2013 Ford Fusion EcoBoost: Yes, You Can Hit 47 mpg, But...

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With more new-car buyers than ever wanting higher gas mileage in their next car, automakers are keen to show just how efficient their latest models can be.

Which is probably why Ford took to its oval test track in Dearborn, Michigan, with four NASCAR stars to prove that its 2013 Fusion with 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine could achieve gas mileage figures most mid-size cars could only dream of.

In a closed-track event called the Fusion EcoBoost NASCAR Miles Per Gallon Challenge, Ford challenged NASCAR drivers Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, Trevor Bayne and Matt Kenseth to drive around its 2.5-mile long closed test track three times in 15 minutes, using the least gasoline as possible.

According to Ford’s official release, “by nearly posting 50 mpg,” Bayne won the challenge, with a gas mileage figure of 46.9 mpg. 

While that figure beats the official EPA gas mileage highway figure for the 2013 Fusion EcoBoost by 9.9 mpg, it needs to be taken with a liberal amount of reality. 

We’ll explain. 

Ford Four-Cylinder EcoBoost Engine

Ford Four-Cylinder EcoBoost Engine

Enlarge Photo

First, Ford’s test took place on a warm August day, when cars will naturally achieve higher gas mileage figures than they do on colder days. 

Second, the test took place on a closed track, where drivers were allowed to travel at the speed best recommended by the Fusion EcoBoost’s on-board efficiency gauge for maximum gas mileage.

In reality, that was somewhere between 30 and 40 mph.

Third, as Ford details in its legal disclaimer accompanying the YouTube video of this particular publicity stunt, each person only drove 6.6 miles.

What’s more, the NASCAR drivers were allowed to coast to the finish, meaning the last part of the course was completed with no engine power at all. 

None of the above make it a real-world test. 

In fact, do the same test with any car, and we think you’d find it possible to exceed the EPA’s gas mileage predictions in anything from a 2012 Toyota Prius to a 2012 BMW 7-Series.

At the end of this particular video, Bayne challenges the viewer to “take the fuel efficiency challenge” in the 2013 Fusion EcoBoost for themselves. 

While we think it’s great that Ford wants to encourage drivers to be as economical as possible with their driving, we’d just like to remind you that the kind of extreme hypermiling tricks used in the video, aren’t always practical, or safe, in the real world.

As for gas mileage figures for new cars? 

It’s simple: stick to the official EPA gas mileage figures, and remember, your mileage WILL vary.


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Comments (12)
  1. Glad to see GCR pushing back against MPG claims under dubious conditions and sticking to the EPA numbers.

    Of course, as mentioned in the article, it is nice to learn a few tricks to improve mpg. I would argue that "coasting to the finish" is a reasonable and safe way to deal with stop lights, as opposed to the all to common very hard stop at a stop-light.

  2. Watch my video on coasting here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O99dZM-SAzU

  3. Oh what ELSE IS NEW....Ford loves to BASH the Prius model any chance they can get....you see Toyota uses and is well ahead of Fords technology...the PRIUS TRUELY ACHIEVES 50 PLUS MPG....the 2012 especially and future inprovements to its HYBRID SYNERGY DRIVE as well these numbers shall go up...since 2002 they have ONLY INCREASED until present....the Plug In in just Hybrid mode exceeds the numbers on the sticker...I drive a PHEV presently as well as owned the 2010 Prius Hybrid they BOTH EXCEED the stickers always.....I have owned Ford Explorers 5 or more before going to Toyota...the sticker on the Ford models were NEVER what was claimed or better...facts are always best to quote from....Toyota seems to be more honest in this category..

  4. @Charles: This is your friendly site moderator. We welcome your comments, but please be judicious with your caps-lock key. Using all caps IS THE EQUIVALENT OF SHOUTING and it makes it harder to read your comments. Thanks!

  5. @ John: Seriously, caps is what bothers you? Mr. Li calls half the country idiots and it does not raise your eyebrow. Interesting!

  6. @Pat: We have had separate discussions with a handful of commenters about blanket characterizations of groups of people, and will continue to do so as required.

  7. The several Fords which I have owned have always exceeded the EPA sticker ratings. Could it be that your driving style is different?

  8. From what I can see this isn't even the hybrid, just the ecoboost version. So while the conditions may be rigged for a promotion, to compare it to the Prius really isn't fair.

  9. Or just read the Consumer Reports real world mileage averages for a better estimate.

  10. Hmmm...

    If this "test track" results are so much better than EPA rating, then we should ask Ford what is the point of this "test track" testings? Is this a simple marketing ploy to distract the potential buyers?

  11. Why is everyone so up-tight about this video?

    This is not a mileage claim by Ford, but a bit of fun publicity leading up the the Fusion intro. They took a group of Ford NASCAR drivers who normally have their feet to the floorboard, and have them trying to maximize their mpg. Ford clearly shows in the video "highway mileage up to 37 mpg" which likely is the EPA highway rating for the 1.6l EcoBoost (it hasn't been posted yet).

    Of course they were "hypermiling" but this is no different than other contests to see, for instance, what sort of range once can get out of an electric vehicle.

  12. Ford's Fusion Hybrid (not the 1.6L or 2.0L EcoBoost) is rated at 47MPG City/47MPG Hwy/47MPG Combined.

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