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Not all small turbo engines are more fuel-efficient says Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports isn't letting up on its testing of fuel efficiency claims for various vehicles. According to the publication, small turbocharged engines aren't delivering on the fuel efficiency claims by the manufacturers.

Small displacement turbocharged engines have become common in a variety of vehicles in place of larger displacement, naturally aspirated engines. The claim by the automotive manufacturers is that the small displacement turbocharged engines offer the same power as larger displacement engines and improved fuel efficiency.

Consumer Reports, however, states that in its real world testing many vehicles with turbocharged engines aren't as efficient as the manufacturers claim. The publication recently tested the 1.6-liter EcoBoost in a Ford Fusion and found that the turbocharged version has a slower 0-to-60 mph time than its competitors and achieved only 25 mpg in testing, making it among the worst for fuel efficiency in the recent crop of family sedans.

The publication also claims that the larger 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which promises the power of the V-6 with the fuel economy of four-cylinder engine, fails to deliver on either front.

2013 Ford Fusion

Chevrolet is also under fire for the 1.4-liter turbo four-cylinder in the Cruze. Consumer Reports claims that real world performance wasn’t much better than the standard, naturally aspirated 1.8-liter engine and overall fuel economy was similar as well.
Ford and General Motors representatives offered similar statements explaining the discrepancy. "When you have an EcoBoost engine, you have the opportunity to have performance and fuel economy, but not at the same time,” said Ford Powertrain Communications Manager Richard Truett. “EcoBoost adds a dimension that you won't get by just making the engine smaller. We're telling the driver, it's up to you on how you want to drive."

"The Cruze turbocharged engine provides a much broader torque curve than a non-turbocharged engine, and that means better acceleration across the rpm range, making for a more fun-to-drive car,” said GM spokesman Tom Read. “However, if you have a heavy foot on a turbocharged engine, you're not necessarily going to see a lot of fuel economy benefits."

The EPA is going to investigate Ford after Consumer Reports and other owners have complained that fuel efficiency doesn't meet the automakers claims in the Fusion Hybrid and C-MAX.

Source: Consumer Reports

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Common Knowledge
By Flunk on 2/5/2013 9:51:46 AM , Rating: 4
I thought it was common knowledge that turbocharged engine efficiency was highly dependant on how you drive them. With these little ones you basically need to drive like a 85 year old grammy to get the rated fuel efficiency.

I suppose it's good to have exposure for the people who don't really follow cars.

RE: Common Knowledge
By Farva on 2/5/2013 9:55:26 AM , Rating: 4
Meh, I have a 2012 Chevy Sonic with the 1.4L Turbo engine and I drive more like a "bat out of hell" than a "granny" and get an average 36 MPG of mostly city (or stop-and-go highway) driving. The Cruze weighs more than my Sonic though so obviously it's performance on both fronts is going to be worse, but a blanket statement by Consumer Reports that these low displacement engines not performing as they are marketed is a bit false.

RE: Common Knowledge
By Farva on 2/5/2013 9:58:19 AM , Rating: 4
Oh, and the Sonic with it's "torquey" engine and a manual transmission is actually a lot of fun to drive too. ;)

RE: Common Knowledge
By tng on 2/5/2013 11:33:22 AM , Rating: 4
I thought it was common knowledge that turbocharged engine efficiency was highly dependant on how you drive them.
This is true with almost any car, turbos only accent this.

The problem is, that in general, most of the car buying public are not gearheads and what the dealer tells them to sell the car is probably not what they need to hear...

RE: Common Knowledge
By NellyFromMA on 2/5/2013 11:34:05 AM , Rating: 3
How could ANY specific detail regarding turbo-charged applications be referred to as 'common knowledge'?

Common knowledge might be you need to change your oil. The interval MAYBE. How to do it, not so much.

That is the bar for common knowledge in the automtive industry. In other words, safely assume it is NOT common knowledge. The average consumer is nearly always under-informed...

RE: Common Knowledge
By RufusM on 2/5/2013 11:42:21 AM , Rating: 2
As my late uncle would say:

"Any idiot knows that..<insert anything you didn't know about>."

Example: Any idiot knows that vehicle MPG varies depending on how you drive them. Even more with turbo!

RE: Common Knowledge
By Reclaimer77 on 2/5/2013 11:38:07 AM , Rating: 3
No this is NOT "common knowledge" because the average person in this country is a retard. They think car makers can magically deliver insane MPG without having to compromise on anything. Because Obama, or the EPA, or the news lady said so.

Just more evidence of how are committing national suicide by regulating our manufacturing base into extinction. The Government doesn't seem to understand that fuel economy is not the primary factor to the average car buyer. They still have to make cars that people WANT TO BUY so they can make a profit.

RE: Common Knowledge
By Labotomizer on 2/5/2013 1:50:13 PM , Rating: 2
because the average person in this country is a retard.

Amazingly accurate statement there. The reason there is such a huge need to stretch MPG in the first place is because of the ridiculous CAFE regulations. I understand wanting companies to offer more fuel efficient models, although that should be chosen by consumer demand and not government regulations, but to say "Your average across your fleet must be XX" is insane. Some people NEED high powered vehicles. Some people just WANT them and are okay with paying for it at the pump. My friend who just bought the 2013 GT 500 knows full well he's going to pay for more gas. But he can easily afford it, so he should have that option. The way things are going we won't much longer. It's sad.

Of course, who cares if we ruin the auto industry. The government is here to fund them and make sure everything is okay.

RE: Common Knowledge
By Jeffk464 on 2/6/2013 10:31:46 AM , Rating: 2
MPG has had an impact on car buying. People are choosing 4cyl sedans over the v6 engines in much larger number and crossovers are pretty much replacing mid sized truck based SUV's.

RE: Common Knowledge
By Reclaimer77 on 2/6/2013 11:04:04 AM , Rating: 1
I never said it wasn't a factor. I just said it wasn't a "primary" concern. If it was, hybrids would be accounting for WAY more than the ~6% of sales they do now.

One could just as easily say the trends you've brought up have more to do with the economy sucking balls for the past 5 years, and massive consumer uncertainty, than fuel economy as well.

RE: Common Knowledge
By Jeffk464 on 2/6/2013 9:21:41 PM , Rating: 2
Gas prices, gas prices, gas prices. :)
I bought my v6 tacoma prerunner back when gas was around $2.50, given current trends I would never buy a vehicle with that kind of mileage now. And my Tacoma could be worse 18-19 in the city and 25ish on the interstate with cruise on.

RE: Common Knowledge
By dgingerich on 2/5/2013 11:46:25 AM , Rating: 2
This is specifically why I got my V6 (2005 Monte Carlo) instead of a turbo I4 when I got my last car. I find a V6 is much more predictable, offers better off the line power, and overall better gas mileage for the way I drive. I get 25-26mpg out of my car, even after 7 and a half years. If I really put my foot down, I get as low as 20. However, a turbo I4 would be worse on both cases, and offer lower off the line power, which is where everything counts. It's that 0-40 time that makes all the difference in day to day driving.

RE: Common Knowledge
By degobah77 on 2/6/2013 10:15:13 AM , Rating: 1
My turbo'd 4-cyl (~270hp) gets the exact same gas mileage if not better if I really lay off the boost, and will more than likely wreck you off the line.

The trick is to not buy a crappy car and then wonder why it sucks.

RE: Common Knowledge
By Jeffk464 on 2/6/2013 10:32:21 AM , Rating: 2
bmw 3?

RE: Common Knowledge
By degobah77 on 2/6/2013 11:23:33 AM , Rating: 2
I don't drive status symbols.

Subaru got my money.

RE: Common Knowledge
By Jeffk464 on 2/6/2013 9:25:40 PM , Rating: 2
Subaru's are good cars. I thought about getting the new outback wagon for a while, in forest green of course. Toyota put some major updates on subaru's boxer engine for the new sports car, it would be nice if that went across the entire product line.

RE: Common Knowledge
By Jeffk464 on 2/6/2013 10:28:33 AM , Rating: 2
How you drive greatly effects your mileage in any car. I'm always amazed at the guys driving the raised full sized trucks that always have to floor it to get to the next stop light or pack of traffic. They must be getting under 10mpg.

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