Consumer Reports puts the brake on falsely fuel economy rating claims


With the gas prices are going up every quarter, fuel economy is a big factor in car buying decision. With that, just about every car manufacturer is trying to boost its cars’ fuel economy ratings in some way. Recently Hyundai got hit first, later Ford, then Chevrolet for falsely claiming the 40-mpg mark on their fuel economy rating numbers for their cars.

This week, Consumer Reports is continuing with its crusade to make these auto manufacturers eat their rigged fuel economy claims. On this round, CR is aiming at small-displacement, forced-induction engines. According to CR, these powerplants don’t deliver on automaker fuel economy claims as they boasted on the invoice.

It is long held that smaller, turbocharged four-cylinder engines produce as much power the V6 engines while providing superb fuel economy, but Consumer Reports says that is not the case. While these small, turbocharged engines scored high on the EPA economy numbers, they don’t always translate to the real world driving and in Consumer Reports’ own fuel economy tests.

“While these engines may look better on paper with impressive EPA numbers, in reality they are often slower and less fuel efficient than larger four and six-cylinder engines,” said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports.

In recent tests, CR calls out the new Ford Fusion equipped with the Ecoboost 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine, and it found that the engine fails to match competitors in acceleration and delivered only up 25 miles per gallon in testing, making the sedan ranked last in its category. And these findings were also the same in the Chevrolet Cruze, Hyundai Sonata Turbo, and Ford Escape 2.0T, where they are less fuel efficient than most V6 models in the same class.

In the final analysis by Consumer Reports, it states that turbochargers pump extra air into the engine to deliver more power. But gasoline engines have to be operated at a very specific air-to-fuel ratio. So this extra air has to be compensated with extra fuel to get a right amount of mixture, which may offset any savings from smaller engine sizes.