Reduced MPG in Six Ford Models Matches Cars.com's Results

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If Cars.com editors' observed mileage is any indication, more drivers should see real-world fuel economy figures that match the new EPA numbers on six Ford models.

Ford Lowers Fuel Economy Ratings on Six Cars, Will Reimburse Owners

Ford announced June 12 that it would reduce EPA mileage on six vehicles – the 2013-2014 C-Max Hybrid and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrid, the 2013-2014 Fusion Hybrid and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid, the 2013-2014 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid and the 2014 Fiesta – because of an error in EPA mileage tests. The revisions, which downgrade EPA combined mileage as much as 7 mpg on the hybrids, will appear on new-car window stickers this week.

We've tracked mileage in four of those six cars, and our results fall a lot closer to the revised numbers than what they used to be. We haven't spent enough time behind the wheel of the Fusion Energi or MKZ Hybrid to report on mileage yet, but here are the rest:

By Kelsey Mays | June 16, 2014 | Comments (7)

Ford Lowers Fuel Economy Ratings on Six Cars, Will Reimburse Owners

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Ford announced today that it is revising fuel economy ratings for six models and compensating owners of about 200,000 vehicles after internal testing revealed errors in its evaluation process. Vehicles affected include the 2013-14 C-Max Hybrid, Fusion Hybrid, C-Max Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids, and the gas-only 2014 Fiesta; the 2013-14 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is also affected. Ford said it notified the EPA after learning of the discrepancy, and it worked with the agency to retest the vehicles and determine the correct ratings. The automaker said it has reviewed its entire lineup to determine which models required further testing, and that no further adjustments are planned.

Amid Complaints, Ford to Drop C-Max Hybrid to 43 MPG

The testing error was specific to a component of engine-power testing called Total Road Load Horsepower, a measure of resistance. Ford said it has validated the revised TRLHP for affected vehicles through physical testing and put checks and balances in place for future testing. The automaker also said it has notified its dealers and new fuel economy labels will be available in about six days; vehicles will continue to be sold in the interim. Customers can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more info.

Ford said it will pay owners of the affected vehicles the difference in estimated fuel costs between the old and revised ratings; lease customers will be reimbursed at a lesser rate than owners. The specific differences in fuel economy and the amount to be paid in reimbursement to owners, are as follows:

By Matt Schmitz | June 12, 2014 | Comments (4)

Best Hybrids for the Money 2014

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Gas prices remain historically high and volatile, and one of the most successful ways automakers and American motorists have adapted is by embracing hybrid technology. Though a few full-size hybrid trucks from GM have been discontinued, 2014 sees as many models as ever. No matter why you may want a hybrid, you might want to know how well it meets its mission.

More Alternative Fuels News

To determine if a hybrid's added expense is worth the cash, we devised an efficiency-cost rating. It's simply the EPA's combined mpg rating divided by the base price (meaning MSRP plus destination charge). We then multiply that result by 1,000. This formula can be applied to any type of vehicle, hybrid or not. A high mpg rating and low price provide a high efficiency-cost rating. A higher score is the better score.

We don't account for equipment levels, quality judgments, cost of ownership or any variances from EPA mileage estimates. The goal here is to pay the least for the most mileage, barring all other considerations.

By Joe Wiesenfelder | April 14, 2014 | Comments (11)

Recall Alert: 2013-2014 Ford Fusion, Escape, C-Max, Lincoln MKZ

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Vehicles Affected: About 42,972 model-year 2013-2014 Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ sedans, and Ford Escape SUVs and C-Max Energi and Hybrid vehicles

The Problem:The vehicles' seatback frames do not comply with National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards, according to the Detroit News. Certain driver and front passenger seatback assemblies may have been produced with substandard welds joining the seatback recliner mechanism to the seatback frame. This could increase the risk of injury in a collision, the newspaper reported. No crashes or injuries have been reported as a result of the faulty frames.

The Fix: Dealers will replace the seatback frames for free. Ford has not yet listed an owner notification schedule.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more info.

More Recalls

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By Matt Schmitz | April 7, 2014 | Comments (0)

How Can I Improve Fuel Economy in the 2013 Ford C-Max?

"I have had a 2013 Ford C-Max for four months and am getting about 37 mpg. How does one manage to get over 40 mpg? Use little brake? Keep heat low? Buy premium gasoline? I would appreciate any advice and convincing that I did not make huge mistake to not buy a Toyota Prius as originally planned."

Alina

By Rick Popely | November 3, 2013 | Comments (21)

Recall Alert: 2012-2013 Ford Focus EV, 2013 C-Max

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 22,000 model-year 2012-2013 versions of the Ford Focus electric car and model-year 2013 versions of the Ford C-Max hybrid and C-Max Energi electric crossover.

The Problem: The Detroit News is reporting that Ford is recalling the above vehicles equipped with push-button start because they don't emit an alert when the driver's door is open. Not only is this functionality a federal safety requirement, it also prevents drivers from accidentally leaving their key fobs in the car.

The Fix: Ford dealers will modify the vehicles' software to ensure an audible door chime sounds if the driver's door is open.

What Owners Should Do: Ford has not provided an owner notification schedule. Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 for more information.

More Recalls

By Jennifer Geiger | October 15, 2013 | Comments (1)

EPA to Update Procedures to Keep Up With Industry

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In the wake of Ford lowering the EPA combined city/highway mileage by 4 mpg for the 2013 C-Max Hybrid, the EPA plans to hire some 40% more employees to audit gas mileage and revamp its rules on what needs to be tested.

Amid Complaints, Ford to Drop C-Max Hybrid to 43 MPG

Chris Grundler, who directs the EPA's Office of Transportation and Air Quality, told USA Today the agency will "update general-labeling regulations" — the crux of the issue for the C-Max rerating.

The EPA elaborated Thursday in a press release: "Developed in 1977, EPA label regulations allow, but do not require, vehicles with the same engine, transmission and weight class to use the same fuel economy label value data, since, historically, such vehicle families achieve nearly identical fuel economy performance." As we reported in a 2012 investigation, carmakers can voluntarily rerate cars — which, for example, Toyota does with its Prius variants, according to USA Today. But they don't have to.

By Kelsey Mays | August 16, 2013 | Comments (0)

Ford to Reimburse C-Max Owners For MPG Discrepancy

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At a press conference this afternoon, Ford announced it would reimburse current owners of model-year 2013 C-Max vehicles $550 for a 4-mpg difference in its EPA combined city/highway mileage. Lessees will receive $325. Further updates for the 2014 C-Max could raise mileage beyond 43 mpg, which applies to the 2013 C-Max only.

Ford says it voluntarily rerated the 2013 model because the current car matches the Fusion Hybrid's mileage under the EPA's "general label rules." Raj Nair, Ford's group vice president of global product development, told reporters those rules date "back to the 1970s, and they were created by the EPA as a general means to provide fuel economy labels without having to test every single vehicle in the industry." Most cars are rated using this rule, Nair said.

As we reported in November 2012, that policy allows the EPA and automakers to rate cars with common weight and drivetrain characteristics under the same mileage label — but it can be problematic, as in this case where "combining sedans like the Fusion Hybrid with crossover utility vehicles like the C-Max hybrid under a single, general label could result in anomalies," Nair said.

By Kelsey Mays | August 15, 2013 | Comments (3)

Amid Complaints, Ford to Drop C-Max Hybrid to 43 MPG

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Ford will lower EPA mileage on the C-Max hybrid to 43 mpg in combined city/highway ratings — a drop of 4 mpg compared with today's 47-mpg rating. The automaker will announce full details at a press conference later this afternoon, and we'll update you as more information becomes available. Citing two unnamed sources, the Detroit News reported the matter minutes ago. EPA rules allowed Ford to issue the same rating for the C-Max as it did the Fusion Hybrid because the two cars had family similarities, the newspaper reports, but the decades-old procedure doesn't suit hybrids as well.

Loopholes and Fuzzy Math: The Tangled Science of MPG Ratings

The move comes amid a string of criticism. Consumer Reports said in December 2012 that its fuel-economy tests rendered mileage in the high 30s for both the Fusion Hybrid and C-Max. The same month, a California law firm filed a class-action lawsuit that claimed real-world hybrid mileage for the C-Max fell well below EPA numbers. However, one Cars.com editor achieved the stated EPA mileage on the C-Max in his commute, and we logged mileage in the low-40s over more than 100 miles of testing.

By Kelsey Mays | August 15, 2013 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

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Ford is recalling 33,021 model-year 2013 versions of the C-Max Hybrid crossover due to a structural issue that poses a safety risk, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The affected vehicles were manufactured from Jan. 19, 2012, through June 25, 2013, (check your vehicle's build date on a sticker on the driver-side doorjamb) and are not equipped with a panoramic sunroof. During testing, it "exceeded a head injury criteria requirement set by the standard. Thus, these vehicles fail to conform to Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 201, 'Occupant Protection in Interior Impact,'" NHTSA said in a statement. This increases the risk of an injury during a crash. "Ford is not aware of any accidents or injuries related to this non-compliance," the automaker said in a statement.

Ford will notify owners beginning Aug. 19, and dealers will install energy absorbers between the headliner and the roof for free. Owners can call Ford at 866-436-7332 or NHTSA's vehicle safety hotline at 888-327-4236 for more info. 

Related
Research the 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid
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By Jennifer Geiger | July 29, 2013 | Comments (4)

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