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Consumer Reports: Small turbo engines underperforming

When it comes to saving fuel and maintaining power, many car buyers are leaning towards small turbocharged engines as an alternative to larger, conventional engines. However, a new report from Consumer Reports suggests this faith may be misplaced.

It has carried out its own fuel economy tests on vehicles with small turbocharged engines and reports that in many cases the turbocharged cars actually offer no better fuel economy and slower acceleration than comparable larger, conventional engines.

Ford Fusion Hybrid White

It carried out tests on cars with small turbocharged engines and compared them to competitors with naturally aspirated engines: both large and small. It found that many of the EPA estimates do not ring true in the real world.

As an example, back in December, it reported on the 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid (pictured) and the new Ford C-MAX Hybrid and found both fell well short of the advertised 47mpg figures.

Now it suggests that the latest 2013 Ford Fusion models with EcoBoost engines are also underperforming. It suggests that the smaller engine – a 1.6litre capable of producing 173hp – actually trails the 0-60mph times of competitive family saloon cars, and actually offers just 25mpg: among the worst of the recently redesigned family saloons.

Perhaps the most direct comparison however, came with Chevrolet Cruze. It tested a Cruze with a 1.8litre conventional four-cylinder engine, and the same car with a 1.4litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It reports that the 1.4litre model was only marginally more powerful in daily driving and actually only reported the same fuel economy as the larger engine.

It was far from the only example too: the Hyundai Sonata Turbo, Ford Escape 2.0T and Kia Sportage Turbo are all less fuel efficient than cars with V6 engines in their class, according to Consumer Reports.

Of course there were some good examples of turbocharged four-cylinder models producing that winning combination of acceleration and fuel economy: the BMW 2.0litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine manages 28mpg in the BMW 328i: matching the power and acceleration of the BMW X3 SUV while improving mileage by one mpg. Volkswagen 2.0litre turbo models also returned what Consumer Reports described as “impressive mileage”.

Just click the following link to check out the full report.

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Paul Lucas

Filed under: Latest News, Green cars, Green credentials

1 comment

Ronald Kramer

I thought my C-MAX would be a Prius Killer? As a cross over buyer I feel deceived. I want to support US companies and US jobs. What was Ford thinking when they published 47/ 47 estimates? I would have been ok with low 40's but low 28-33 is not even in the ballpark. The EPA estimates will have to be adjusted to the mid 30's and sell the cars as is. My dealer's sales and service department were ok at the beginning of the complaint process, but now have turned hostile and un-professional.Ronald Kramer Yankee Ford Customer South Portland, Maine

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