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I picked up a copy of Consumer Reports, New Cars Best and Worst, Cars SUVs and Trucks. in the Road Test Highlights section the Ford Escape SE Sport Hybrid was listed. I was surprised to see 30 MPG city, 38 MPG highway and an overall 34 MPG for their fuel economy test MPG numbers. CR says the road test is performed at their 327 acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut but provides no information on how the MPG numbers are derived.

CRs MPG numbers are way off my experience. After 10 months (8,000 miles) my overall number is 45 MPG (per tank fillups range from 37.9 MPG to 48.8 MPG ). I live in MI so I expect my next tank or 2 to be below 40 MPG as well.

I certainly expect some variance based on weather, driving style and where someone drives but I never expected such a large variance between my numbers and CRs.

Does anyone know how CR comes up with their MPG numbers?
et job/

I subscribe to CR. I was very disappointed in their review of the 2020 Escape. I consider it a "hatchet job."
I have compared it to several of their other reviews; found it to be substantially different in both tone and the subtopics covered.
I also listen/view the CR video series Talking Cars, which had good things to day about the 2020 SE Hybrid, e/g/ "The Escape done right."

I recently received the CR Buying Guide for 2021
Ford Escape - Page 152: Hybrid Sport - Highs: Fuel economy; agility; stopping distance; controls.
Lows - "Can only get auto-up windows on Titanium trim."

Compare that with the listing on page 166 for the Toyota Rav4
Highs - Fuel economy
Lows - "Ride, fit, and finish."

Seriously. a lack of an auto up is more of a detriment than "ride, fit, and finish?"

But, as for your precise question---how do they come up with the numbers?
1) According to Talking Cars and the online reviews, they drive the cars.
2) A couple of times a year, they send us a survey. Who is "us?" Answer: Members.
And we tell them what we think.

According to what I've heard, CR members are generally liberal, generally love the environment (so love electric cars), and generally love foreign cars over domestic.
There is no scientific method. There is no objectivity. It's all opinion.

I'll add how my wife and I bought a Subaru for the symmetrical AWD. We live in New England; we wanted and need AWD.
CR raves over Subaru. So, we bought a Subaru.
They are nothing special. The typical rattles and little problems you find in any car---foreign or domestic.
Oh, the CD player mysteriously broke after a couple of years. Then CR reported this has been an ongoing issue.
The backup camera is unusable in bright light; it is small.
We got the winter package. We discovered the heated mirrors don't really heat; the defrosters aren't very powerful; plenty of ice buildup.
But, CR always loves the next model of Subaru. Just like it always loves the next model of Toyota.

To wrap up, I'll state how over the last year (purchased the hybrid 12/18/2019) I've averaged a solid 40.6 mpg and had no issues.
We love the car.

I don't trust CR as much as I used too.

Thanks for listening.
 

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Fuelly.com is the best source for actual mpg numbers, a lot of real car owners driving their cars.

Paul
Fuelly and any other fuel economy ratings is useless info. Fuel economy is very much personal thing as there are many variables to consider and even average numbers shown in fuelly are meaningless.
 

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Paul, your link takes me to CR magazine archive for 2021, not an explanation that they test multiple times using the same two drivers. The link is more informative before it's selected! Could be my fault; I have a CR login.

CR members are generally ... There is no scientific method. There is no objectivity. It's all opinion.
From your post, I'm going to wager you've no scientific training. Members are polled for data, but not involved in testing, so member demographics are irrelevant.

My opinion, as a scientist, is that their stringent use of the scientific method is part of the problem. Uniform test procedures are not necessarily sufficient, and they've missed that. Test procedures must adapt as the device under test (DUT) changes. Were automatic transmissions first introduced tomorrow, not 80 years ago, would CR still use clutch-based shift points?

We saw this with C-Max. CR drives every car the same way: their Detroit street racers are leadfoots. Cars with tiny engines get great mileage. Cars capable of getting out of their own way do poorly. It's specious use of scientific methods. They make it a point of pride, a sure sign of latent ignorance.

The right response would be a study of driving styles, to see if it's the driver or the car when their data indicates a 50% shortfall. C-Max is not a 47 MPG car, but it's not a 34 MPG car either. My lifetime was 42 MPG, and that's with sub-zero winters.

At the same time, CR does so honestly, for the most part. Test procedures are included in their reports. They don't hide things, but they're also very sophisticated. Those without the technical competence will feel, as @Phaedrus, that "...there is no objectivity. It's all opinion...." regardless how untrue that is. Not CR's fault, anymore than our ancestors for imagining lightening was thrown by the gods on Mt. Olympus.

Fuelly and any other fuel economy ratings is useless info. ...
All valid data is "useless info" to those who don't know how to use or interpret it. Fuelly is more valid because it includes so many variables. This is not to praise Fuelly. Their data access tools are primitive; year, make, model and drivetrain are ubiquitous elsewhere in the industry. Sites like Rtings.com prove that better is possible... so much so that one wonders what Fuelly is really trying to do. Skepticism has it's place.

Frank, whose mileage ranges between 33 and 49 MPG.
 

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All valid data is "useless info" to those who don't know how to use or interpret it. Fuelly is more valid because it includes so many variables.
Folks who know better and been in this "MPG business" long enough well aware there is nothing to interpret when it comes to MPGs of others because there are too many variables. The only thing you can interpret is logging your own mpg and how well you do over time or determine how well or not so well against EPA ratings. That's about all it's good for.
 

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Fuelly and any other fuel economy ratings is useless info. Fuel economy is very much personal thing as there are many variables to consider and even average numbers shown in fuelly are meaningless.
I have to disagree with you on this, Fuelly is the most realistic way to determine what you can expect your mpg will be. With 46 FEH's and 558 fill-ups you have a very large sample to work with. The majority of owners are getting between 37 to 41mpg which lines up with EPA numbers (44-38mpg) pretty well.

Paul
 

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I have to disagree with you on this, Fuelly is the most realistic way to determine what you can expect your mpg will be. With 46 FEH's and 558 fill-ups you have a very large sample to work with. The majority of owners are getting between 37 to 41mpg which lines up with EPA numbers (44-38mpg) pretty well.

Paul
Only hypermilers will find that info useful who also religiously post their data points there, but for average person I found this is just misleading info. Then you see bunch of posts when I owned Rav4. "Oh, not getting good mpgs...", "My mpgs are bad...", " Will my MPGs improve..." etc...
 
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... The only thing you can interpret is logging ...over time or ... against EPA ratings. ...
Not if you think differently. I can see my car's distribution compared with a larger population.
Note these data are neither contemporaneous nor up to date.
78453
Fuelly 2020 Escape Hybrid 2008.jpg
 

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No, more of a data junkie.
haha, yeah that might be true. Also I used to post there when I owned a hybrid, but with ICE I no longer bother.
 

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Discussion Starter · #70 ·
et job/

I subscribe to CR. I was very disappointed in their review of the 2020 Escape. I consider it a "hatchet job."
I have compared it to several of their other reviews; found it to be substantially different in both tone and the subtopics covered.
I also listen/view the CR video series Talking Cars, which had good things to day about the 2020 SE Hybrid, e/g/ "The Escape done right.......

But, as for your precise question---how do they come up with the numbers?
1) According to Talking Cars and the online reviews, they drive the cars.
2) A couple of times a year, they send us a survey. Who is "us?" Answer: Members.

......I'll state how over the last year (purchased the hybrid 12/18/2019) I've averaged a solid 40.6 mpg and had no issues.....
Thanks. I don’t subscribe to CR hence my question.
 

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Discussion Starter · #71 ·
Paul, your link takes me to CR magazine archive for 2021, not an explanation that they test multiple times using the same two drivers. The link is more informative before it's selected! Could be my fault; I have a CR login.....
Thanks. I don’t subscribe to CR. The link took me to an archive as well, nothing specific to MPG numbers. Do the same two drivers stay on a prescribed route somewhere or are they free to use the vehicles as daily drivers for a set period of time?
 

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I copied it this time, see if this works. Sorry for the long Post.


Why You Might Not Be Getting the Efficiency Promised
Some window stickers promise too much
Consumer Reports magazine: August 2013



Find Ratings
Hybrids/EVs

See Dealer Pricing


When comparing the fuel economy of cars, consumers often rely on window stickers that display mpg estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency. But in our testing, we’ve found that the figures for certain vehicles can be far higher than many drivers will actually get. And the largest differences involve some of the most fuel-efficient cars, particularly hybrids. So the people who care most about gas mileage could feel the most shortchanged.
When we compared the EPA estimates of 315 vehicles with the results of our real-world fuel-economy tests, we also found notable gaps in cars that use small turbocharged four-cylinder engines, intended to provide the power of larger engines and the gas mileage of smaller ones.
Sticker shock
In our testing, hybrids generally get some of the best overall gas mileage in their classes, led by models such as the Toyota Prius (44 mpg) and hybrid versions of the Honda Civic (40), Ford Fusion (39), and Toyota Camry (38). But an owner expecting to get the same mpg shown on the window sticker and in advertising for some of the cars might be disappointed.
Of the hybrids we’ve recently tested, 55 percent fell short of their EPA combined city/highway estimates by 10 percent or more, with hybrids built by Ford showing the largest discrepancies.
At 34 mpg overall, the Lincoln MKZ Hybrid is invitingly thrifty. But it gets 11 mpg less, or 24 percent lower, than its 45-mpg EPA figure. The C-Max and Fusion hybrids fall 10 and 8 mpg, respectively, below their advertised 47 mpg. Similarly, the Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid also falls 8 mpg short. For consumers who buy the MKZ, for example, that can amount to paying $1,510 more in gas over five years than they might have expected (assuming gas costs $3.50 per gallon and the car is driven 12,000 miles annually).
“We believe the current testing regulations account for some variability of driving styles, patterns, and environmental conditions,” Ford spokesman Todd Nissen told us in an e-mail. “The latest-generation hybrids may be more sensitive to driving consistently outside of these factors.”
Similarly, we found that 28 percent of cars with small turbo engines also fell short of their EPA estimates by 10 percent or more. Those include models such as the Buick Encore, Ford Fusion, and Nissan Juke.
What’s going on?
EPA estimates don’t always reflect real-world driving performance largely because they are based on outdated tests designed to measure vehicles with conventional powertrains in particular driving situations rather than today’s increasing-ly sophisticated gas/electric systems. In fact, according to Mike Duoba, a research engineer at Argonne National Laboratory who works on keeping the tests up to date, the EPA tests “were originally designed to test emissions, not fuel economy. They wanted to test a variety of speeds and accelerations.”
The EPA test for city fuel economy is conducted at very low speeds, with gen-tle acceleration and minimal idling. The highway test includes quite a bit of stop-and-go driving, with a maximum speed of 60 mph and an average speed of 48.
Hybrids are most efficient in those conditions. With a light foot on the throttle, the latest models can often cruise in electric mode up to about 60 mph, so they can perform portions of the EPA tests without consuming a drop of gas. By contrast, Consumer Reports’ highway mpg tests are performed by driving at a steady 65 mph, reflecting a driver cruising on an interstate highway. In that situation, a hybrid is constantly running its gas engine, so it doesn’t get the full benefit of using its electric power. Thus, it gets fewer mpg than in the EPA test.
Similarly, small turbocharged engines rarely need to spool up their turbos to develop sufficient power for the EPA tests. Our test calls for larger throttle openings so that cars can accelerate from, say, 20 to 40 mph within 500 feet, which results in more turbo use and more air and fuel being pumped into the engine.
Closing the gap
Overall, fuel-efficiency shortfalls have narrowed considerably over the years. When Consumer Reports conducted a similar study in 2005 that compared our gas-mileage results with the EPA estimates, we found that most cars got significantly fewer mpg than their window stickers promised. Conventional gas-powered vehicles missed their EPA estimates by an average of 9 percent, and hybrids by 18 percent.
For 2008 models, the EPA updated its testing formula, which brought most vehicles closer in line with our measurements. Now we find that, on average, conventional cars missed their EPA estimates by only about 2 percent in our tests, and hybrids by about 10 percent.
Enesta Jones, an EPA spokeswoman, says that the 2008 revision reduced the mpg estimates for hybrid vehicles by up to 30 percent for city driving and 25 percent for highway use. “This is a significant reduction that clearly better reflects real-world operation.”
In our tests, most cars exceed their EPA highway estimates but fall well short in city mpg. That is especially true for hybrids, which have fallen an average of 28 percent short of EPA city estimates.
Of course, automakers try to put their best foot forward in the EPA tests, taking advantage of any variables that might improve their results. Duoba notes two ways to get the best result: using the best car, optimized for the test, and driving efficiently. “How much the driver can improve the mpg can vary a lot from car to car,” he says. “Some hybrids are very sensitive to how they are driven.”
Those factors can further increase the difference in a vehicle’s performance between the EPA estimates and real-world driving. “Many times, your average car off the lot will not perform as well as a certification test car,” Duoba adds.
We have discussed our findings with the EPA, and the agency says it is reviewing its tests and is considering updating them. In the meantime, consumers should be aware that they might not get the efficiency promised on the window sticker. You can see our fuel-economy test results in our road tests. Also, check out our lists of the best and worst vehicles for fuel economy.

The government’s tests vs. ours



Lab measurements. The EPA estimates you see on a car’s window sticker are the result of fuel-economy tests run in a lab on a rolling treadmill called a dynamometer.




They are performed by the automakers, using test protocols formulated by the EPA. The agency then spot-checks about 15 percent of the models in its own lab.




The automakers pick the cars they test. Protocols require test results for every major variation of engine, transmission, and drivetrain, but minor variations such as different axle ratios on pickups and a special performance version of a model are often lumped into the results of higher-selling versions.




On the dynamometer, cars are driven on precise simulated routes. But maximum speed and acceleration in the tests are slow by the standards of modern traffic. To help bring the results for most cars in line with real-world driving, three new “routes” were added in 2008, reflecting higher speeds, more use of air conditioning, and driving in colder temperatures.



But automakers are allowed to comply with the new ratings for many models using mathematical simulations of the new tests. And because those simulations were developed before many modern hybrids were on the road, they might be inaccurate for today’s drivetrains.

Road tests. Consumer Reports’ fuel-economy tests are conducted on our track and on public roads. Testers splice a precise fuel meter into each test car’s fuel line to measure how much gas is consumed. Each car is then run through highway and city drive loops, with each performed multiple times by two drivers.



The city test is conducted on a loop that’s set up on our track to reflect driving in a suburban area. It’s marked so that a driver must maintain specific speeds in certain sections and stop the car at specific points for set idling times. Highway mpg is measured by driving on a particular stretch of sparsely used freeway near our test track at a steady pace of 65 mph. Each driver runs the test in both directions to compensate for wind and the slight difference in grade.



Our raw results are corrected for temperature using a formula established by the Society of Automotive Engineers. But we don’t test if it’s too hot, too cold, too wet, or too windy. Our overall mpg is a weighted composite of city and highway mpg measurements.

Miles apart
Below are models whose overall gas mileage in our tests fell 3 or more mpg below what the window sticker promises.
ModelEPA combined mpgCR overall mpgDifference (mpg)Difference (percent)
Lincoln MKZ Hybrid45341124.4
Ford C-Max Hybrid47371021.3
Ford Fusion Hybrid4739817.0
Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid4537817.8
Toyota Prius C5043714.0
Toyota Prius5044612.0
Honda Civic Hybrid444049.1
Infiniti M35h2925413.8
Lexus ES 300h4036410.0
Toyota Avalon Hybrid4036410.0
Buick LaCrosse (eAssist)2926310.3
Honda Insight413837.3
Hyundai Sonata Hybrid363338.3
Lexus RX 450h2926310.3
 

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Discussion Starter · #73 ·
@ptjones Thanks. The answer to my question is at the end of the article.
 
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Discussion Starter · #74 ·
After 1 year....and all 4 seasons in MI....

Overall 43.6 MPG....calculated via spreadsheet....Fuel Economy screen indicates 45.3 MPG
Best months Aug/Sept 2020 both 48.8 MPG
Worst month Feb 2021 35.5 MPG
 

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I've noticed driving habits have a much larger impact on my escape fhev than other vehicles. My wife drives and gets ~37mpg pretty consistently. I drive and I usually end up between 45mpg and 50mpg. I also make a game out of getting the highest number I can, so that probably changes my driving habits.

I believe the Escape FHEV still relies on the engine for heat (unlike AC), in addition to the battery getting less efficient at cold temps. If you park in a garage, you're probably less affected by this.
 

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Funny thing on the Fusion Hybrid, that was the combined on the sticker in 2013.
After that it was 43 city/39 hwy/41 combined, so somebody isn't updating their data tables.
 

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I am considering trading in my 2020 for a hybrid. It looks like I can do it for about $3500, and it will be AWD/leather/sun roof and nav system. Im just wondering if I would end up getting that money back.

So im just wondering if you have a hybrid what is the MPG you are reading right, not really your best or worst. I mostly drive around town which is no more then 40mpg, some highway but speed limit is 55 and i usually set it at 50. Right now im showing 33mpg with the 1.5. im wondering if with a hybrid i can get 45-50?
 

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Discussion Starter · #79 ·
I’ve owned my FE hybrid 15 months, I’m at 11,000 miles and I’ve averaged 43.6 mpg. That’s actual mileage calculated from trip meter readings and fuel receipts (I keep a spreadsheet). I live in MI and the cold weather greatly affects mpg as does traveling at interstate speeds (70+ mph). If you keep your speed down and live in a warmer climate you could definitely do better than 43 mpg. If you drive as you described you could definitely be in the 45+ mpg territory (weather dependent).
 

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I am considering trading in my 2020 for a hybrid. It looks like I can do it for about $3500, and it will be AWD/leather/sun roof and nav system. Im just wondering if I would end up getting that money back.

So im just wondering if you have a hybrid what is the MPG you are reading right, not really your best or worst. I mostly drive around town which is no more then 40mpg, some highway but speed limit is 55 and i usually set it at 50. Right now im showing 33mpg with the 1.5. im wondering if with a hybrid i can get 45-50?
I merged your thread with this existing thread on the same topic. Have a look at the other posts for answers to your question.
 
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