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Worth It Or Not? Consumer Reports Puts High-MPG Cars To The Test

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On: Fri, Jun 8, 2012 at 2:59PM | By: Chris Weiss

Worth It Or Not? Consumer Reports Puts High-MPG Cars To The Test

"40 mpg" is kind of a big buzz term these days, with manufacturers looking to claim that their cars are in the 40 club. But does the number really matter that much? Consumer Reports tested three 40 mpg cars to see if the premium in pricing is offset by gas savings.

The testing organization put the Chevy Cruze Eco, Ford Focus SE SFE and Honda Civic HF, three special high-mpg versions of their base cars, to the test to see how much that 40 mpg impacts the wallet in real world conditions. As with anything fuel economy, the answer is 'it depends'.

CR says that the high fuel economy versions of the popular sedans add about $500 to $800 to the price. Given its finding that the Chevy Cruze Eco will only save drivers about $20 per year at the pump (assuming $4 per gallon), it would take well over the life expectancy of the car to pay for itself. On the other hand, it finds that the Focus and Civic models can save you more than $130 each year.

Consumer Reports' testing finds the Civic to be the highway mileage champ, bringing home an impressive 49 mpg highway. It also added 3 mpgs of overall fuel economy (33 mpg) in testing over a similarly equipped Civic LX. On the other hand, the Cruze only added 1 mpg of overall fuel economy for a 27 mpg total. The Focus SFE boosted overall fuel economy by 3 mpg to 31 and scored 43 mpg on the highway.

Though it doesn't come right out and say it, Consumer Reports seems to be of the mind that the premium for the 40 mpg models tested isn't all that worth it. It says that you can get similar fuel economy without the special-trim premium pricing by opting for cars like the Toyota Corolla and Mazda 3 i skyActiv, which both get 32 mpg overall.

Check out Consumer Reports report and video for more information.



AutoHistory | 1:11PM (Sat, Jun 9, 2012)

But then you have to drive a Toyota Corolla!

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