Consumer Reports: Ford Fusion, C-Max hybrids fall short of mileage claims

Article by Christian A., on December 7, 2012

Consumer Reports magazine said that after conducting real-world tests on Ford Motor Co.'s C-Max and Fusion hybrids, it found that its actual fuel economy rating is 20% lower than what the company claims. The magazine said that the Fusion hybrid returned 39 miles per gallon both on the highway and in city driving.

Meanwhile, the C-Max was able to reach a combined 37 miles per gallon. Ford said that both vehicles would deliver 47 miles per gallon. Consumer Reports said that these two vehicles have the biggest discrepancy between its overall mpg results and the EPA estimates compared to other existing models. Among the current models that the magazine tested, over 80% were within 2 mpg of what they claimed.

The magazine said that the most significant discrepancy it had formerly seen was 7 mpg for the Toyota Prius C subcompact and 6 mpg for the Prius hatchback. The magazine said that while its highway test results most frequently meet or surpass the EPA highway numbers, its highway figures for these cars were much lower.

In the magazine’s blog, Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports' director of auto testing, said that the majority of buyers won’t offer anything near 47 mpg in the real world.

Even if these two Ford hybrids are highly efficient, this huge discrepancy may disappoint customers. Ford has yet to release a comment on this issue. However, Ford said that it aims to see a broader range for fuel economy on its new generation of hybrids since they’re more powerful.

Ford said that drivers can use up more fuel when they benefit from the hybrids' higher performance. In a statement, Ford told Consumer Reports that early C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid customers have been satisfied with the vehicles with better levels of fuel economy figures, which include some reports of higher than 47 mpg.

Chris Hamilton, Ford’s chief exterior designer for its next-generation Fusion model, said that the previous Ford Fusion was an easy purchase decision for customers. According to him, their design goal for the new Fusion was to offer a top-drawer visual experience to mainstream sedan buyers and add a bit of emotional appeal to what is already a sensible choice.

The new Fusion’s interior promises a sporty and driver-oriented environment, complete with next-generation seating that offers expanded functionality. Meanwhile, a higher center console goes hand in hand with the car’s driver-centric theme and it also offers a clever storage space for items that the driver wants to keep within reach.

Moreover, additional passenger space was achieved by moving the car’s instrument panel toward its windshield, thus contributing to the airy, open environment of the cabin. Also, thinner and lighter frames support the next-generation seats that are trimmed with fabric made from recycled sustainable yarns.

Needless to say, the new Fusion design delivers on Ford’s promise of superior visual quality, with elevated levels of craftsmanship, improved materials, and attention to detail.

Additionally, the new Fusion’s interior surfaces are softer to the touch, its interior and exterior gaps are now minimized, and extra care was taken in upholstering and covering every edge and every surface you can touch. What’s more, when you open the trunk lid, a spring-loaded cover hides the trunk latch hardware automatically.

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