When the growing number of Ford C-Max Hybrid owners started to complain that they weren’t getting the promised fuel economy, the blame had to fall somewhere.
Of course, that means press and lawsuits and now federal involvement. Last week, we reported on the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] considering changes to its fuel economy measurements with regards to testing hybrid vehicle fuel economy. The fuel economy rating on the Ford C-Max Hybrid was also downgraded from 47mpg to 43mpg. This comes after even a software upgrade that was meant to get the car up to what the EPA label says, which didn’t work, apparently.
EPA sticker shock actually isn’t new, and we know that driver habits also has a lot to do with your ultimate fuel economy numbers, but that still has nothing to do with the car never actually being tested. Since the 1970s, the EPA only requires that the best-selling vehicle in the same class be tested, in this case the Ford Fusion Hybrid. Just how Ford figured the Ford C-Max Hybrid falls into the same class is beyond me, but a loophole is a loophole, and damn if Ford didn’t aim straight for it. As fuel economy regulations become more strict, I’m expecting that this type of abuse might continue, unless the EPA finalizes its fuel economy testing requirements.
In any case, Ford did downgrade the Ford C-Max Hybrid numbers, especially after dismal reports that it couldn’t even hit 40mpg on the highway, a 7mpg discrepancy. Interestingly, Ford isn’t blaming itself for not testing the C-Max on its own, since it isn’t legally required and the EPA only does spot checks anyways. The ethical thing to do would have been to actually test the vehicle, instead of lumping it together with a far more aerodynamic vehicle in the same weight class to try and attract clients away from Toyota Prius. It didn’t work, Toyota Prius is still king of the hill.
Who’d Ford blame for Ford C-Max Hybrid’s poor fuel economy? You guessed it, the driver, the weather, and break-in time? It’s 2013, Ford, get your act together.