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Ford will also give cash payments of $550 to buyers of the C-Max

The writing has been on the wall for months, but it looks as though Ford is finally listening to its countless critics. After a few lawsuits, blowback from publications like Consumer Reports, and even findings from actual drivers, Ford has lowered the fuel economy ratings for its C-Max hybrid.
 
The C-Max was previously rated at 47/47/47 (city/highway/combined), but the company announced today that it would lower those numbers to 45/40/43 (city/highway/combined). The biggest hit came on the highway, where the C-Max saw its rating drop by seven miles per gallon. The new combined rating puts the C-Max just one mile per gallon higher than its chief rival: the Toyota Prius v.
 
In addition, customer that bought a C-Max will receive a $550 cash rebate from Ford; lessees will receive $325.


2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
 
“Ford is absolutely committed to being a leader in the hybrid market and to top fuel efficiency across our lineup,” said Raj Nair, group vice president, global product development. “We are taking actions with our popular C-MAX Hybrid so that customers are even more satisfied with the vehicle’s on-road fuel efficiency performance.”

In its testing, Consumer Reports indicated that the C-Max was only good for 35/38/37 (city/highway/combined). In response to Consumer Reports' story, Ford spokesman Wes Sherwood said in April, "Early C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid customers praise the vehicles and report a range of fuel economy figures, including some reports above 47 mpg. This reinforces the fact that driving styles, driving conditions and other factors can cause mileage to vary."
 
For their part, C-Max drivers over at Fuelly reported an average of 40.2 mpg combined -- still nearly three miles per gallon below Ford's new combined rating.


C-Max drivers on Fuelly.com showed just how optimistic the original ratings were
 
"This is an industrywide issue with hybrid vehicles," explained Nair. "We've learned along with EPA that the regulations create some anomalies for hybrid vehicles under the general label rule."
 
Ford isn't the only automaker that recently had to revise its inflated fuel economy ratings; Hyundai/Kia was taken to task when it overstated the fuel economy on a number of 2012 and 2013 models. It too instituted a cash repayment program for affected drivers.


Updated 8/15/2013 @ 8:39pm
The EPA has explained [PDF] the reason why the C-Max was previously rated for 47 mpg across the board, and why the new numbers are lower. It appears that Ford used a provision in the EPA testing to allow it to use the fuel economy numbers from the Fusion Hybrid on the C-Max because they used the same powertrain and weighed the same. However, the Fusion is a more aerodynamic vehicle, hence the huge discrepancy in the real world on the C-Max:
 
Ford based the 2013 Ford C-Max label on testing of the related Ford Fusion hybrid, which has the same engine, transmission and test weight as allowed under EPA regulations. For the vast majority of vehicles this approach would have yielded an appropriate label value for the car, but these new vehicles are more sensitive to small design differences than conventional vehicles because advanced highly efficient vehicles use so little fuel. 
 
In this case, EPA’s evaluation found that the C-Max’s aerodynamic characteristics resulted in a significant difference in fuel economy from the Fusion hybrid.

Sources: Automotive News, Ford



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RE: The problem
By Jedi2155 on 8/15/2013 11:05:09 PM , Rating: 2
My old 2003 Honda Civic LX was rated at 25/34/29 (City/Hwy/Comb) and I was often getting 36-40 MPG on it driving in California freeways.

My Volt is rated at 35 miles All Electric and I'm commonly getting about 39-45 miles per charge. I think most people just don't think about how they drive.

The EPA numbers on the C-Max though were just atrocious though.


RE: The problem
By conq on 8/16/2013 9:50:10 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
My old 2003 Honda Civic LX was rated at 25/34/29 (City/Hwy/Comb) and I was often getting 36-40 MPG on it driving in California freeways.

Funny you mention that, I'm sensing a common theme now because you aren't the first to point it out. Perhaps that vehicle model is a bit of an anomaly. I drive the Civic '01 DX variant of that model and I also blow the 25/34/29 (City/Hwy/Comb) out of the water every time, even in harsh winters here in Buffalo, NY.

I typically get:
Winter 32-35mpg (Comb)
Spring-Fall 38-42mpg (Comb)

I just wish that rust would go away, darn salty winters :(


RE: The problem
By Roffles on 8/18/2013 5:36:37 PM , Rating: 2
Same here with my old 2005 LX. I would typically get 38-40mpg on the freeway without too much effort. I just had to make sure to keep it to 70mph, coast to slow down, and not too much throttle. It always made me question why I would spend all the extra money on a hybrid.

One rather obvious key to good mpg is keeping an appreciable distance from the car in front of you so you can coast to slow down and gradually speed back up during the ebb and flow of traffic. Also you should coast to slow down when approaching a red traffic light.

It seems like most folks are really hard up about not letting anyone in front of them... always having their foot on either the gas or the brake... and wasting lots of fuel while stressing themselves out. Those are the people who complain about not getting the advertised mileage. Go figure.


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