CONSUMERS REPORTS TESTS AUTOMOBILE FUEL ECONOMY

     (The following press release from Consumer Reports was received by e-mail.  The sender verified the statement.) FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   CONTACTS:    C. Matt Fields 914.378.2454               or               Douglas Love 914.378.2437  cfields@consumer.org                                      dlove@consumer.org  HONDA ACCORD HYBRID DELIVERS CLASS-LEADING FUEL ECONOMY, BUT FALLS WELL SHORT  OF EPA’S 47 MPG ESTIMATE   Jeep Grand Cherokee and BMW 328d diesels shine, XV Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid  underwhelms  YONKERS, NY—Consumer Reports fuel economy tests found the Honda Accord Hybrid  delivered impressive overall fuel-economy, tying the smaller Honda Civic Hybrid  and just below the top-performing Toyota Prius hatchback.  The Accord Hybrid’s 40-mpg performance on Consumer Reports combined city and  highway tests make it a class leader for fuel economy among midsized sedans.  Testers found the Accord Hybrid has a very impressive hybrid system that  smoothly transitions between battery and engine power. To save fuel, even at  highway speeds, the engine willingly shuts off as soon as drivers lift their  foot off the gas pedal.  But Consumer Reports’ engineers caution that buyers expecting their car to the  EPA’s figure of 47 mpg posted on the window sticker 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.  Prior Consumer Reports tests of the Ford Fusion Hybrid and C-Max Hybrid also  found a significant shortfall between the EPA’s estimated highway fuel economy  figures and those in CR’s own fuel economy tests.  Although the Accord Hybrid delivers improved fuel economy over the non-hybrid  version, the Hybrid falls short in other areas of Consumer Reports’ testing  including ride comfort, emergency handling, and quietness. As a result, the  Accord Hybrid scored lower overall in Consumer Reports’ tests than the  non-hybrid four-cylinder Accord while costing about $6,500 more.  Consumer Reports has also tested the new hybrid version of the Subaru XV  Crosstrek, as well as new diesel versions of the BMW 3 Series and Jeep Grand  Cherokee.  The XV Crosstrek Hybrid underwhelmed Consumer Reports’ engineers, as testers  found it to be a halfhearted hybrid. When applying the gas pedal gingerly, the  XV Crosstrek Hybrid managed to creep up to 20 mph on electric power, but only  if the outside temperature was above 50° F and the heat or air conditioner was  turned off. Moreover, this hybrid isn’t particularly refined. As with others, a  start/stop system shuts off the engine when drivers come to a halt, but it  restarts with a shudder when they’re ready to go again.  The traditional XV Crosstrek Premium’s 148-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine  helped it deliver a frugal 26 mpg overall in CR’s test. The hybrid version  improves slightly on the drivability of the regular one, but it averaged only  an additional 2 mpg overall in Consumer Reports tests. Considering it costs  about $3,000 more than the regular version, the hybrid is not worth the extra  money for most shoppers  The Jeep and BMW diesels turned in a more impressive showing in Consumer  Reports tests. Compared with their gasoline counterparts, they boosted fuel  economy by a significant 6- and 7-mpg overall to 24 and 35 mpg,  respectively—without a significant compromise in performance or refinement.  With their excellent highway efficiency of 32 and 49 mpg, they provide lengthy  cruising ranges of 785 and 735 miles. Both vehicles scored near the top of  their classes in Consumer Reports testing.  For 2014, though, the BMW 328d’s new 180-hp, 2.0-liter turbo diesel, left 328i  impressive gas-mileage figure (28 mpg) in the dust. The 35-mpg CR averaged in  the 328d, even with all-wheel drive, is terrific. In this class, that’s  eclipsed only by the 40-mpg of the Lexus CT 200h hybrid, which doesn’t come  close to the 3 Series in luxury, sportiness and size.  There were trade offs to the 328d’s impressive fuel economy. Its acceleration  isn’t exactly speedy; its 8.5-second 0-to-60 mph time is more than 2 seconds  slower than the 328i’s. But with 280 lb. ft of torque on tap, the diesel packs  a nice punch for merging or passing. With a trace of  diesel clatter, the 328d  is a little noisier than the 328i.  A 2014 freshening of the Grand Cherokee brought improved controls, better fit  and finish, a slick eight-speed automatic transmission, and electric steering  system. The available 240-hp, 3.0-liter turbo-diesel V6 helps the Grand  Cherokee further stand out for its impressive versatility. Overall, this modern  diesel brings a new level of fuel efficiency to the Grand Cherokee while  retaining a mostly civilized driving experience. Consumer Reports averaged an  impressive 24 mpg, which is a 6-mpg boost in overall fuel economy compared with  the 3.6-liter gasoline V6. That ties the Grand Cherokee with the diesel-powered  Volkswagen Touareg TDI as the most efficient non-hybrid midsized SUV.  Complete reports and ratings for the Honda Accord Hybrid, Subaru XV Crosstrek  Hybrid, BMW 328d, and Jeep Cherokee Diesel, as well as updated tests for the  recently freshened Volkswagen Passat, Honda Civic and Dodge Dart are available  now at www.ConsumerReports.org or in July Issue of Consumer Reports on sale  June 3.  — 30 —  JULY 2014  © 2014 Consumer Reports.  The material above is intended for legitimate news  entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes.  Consumer Reports® is an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose  mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and  to empower consumers to protect themselves.  We accept no advertising and pay  for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest.  Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®, ConsumerReports.org®  and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and  noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended  solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be  used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission.  Consumer Reports will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of  its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports®.  NY (lsk)    
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.