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Ford Stands Firm On Fusion, C-Max Fuel Economy Claims: UPDATED

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UPDATED: See below*

U.S. headlines were still focused on Hyundai and Kia's fuel-economy flubs when folks on the internet turned their attention to the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid and C-Max Hybrid. Both vehicles have been criticized in the press for not meeting their advertised fuel efficiency, and now Ford has responded to those attacks in a way that may not please Fusion and C-Max owners.

Ford claims that both the Fusion Hybrid and the C-Max Hybrid earn a combined fuel economy of 47 mpg. However, the best efforts of our colleagues at Green Car Reports yielded only 40 mpg on the C-Max. Owners of the Fusion saw slightly lower results, in the 35 - 37 mpg range. After considerable testing, Consumer Reports rated both below 40 mpg.

But despite those high-profile problems, Ford's President of the Americas, Joe Hinrichs, says that the automaker is unlikely to change fuel economy ratings for either vehicle. According to Detroit News, Hinrichs reiterates that Ford followed the guidelines for the Environmental Protection Agency's fuel-economy tests to arrive at the C-Max's 47 mpg figure. (We presume the company did the same for the Fusion Hybrid.)

Hinrichs admits that Ford is in talks with the EPA to determine if re-testing of the Fusion Hybrid and C-Max Hybrid will be necessary. If those re-tests go ahead, there's a chance that Ford could be forced to adjust fuel economy figures -- and perhaps, like Hyundai and Kia, reimburse consumers for the difference.*

However, Hinrichs stands behind Ford's claims, saying that fuel efficiency for hybrids like the Fusion and the C-Max are dependent on a range of factors, including driving style.

OUR TAKE

Hinrichs' statements clearly suggest that if motorists drive the C-Max Hybrid and the Fusion Hybrid conservatively, they'll earn the advertised fuel economy. But if the staff at Green Car Reports, our colleagues at Consumer Reports , and even C-Max and Fusion owners can't approach the 47 mpg mark, who can?

Is Ford off-base, or is the company simply trying to save face? Is it possible that the auto critics who've reviewed the vehicles did something wrong? Or is it time to revisit our standards of fuel-economy measurement altogether?

We don't have any answers yet -- only more questions. Our friends at Green Car Reports have a few more.

* UPDATE: We've received an email from Ford clarifying two elements of this story.

1. Although "Ford is in talks with the EPA", the automaker isn't discussing the validity of fuel economy claims for the C-Max Hybrid or Fusion Hybrid. Rather, Ford is talking to the EPA about updating fuel economy tests for all hybrids to make them more accurate: "[W]e agree with EPA that hybrids are far more variable in testing than conventional vehicles compared to real world driving so we’re addressing the industry issue."

2. On a third-party forum for the C-Max, some consumers are not only achieving, but beating the hybrid's 47 mpg rating. 

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Comments (14)
  1. Ford people always felt they were smarter than they actualy are!Everybody else are wrong but not them?Same attitude since 50 years ago!arrogant group of people.Even if they built them we don't have to buy them.
     
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  2. Well, Mr. Hinrichs--I own one of your Cmax and I can vouch for the lack of mpg! I get an avg of only 38mpg rather than the 47 touted by your company! And I drive VERY conservatively--so much so that it's more of a chore than a pleasure to drive your car. Shame on you, Mr. Hinrichs...shame on you and your company for falsely advertizing the average mpg of your car!
     
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  3. Ford seems to just follow EPA test procedure. Why don't you blame EPA, not Ford?
     
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  4. In all fairness, both the EPA and Ford may be innocent on this one. The problems are specific to hybrid models, which are known to experience more variation on fuel economy tests than conventional gas vehicles. (Critics have noted that the Prius doesn't always measure up to its advertised fuel economy, either.) Some of us wouldn't be surprised to see the EPA change its test model for hybrids and other advanced-tech vehicles soon.
     
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  5. Richard: I too believe the results should be remeasured, as I don't believe someone investing in a hybrid drives the same way someone driving a gas vehicle does. The better instrumentation, along with someone's decision to amend their driving behavior, makes a lot of difference.
     
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  6. Well- one thing is for sure. The mileage claims by the manufacturer are totally dependent on behavior and route- and routine. I ALWAYS exceed the mileage claim due to the fact that I have a very controlled commute with little to no variation. This has allowed me to beat the mileage claims on a variety of cars i have driven.
     
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  7. When I bought my 2005 Chevy SSR the window sticker said 13 mpg city and 20 mpg highway-I now have 86,000 miles on the SSR and I always get ....13 mpg city-20 mpg highway. Same thing happened with my 2009 Honda Ridgeline and 2011 Toyota Tacoma-the mileage on the window sticker matched actual driving figures. I realize the numbers may vary in real world conditions sometimes, but the Ford numbers claims seem to be getting alot of attention for some reason. They should get to the answer.
     
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  8. I just purchased a Ford C Max SE and, to date, with 1300 miles on the car, I am getting 34 mpg. I live in snow/cold country which may be a factor for the down mileage. But the mileage is disappointing. I called Ford Customer Relations, and they said the car has a 2-3000 mile "breaking in" period. I will drive to Fl and back in Feb., so that will be a further test/evaluation.
     
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  9. Where do I join a class action lawsuit for being deceived on my C-Max with the claimed 47 MPGs? About 4,000 miles later, using the cruise for acceloration (as I'm sure the computer is programmed for best mpg accelorating), and averaging 37.8MPG while never going over the speed limit...I'm very dissapointed. And yes I do know how to squeeze MPG's out of
    gallons as my 2003 Jetta Diesel is averaging 48.8mpg anually here in Minnesota. I would like to have a C-Max follow a Prius on a 500 mile minimum trip and have the two cars then compare their MPGs. This way you remove the human element and have the cars driven under identical conditions. My bet is that the Prius will be 22.6% better in MPGs. Anyone up for the test?
     
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  10. There are two settings for cruise control. The Eco setting gets better mileage. I am getting better than 47, combined.
     
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  11. We ordered a C-Max SE a couple of weeks back and take delivery June 1. From reading owner comments it appears that the hybrid's MPG varies widely based on two factors: 1)outside temperatures and 2) how fast you drive on the freeway. If we can average a real-world 38-40 MPG from this quick 3,600 lb SUV I will be fine with that.
     
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  12. You will do far better than 38mpg. Select the Threshold setting on the user information on the left panel and you'll be able to maximize your results while staying with most traffic.
     
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  13. Our 2013 Ford C-Max Horror Story with Kelowna Ford Lincoln

    We purchased this car 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.
     
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  14. I'm getting over 47 on mine, combined. At altitude.
     
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