It looks like Ford has some 'splainin' to do to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after two of its new hybrids came up short of the company's fuel-economy claims in an independent Consumer Reports test, Bloomberg News reports.

Ford's Fusion and C-Max Hybrids came up about 20 percent short of the official EPA 47-mile-per-gallon figured the US automaker has advertised. Ford has introduced a half-dozen new hybrids to the US public this year. Ford has allowed that hybrid fuel economy can be swayed far more by driving styles than the fuel economy of conventionally powered vehicles. As you might now, Hyundai admitted to a problem earlier this year and is compensating customers.

So far this year, Ford has boosted its hybrid sales with the C-Max Hybrid, which has bettered the competing Toyota Prius V wagon in sales in each of last two months. In November, Ford sold 4,730 alt-fuel vehicles in the US, more than twice as many as it did in the same month in 2011.

UPDATE: Ford send us the following clarification: For the headline, we said we will work with the EPA on behalf of the industry to determine if any changes are needed for hybrid testing. We did not talk about any specific vehicles as the headline suggests. We also think it's important to note a third-party C-MAX Hybrid forum has a wide collection of customer fuel economy reports, including quite a few between 45-55 mpg.


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  • 78 Comments
      • 1 Year Ago
      Our 2013 Ford C-Max Horror Story with Kelowna Ford Lincoln We purchased this car about a month ago and we purchased it because Kelowna Ford had huge banners in the windshield of the car claiming that is got 71 MPG in the city and 69 MPG on the highway and the best we have ever gotten out of it was 40.5 MPG while driving the car very easily and gently, a far cry from 71 MPG. Even in Ford Canada's brochure on the front page they claim that the car gets 71 in the city and 69 on the highway which is a bold face lie. How much more of this crap and outright lies and deceptions are we supposed to put up with from the Kelowna Fords and the Ford Canada's of this world before we say ' enough is enough' and do something about it. Right now in the United States there is a class action law suit against some dealers and Ford over this car and Ford U.S. claims that this car gets 47 MPG both in and out of the city. Same car yet the dealers and Ford U.S. claim in the states it gets 47 MPG and the lawsuit says it is not getting near that yet the SAME car in Canada is being sold and promoted by the dealers and Ford Canada as getting 71MPG. If this was the only part of this sale that Kelowna Ford Lincoln had lied to us about we may have chalked it up to them not having any idea as to what they were selling, but the mileage of the car was only one of many, many lies that we were lied to about by this dealership and we will never ever spend another dime with them! Don & Sally Lorencz West Kelowna, BC Canada
      Reggie
      • 2 Years Ago
      At the end of the day the EPA has a set method at the way it tests all cars, it has to have some parameters of testing by which it can rate all cars. Personally at the end of the day l think it was wrong for Consumer Reports to question their authority. Yea Consumer Reports can bend the EPA MPG tests to show that the C-Max does not make the MPG numbers in the real world, yes they are right. But you would find that nearly every car on the roads MPG is incorrect as there really is so many variables when you do tests like this. At the end of the day if Consumer Reports had test driven the same way as it was tested by the EPA under the same conditions they would of found EPA 47 MPG rating to be correct. Yea l know these EPA MPG testing might not be perfect, no two owners will ever get same MPG in the ever in the real world there are just to many variables driving style, terrain, traffic congestion, climate weather, loads etc, but at the end of the EPA has to set its test parameters somehow, so l do feel a bit sorry Raj Nair at Ford. C-Max hybrid is a great little car, and should do well for Ford, and its MPG numbers were correct to EPA tests, but found to not be so good in the real world. At the end of the day l think the EPA do a very good job in the US, yea its never gonna be perfect but you have gotta have some parameters to test by at the end of the day, and if you compare the to what we have in the UK government tests to real world MPG are pretty poor in comparison to the EPA. Just have a look at how real world UK MPG falls down in these tests in the link below, some of the are way out. http://www.whatcar.com/truempg/
      Giza Plateau
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ford would rather lie than do the right thing and make efficient cars?
      Smith Jim
      • 2 Years Ago
      DaveMart, The Prius hatchback sold in Japan is functionally identical to the Prius Hatchback sold in the United States but in Japan the Prius is rated at 77 MPG. Are you telling me that average Prius driver in Japan is getting 77 MPG because the roads are different? Seriously???
      Unni
      • 2 Years Ago
      So ford is paying back owners money to compensate ?? , Ford is following Kia /Hyndai. I didn't expect this from an American Company. It was better to do bankruptcy than cheating customers.
      mustsvt
      • 2 Years Ago
      Shocker, Ford hater Danny writing the article suggesting guilt on Ford's part when none has been proven. Just because Ford is discussing the results with the Feds means nothing. If this plays out and Ford pulled a Hyundai then they deserve to be hammered, but there is no proof of anything yet.
        SVX pearlie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @mustsvt
        If Ford really was on the up-and-up, they'd simply release fleet telematics data showing proving that CR is an outlier, and that the bulk of buyers are indeed getting at or very near the claimed mileage. OTOH, if the telematics confirms CR, then, let the hammer fall where it may...
          SVX pearlie
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          Did Ford conform? Only if you believe that it never rains or snows anywhere in the USA. There are a lot of pieces in calculating EPA, but that number is generally pretty good. Ford has been doing EPA mileage for a long time, but this is the first time they've been incented to "beat" another car on the numbers. It's obvious that Ford management demanded that the car beat the Prius in every way, and the claimed numbers reflect that demand. Ford has (or should have) telematics which can transmit mileage for every vehicle. Or at least, GM does, via OnStar. Given mileage for every vehicle, it's not hard to calculate average mileage and compared with the claimed number. CR tests very similarly to EPA, typically within 5% pretty much across the board. When 99% of their cars are within 5%, that's a 99% confirmation within 5%. To be off by 20% suggests that Ford cheated like Hyundai.
          Austin Too
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          What in heaven's name are you talking about? Ford has reported label mileage based on the EPA tests; those test have nothing to do with CR's tests. If Ford cheated on the EPA tests (very, very unlikely), then there could be some action taken against the company. But if they are honest on their EPA tests, and CR's results are lower, it's only an issue of comparison between the EPA test and the CR's testing (which they view as proprietary and never fully reveal). There is no factor or combination of factors that will walk one from CR's test to the EPA test or vice versa; they are very different. CR is not confirming EPA tests..
          mustsvt
          • 2 Years Ago
          @SVX pearlie
          The question is did Ford conform to the rules of the EPA testing procedure to get its EPA 47/47 rating? If they did then they are in the clear and if the real world numbers do not bear that out then the drivers or the test procedures themselves need to be looked at.
      Stephen Liu
      • 2 Years Ago
      If Toyota's hybrids can match EPA estimates in real-world driving and fall short of EPA estimates by the same margin as conventional cats in Consumer Reports testing, then the problem isn't EPA or CR testing, but Ford's hybrids.
      PeterScott
      • 2 Years Ago
      Poor highway mileage has nothing to do with econ buttons or other nonsense excuses Ford is making. A regular Honda Civic (rated 8 MPG less) gets better MPG going 65 MPH than the Ford C-Max Hybrid. It is from poor aerodynamics, not from the lack of the Econ button. Hopefully EPA does more than talk and actually tests a C-Max themselves.
        Johnny
        • 21 Hours Ago
        @PeterScott
        A Honda Civic is a completely different weight and class vehicle than the C-Max or the Fusion, genius. There is no way to fairly compare the three.
      Ziv
      • 2 Years Ago
      Odd that the CMax and Fusion hybrids are so short of EPA this year. Last years Fusion/MKZ hybrid gets better mpg than EPA combined both on the EPA website and on Fuelly.com. It is the only hybrid that I hear near daily reports on its efficiency and my colleagues MKZ hybrid gets just over 40 mpg all year except for the three coldest months when it is just over 38 mpg. I hear about a 2011 Escape Hybrid that also gets more than EPA mpg, but I don't talk to that driver as often. Ford used to underpromise and overdeliver, but this years hybrids are blowing all that good will out the window. It sounds like both of them are very good cars, but Ford overstated what their mpg is going to be for the vast majority of drivers and they are going to pay a price for it, even if the cars actually do deliver the mpg stated using the EPA dyno test criteria.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ziv
        No they didn't. Ever since the first Fusion, Ford has been behind their figures more than the competition. The first Fusion hybrid was rated at 39mpg, compared to the Camry's 33. Both got about 34 in real-world figures.
      • 1 Year Ago
      We just purchased our new C Max. Traded in a 05 Focus wagon that got about 29 mpg. We live in upstate NY which is both hilly and cold. I expect the C Max to get about 38 in the winter and about 43 in the summer. My wife drives like tippy turtle so she should have no issues keeping those numbers. As for when I drive it as opposed to my 2012 Focus SE Sport, I will be happy it has 188 HP so it can get out of it's own way unlike a Insight or Prius V, both of which we test drove. The Prius V cost about 4 grand more then the C Max and I would need 3 Insights to carry what the C Max can. Overall it just seemed to be the best mix of capabilty, carrying capacity and economy. Plus, it is built in Wayne Michigan, where everyone of my Escorts and Foocuses have been built, and they have all gotten well over 130,000 miles of use with no real costs other then maintenance. We pick up our C Max Monday.
      carney373
      • 2 Years Ago
      " Ford sold 4,730 alt-fuel vehicles in the US, more than twice as many as it did in the same month in 2011" If you can't plug it in, and it can only run (or is only supposed to run) on oil-derived fuel (gasoline or petroleum diesel), IT'S NOT AN ALT-FUEL VEHICLE. The presence or absence of a supplementary battery-electric drive system that is charged up solely by burning oil-derived fuel is IRRELEVANT.
        Brody
        • 21 Hours Ago
        @carney373
        The comment is a little extreme, but it correct. Gas electric hybrids are not green they are a lighter shade of brown- not that these steps should not be taken. Only until there is no tail-pipe in the well to wheel energy cycle is it really green, which is hard to do. Battery electrics, plug in hybrids and renewable sources of energy are the right step. Gas electric hybrids are a half measure to the pollution and energy security problem that we have had since Nixon.
          Smith Jim
          • 21 Hours Ago
          @Brody
          I agree with everything you have both said except for one thing, " Only until there is no tail-pipe in the well to wheel energy cycle is it really green, which is hard to do." It's really not that hard at all. I purchase wind energy for an additional 1.5 cents per kiloWatt-hour. I'm not an EV owner yet but I plan to purchase or lease one sometime next year. I'm waiting until my gas hog (23 MPG combined) is paid off.
      Smith Jim
      • 2 Years Ago
      Ford’s Raj Nair, group vice president global product development said, "There have been some questions raised about fuel economy, so it is important to note that we have designed our hybrids to drive exactly the same as all our other vehicles, with the global Ford DNA. A key part of that DNA is “fun-to-drive”. We could have detuned the vehicles to maximize fuel economy like some of our competitors have done, but it would have been at the expense of a fun driving experience. And this would have meant that you would not be to take advantage of the 54 more horsepower that the C-MAX provides over the Prius." If there is any truth to this Ford could have added an "Econ" button such as the one in my Honda Insight. The Econ mode does not help the Insight at all on the EPA test but it does make a difference in the real world.
        Reggie
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Smith Jim
        Good point Jim, most people want or buy an hybrid cars for there fuel efficiency, nearly fell of my chair laughing at Ford's Raj Nair statement C-Max is fun to drive LOL, the only car for have in their entire line-up thats fun-to-drive is the RWD Ford Mustang. It's a bit like Ford stating the 5.0 v8 Stang does 0-60 in 3 seconds, and detuning it to 0-60 in 12 seconds in the real world, then stating we done it because we thought Stang drivers would like the better fuel efficiency. People buy hybrids for their fuel efficiency for God damm sake. Econ button would be a superb idea Jim, but at the end of the day it should not have been needed. Ford should have had it tuned running out of the box in ECON mode as the standard default mode, folk want buy hybrids for there fuel economy, and nothing else really matters to them. Hope Ford get it sorted for Ford's sake. Ford do employ some real clowns at the top like Raj Nair, but thank God Ford have Alan Mulally without his expertise Ford would have been in a real mess by now.
          Eric
          • 21 Hours Ago
          @Reggie
          There are people who want it all, fuel efficiency and a good driving experience- I'm buying a cmax over the volt and prius because the ride is much nicer, the prius' ride is absolutely punishing, worse than a wooden wagon, and would leave me with a backache in a day. It has pickup when you need it, high mpg for all other times. Comparing it to the mustang is like yelling at a motorcycle for not being a truck.
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