you understand the fact that all manufacturer drive train re flashes have to be reevaluated by the EPA/CARB before they can be rolled out to the public? No manufacturer is at fault when the vehicle doesn't meet the EPA rated MPG in the real world. It is the inherent flaw in EPA rating procedures and peoples stupid expectations that those results equate to real world driving. Those numbers are to allow you to compare vehicles to one another in a unbiased test.
        discolenny
        • 2 Years Ago
        @sonbuster
        I totally agree 100%, Honda shold be ashamed of itself, lying to the poor consumer.
      blue
      • 2 Years Ago
      has anyone ever considered the amount of ethanol is the gas honda used in their tests vs what the consumer can buy.
      halkovichr
      • 2 Years Ago
      im sure the woman drove the car enough miles,to know what she is talking about,, i read about this few months ago i believe she is a lawyer,,, honda just put a nice round figure of 50 mi per gal ,,to sell cars,,about 2 yrs ago honda was caught with alot of model yr cars that regestered more miles that they actually went,,a rental company caught that,, i have no clue where people think honda is so great,,just another jap car on the american market ,sad
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
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