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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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Is it just me...
By Erudite on 2/5/2013 10:02:42 AM , Rating: 2
Or is this mostly common sense? The main reason, as far as I know, for using turbo chargers on smaller engines, was so you could have the higher performance if you needed it, along with the better gas mileage, when you didn't need the better performance. I have yet to talk to anybody with an EcoBoost (including the one in the Fusion) that hasn't liked them. Sure, they might not get the gas mileage that a non-turbo engine gets, but they are a lot more fun to drive - at the cost of fuel economy.

You can drive your little non-turbo 4 banger like it is a dragster and get mediocre gas mileage, too. But it won't compare to the drive a turbo charged engine will give you.

I think the bottom line is that these types of engines are marketed to the person that wants more power but doesn't want a vehicle that gets 10 miles to the gallon. Or doesn't want to put diesel in the tank at $4.00+ per gallon, though that might net you better fuel economy in the long run.

I had a 97 Ford Explorer with a 5.0 V8 that I could get almost 20 MPG with, and a 2007 F150 that wouldn't get more than 15 MPG no matter how I drove it. Now I have an 09 Escape with a 3.0L V6 that I can get almost 30 MPG on the highway if I'm careful how I drive. Or I can drive it like crazy and get 20 MPG. But it is pretty light weight if you compare it to some of the vehicles that they put smaller engines with turbos in. (Read: Ford F150, 6' Bed SuperCrew @ 5,731 lbs curb weight)

Just my 2 cents.

Curb weight source:

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