Ford’s 47 mpg City/Highway/Combined Hybrid Ratings Ring Hollow

Discussion in 'Articles' started by xcel, Feb 26, 2013.

  1. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Luke:

    Here is the chart (2013 Ford Fusion SE - Speed vs. Fuel Economy) but I have not yet posted the review. In a few days I should have it up.

    Regarding the model tested, the DOT/EPA has an offset for that too. If you are selling a lot more of a given trim that is less efficient, you have to incorporate that fact into the Monroney sticker averages through the formulas somehow. At least that is what it looks like from my reads of the volumes of docs out of the EPA site.

    I hear you about the Fusion and Accord PHEVs. If they were not so darn expensive by comparison to their base platforms. Look up my story on "the box" and the Fusion Energi. With that, how can it be $10K or so upcharge when the C-MAX Energi is only a $7K upcharge?

    If someone were considering a C-MAX HEV or the Energi lineup, the C-MAX Energi appears to be the best "deal" out there right now.

    And thanks for the input as always.

  2. dr61

    dr61 Well-Known Member

    Correct - the price of the C-Max Energi for us in California will be slightly cheaper (after tax credit and CA rebate) than the Hybrid with comparable SEL trim. Plus it is carpool lane eligible.
  3. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Dave:

    Thanks for that piece of information regarding California rebates. The HOV lane access can be a godsend for those on the 405 in particular!

    I just received a note from another publication that is doing a short write-up on this story. The asked for a quote(s) and this is what I provided. Let me know if it makes any sense.

  4. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Thanks a lot for the info. Does that chart depict the 1.6 Ecoboost and you used that to interpolate hybrid ratings? Or is the heading incorrect and it's rather Hybrid SE?

    I drove the Hybrid SE for 1 minute or so at 60 mph and got about 40 mpg but I also had side winds as I was driving along coast (it was not flat either). I wouldn't be surprised if 47 mpg EPA would require lower speeds than 60. But I didn't have enough time to know for sure.

    The reason the Fusion Energi is priced like this is probably the Accord PHEV which is priced the same (slightly better equipped but smaller range). The C-Max is priced accordingly to the Prius V.

    Although there's a decent price difference I noticed extra regional incentive of $1500 for the Fusion Energi but nothing for the C-Max Energi. The incentive might be special pricing program but probably with some negotiation you can get similar discounts. With federal & CA incentives you can end up around $32K. But still not sure I could live with that small cargo space of the Fusion (without folding rear seats). The C-Max is certainly better deal although I like the Fusion a lot better:-(.
  5. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

  6. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Luke:

    The graph is not for the hybrid or interpretation of its capability. It was the SE equipped with the 1.6L EcoBoost.

    About the Fusion Energi vs. C-MAX Energi, the price differentials do not make any sense. Just like the barely selling Focus BEV, the price premium Ford placed on the Fusion Energi by comparison to the Fusion HEV and the C-MAX family in particular makes it DOA :(

    I like the Fusions look and its quiet interior better than the C-MAX too. I like the C-MAXs taller seating position and more cargo room over the Fusion however.

    Herm, Ford has a lot of those nonsensical vids up right now.

  7. F8L

    F8L Well-Known Member

    As always, I am impressed with the work you and the crew put into these tests and comparisons. Thank you for providing us with an unbiased opinion and some usable data.

  8. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

  9. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    "Two California law firms are consolidating lawsuits against Ford Motor Co., alleging the automaker has led a "false and misleading" marketing campaign for its 2013 C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid vehicles.

    Redlands, Calif.-based McCuneWright, which on behalf of "hundreds" of C-Max and Fusion hybrid owners is seeking punitive damages because of potentially overinflated fuel-efficiency claims, said it will consolidate with a similar lawsuit filed by San Diego-based Robbins, Geller, Rudman and Dowd.

    "There's a lot of really unhappy people," said Rich McCune, partner at McCuneWright, which has previously filed lawsuits against Hyundai Motor Co. for fuel-efficiency claims, in a telephone interview.

    "We've received hundreds of calls from the few newspaper stories that have been around."

    The new filing will have between five and 10 class-action representatives — real-world Ford hybrid owners who say that their vehicles are not living up to fuel-efficiency claims — from various areas of the country.

    McCune said the law firm has spoken to "literally hundreds" of hybrid owners from across the country, and not just those clustered in colder regions with higher speed limits, two factors that can significantly diminish fuel efficiency.

    The original suit stems from the experiences of Richard Pitkin of Roseville, Calif., who purchased a C-Max Hybrid in October. Pitkin says he averaged only 37 miles per gallon, lower than the Environmental Protection Agency rated 47 mpg."
  10. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    I remember a recent report (on Hyundai rather) where it was said that EPA only requires one model to be tested and that skews the results. The number of configurations is pretty big.
    Not sure how the formula works but the volumes aren't known before the model goes on sale. So if only 1 model is tested I guess there isn't really a good way to dispute it. Unless that 1 model must be somewhere in the middle of the range.

    Honda's upcoming hybrid (fall 2013) is expected to get also an impressive 49/45/47 mpg EPA. Will be interesting to see if that one is able to meet those numbers and is able exceed Camry Hybrid in both city and highway.

    For now I still look forward getting the Fusion hybrid even if it isn't meeting EPA. It's one of those cars you can't tell it's a hybrid. Handling was comparable to non-hybrids.
  11. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Luke:

    Follow the Monroney label link I posted on page two or three of the replies and you will see how the configuration works for EPA calculations.

    Honda is a company that that breaks its EPA very easily in most cases. We'll all have to wait and see.

    You might also want to consider the Avalon Hybrid albeit at a much higher cost depending on how you are equipping both. The ES 300h is another. As long as you go in knowing that your FE will probably be between 20 and 30% below label, it is a decent car. And quiet for sure. Just finished up the second Accord Sport drive and they are both noisy by comparison to the Fusion. Not the 1.6L EcoBoost as the engine is noisy until it settles in but the atkinsonized 2.0L and ANC in the Hybrid is really quiet.

  12. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    Don't forget, Honda tried to play this game too. They tweaked the Civic Hybrid to get really good mileage, but in turn the pack was sacrificed, and now they're doing everything they can to avoid fixing these cars right, just sitting back and covering their butts until the warranties expire.

    Ford may have been conservative in their pack management software, but it appears that most Ford hybrids will end up going to the scrapyard with perfectly serviceable batteries in them. I've had my FEH for a year & a half, and have put just shy of 20,000 miles on it in that time. In all that time I've only had ONE recalibration cycle, and the tank that I had the recal on was my best tank ever, at over 40 MPG.
  13. wxman

    wxman Well-Known Member

    Thanks Wayne. These will be more valuable data if EPA solicits comments on changing the official fuel mileage methodology as has been reported.
  14. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    New proposal for EPA testing: Wayne drives a car to the best of his ability on a specific course. After Wayne drives it, a journalist from Road & Track magazine dogs the hell out of it on the same track. The 2 numbers are posted as a range, and the average of the 2 is what's posted on the sticker in big numbers.
  15. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi 08EscapeHybrid:

    Too Funny :D

    About the Honda hybrids, I have stopped recommending anything with their older NiMH chemistry as there are far too many failures regardless of the great highway fuel economy. In addition, I thought they took a lot of driveability away with the all-new 2012. The far less expensive HF was right there on the highway with both touching 75 and 75 mpg on my RT drive loop and you did not have to pay for the less peppy hybrid drivetrain and loss of trunk space.

    The upcoming Hybrid Accord will include their new two motor system and I am sure Honda learned some lessons from its past offerings. The new prismatic Li-Ion cells and chemistry alone will bring long term reliability up with the two motor allowing them to perform similar to the Sonata or Jetta Hybrid out on the highway at essentially any speed "if" they designed it like that? With the 13 Accord Sport in the drive just about to be picked up, it has some positive attributes regarding its CVT and overall fuel economy so I suspect the Accord Hybrid will have some nice attributes worth exploring ;)

    The big question however is will it or anything match a 2012 or 2013 Camry Hybrid around town? Given the C-MAX results, I doubt the Fusion Hybrid can either. And the Camry Hybrid is a quicker than the C-MAX which in turn should make it quicker than the Fusion Hybrid from my own 0 to 60 times.

    All-in, if you want to play in Toyota’s HSD court, you had better have your best and brightest working on that car because a Camry Hybrid in an inner city environ is a weapon of mass destruction.

    Wxman, thanks.

  16. Luke

    Luke Well-Known Member

    Thanks as always for great info. I looked at Avalon but didn't like interior and just like the ES you can't fold the rear seats. Plus both are pretty expensive: starting at 36K and 40K.

    Here are some numbers from CR:

    City/highway/overall , 0-60 mph:
    - C-Max hybrid SE: 35/38/37, 8.4 sec
    - Fusion SE Hybrid: 35/41/39, 8.3 sec
    - Camry Hybrid XLE: 32/43/38, 7.6 sec
    - Prius V: 33/47/41, 10.7 sec

    They got better city results for Ford compared to Toyota models. Since Fusion has same city rating as C-MAX I guess you probably get same (different) results. The Fusion should do better at highway speeds than C-MAX at least (but not as good as Camry).

    The highway test is on public level highway at 65 mph in both directions (for wind correction). The city test is stop-and-go simulated city driving at their track (not sure specifics there). EDIT: note they only require temperature to be higher than 32 degrees and dry roads so that could slightly skew results for hybrids.

    Regarding Accord Plug-in hybrid several journalists reported great FE in their first drive but very short drive and with EV you get combined results so you don't know the hybrid only component FE. I would also not surprised if Honda would still not offer foldable rear seats for upcoming hybrid model. So not sure yet how competitive it will be but great to see more competition finally (and Nissan said to offer Altima hybrid within 2 years).
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2013
  17. xcel

    xcel PZEV, there's nothing like it :) Staff Member

    Hi Luke:

    Good stuff. Have you read the C-MAX blog or review as I have incorporated a lot of that information?

    Here is why you do not want to screw around with Toyota's HSD including the 2012/2013 Camry Hybrid.


    That loop in a late stage 2012 Camry Prototype at the Long Lead in Washington State occurred in mid-2011 and included a short stint of highway driving! It was proven to be a quick hybrid too.

    Have you also followed our back and forth discussions on the CleanMPG members C-MAXs yet? If Ford would back off on the propensity for the C-MAX to self charge and discharge while driving the Interstate, "I think" it would provide better overall highway results for its owners. It may get hit on the EPA but owners may receive quite a boost to their real world fuel economy. The heavily atkinsonized 2.0L is an efficient design if left to its lonesome but with all of the lossy charging and discharging at higher speeds, they "appear" to harm the C-MAXs capability out on the super slab. In my Review drive, I fought this tooth and nail during the LAX to San Diego measured segment and the results were pretty decent. IMHO however, that level of concentration and accelerator pedal input to remove the cars natural programmed tendencies is far beyond the average drivers abilities to hold let alone maintain and may have something to do with the poor real world results. Maybe???

  18. EdwinTheMagnificent

    EdwinTheMagnificent Legend In His Mind

    Luke , are you embarrassed to have a car that "looks" like a hybrid ?
  19. waltermlee

    waltermlee Well-Known Member

  20. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    They should also re-evaluate how they test the modern crop of cars with tiny engines and turbochargers.. Does it really pay?

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