New Fuel Misers Disappoint

With high fuel prices, everyone is looking for ways to save on gas. Automakers are heavily promoting new fuel-savers. Consumer Reports just tested four to see how they stack up.

Toyota's Game-Of-Life ads highlight the much-anticipated Prius C-a smaller, less expensive version of the Prius.

Ford is promoting its new gas-saving Focus-the SFE version.

Meanwhile, Honda is advertising its new Civic fuel-saver-the HF.

And Chevy is touting its Cruze Eco.

How well can these four vehicles stretch your fuel dollars? Let's start with the Prius c.

Rik Paul of Consumer Reports says, "In city driving the Prius c delivers and amazing 37 mpg, which is the highest of any car Consumer Reports has tested."

But the Prius c is slow to accelerate.

The ride is stiff and the cabin is noisy, too.

As for the other cars, manufacturers made current models more fuel-efficient with modifications like low-rolling-resistance tires and aerodynamic add-ons. These vehicles are all promising 40 miles per gallon or better on the highway.

Consumer Reports used a device to measure highway mileage.

Tests show all three cars do get 40 miles per gallon or better as promised.

Paul says, "We found an improvement of one to three mpg overall with these cars. But you pay 500 to 800 dollars extra for those fuel-saving options."

Instead, consider the Mazda 3 i Skyactiv, which rated higher in Consumer Reports' tests.

The Mazda 3i Skyactiv gets 32 miles per gallon in Consumer Reports' combined city and highway fuel economy tests. That's better than either the Cruze Eco or the Focus SFE. And the Skyactiv also costs less.

If your heart is set on a Prius, Consumer Reports says, rather than buying a Prius c, you're better off getting a good used Prius.

It scores much higher in tests, is reliable, gets 44 miles per gallon and gives you a lot more room.


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