‘CR’: Honda Accord hybrid mpg rating way off – USA TODAY

Posted: Friday, May 30, 2014

Consumer Reports says its testing finds the Honda Accord hybrid is fuel efficient, but falls far short of the 47 mpg listed on the sticker.

The Accord hybrid got 40 mpg in combined city and highway tests conducted by the magazine — matching the efficiency of the Honda Civic hybrid and the Toyota Prius hatchback — and making it the best among midsize sedans.

But the magazine’s testers caution that Accord hybrid “buyers expecting their car to get the Environmental Protection Agency’s figure of 47 mpg might be disappointed. We’ve found that the EPA tests often exaggerate the fuel-economy of hybrids,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports.

USA TODAY in a week of city and suburban driving in Washington D.C.-area traffic got about the same result as Consumer Reports, about a combined 38 mpg — excellent compared to other vehicles tested in the same conditions, but well short of 47.

The CR results also echo a similar finding last year when it took Ford to task for hybrids not meeting EPA ratings. The magazine’s test results prompted the EPA to investigate the claims.

Ford voluntarily reduced the mileage listed on the C-Max hybrid and explained the discrepancy as stemming from “general label” rule that allows automakers to test the best-selling model in a family and apply the results to other models with the same weight, engine and transmission. Ford had tested the Fusion hybrid sedan and applied the 47 mpg results to the boxier C-Max.

Ford changed the C-Max sticker to 43 mpg. Consumer Reports testers also were unable to achieve 47 m.p.g. with the Fusion, but Ford did not change the EPA rating for the hybrid option of its popular sedan. Ford also faced class actions alleging false advertising of the mileage for the C-Max and Ford Fusion hybrids. The Lincoln MKZ hybrid, which is mechanically similar to the Fusion, has an EPA rating of 45 mpg.

Honda spokeswoman Robyn Eagles said the company stands by the Accord hybrid’s status as the most fuel efficient midsize sedan in combined city and highway driving. She noted the sedan is rated 50 mpg in city driving.

“We’re very happy to see that in Consumer Reports’ testing, they confirmed that its 40 m.p.g. average ranks as the most fuel efficient 4-door midsize sedan that they’ve measured in at least the last 10 years,” Eagles said. “It is important to note that no single test can accurately predict the fuel economy that will be experienced by all drivers under all conditions, and the EPA acknowledges this fact in their reporting of miles per gallon ratings.”

Beyond formal testing, Accord hybrid owners have reported even better mileage in their real world experiences. At the EPA consumer website fueleconomy.gov, the average user-reported fuel economy is 42.2 mpg.

“We’re confident that customers will find the Accord coupe, sedan and hybrid among the most fuel-efficient, safest and fun-to-drive vehicles in the midsize segment,” Eagles said.

The magazine also tested Subaru’s XV Crosstrek hybrid and dubbed it a “half-hearted hybrid.”

Testers found the Crosstek could go up to 20 mph on electric power only if the outside temperature was above 50 degrees and the heat and air conditioning are turned off. In addition, when the start-top system shuts off the engine during a stop, “it restarts with a shudder.”


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