That’s why Consumer Reports does its own mileage test on every car it reviews.
Champion and Koeppen took a spin in a Honda minivan that the EPA says gets 20 miles per gallon in the city and 28 on the highway. As measured by a device the magazine attaches to engines, it got 28 on the highway, but only 12.3 in city driving conditions.
Champion calls that a “huge” disappointment: “You’re gonna be putting almost twice as much gasoline in the car as you thought you would.”
He adds that the EPA’s city numbers were off in almost every vehicle Consumer Reports tested last year. The EPA rated the Ford Focus sedan at 26; Consumer Reports got 17. The Toyota Camry? EPA got 24. Consumer Reports, 16. The Chevy Trailblazer EXT: 15 as opposed to 9.
But, points out Koeppen, some of the most startling differences were found in hybrids.
For instance, the popular Toyota Prius, which the EPA estimates gets 60 miles per gallon in city driving, only got 35 when the magazine put it to the test.