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.
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.Eight months later, after at least one more law firm threw its hat into the class-action ring, Ford announced it would recalibrate various drivetrain and climate-control systems to improve real-world mileage in the 2013 C-Max Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid, as well as the MKZ Hybrid from Ford's luxury Lincoln division.
Those calibrations apply to the 43-mpg C-Max, the Detroit News reports, but ratings for the 47-mpg Fusion Hybrid will remain unchanged. (It's not yet clear what happens to the MKZ Hybrid.) We've received plenty of emails from C-Max owners frustrated with their mileage — a lot more than we have from any disgruntled Fusion Hybrid owners.
The Detroit News says the EPA will announce revisions Friday on procedures for EPA ratings on hybrids.