In the face of mounting legal challenges and ongoing complaints that the 2013 C-Max Hybrid is failing to meet its highly-touted EPA fuel economy ratings, Ford has announced a voluntary adjustment to bring those figures into closer alignment with the vehicle's real-world numbers. The revision -- which reflects an 8.5 percent overall reduction - will drop its EPA stats to 45 mpg city/40 mpg highway/43 mpg combined from the existing 47 mpg across-the-board marks. To compensate owners for this change, Ford will issue one-time "goodwill" rebates in the amount of $550 for owners and $325 to those who leased one of these compact hatchbacks.

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As part of this action, Ford and the EPA plan to enact changes in the methodology used to generate fuel economy ratings for hybrid vehicles. Because they share common platform and powertrain elements, the C-Max and Ford Fusion Hybrid were treated as one "family" under current EPA General Label regulations that have been in place since the 1970s and both received identical fuel economy figures based on that criteria. In the future, Ford says it will test and label each of these vehicles individually to ensure more realistic numbers. No changes are being made to the EPA ratings of the 2013 Fusion Hybrid, which remain at 47/47/47 mpg.

"Ford is absolutely committed to being a leader in the hybrid market and to top fuel efficiency across our lineup," said Raj Nair, group vice president, global product development. "We are taking actions with our popular C-Max Hybrid so that customers are even more satisfied with the vehicle's on-road fuel efficiency performance."

For its part, the EPA says it will work with consumer advocates, environmental organizations and auto manufacturers to propose revised fuel economy labeling regulations that ensure consumers will be provided with even more accurate fuel economy information.

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Despite any troubles it's had meeting published EPA ratings, the C-Max Hybrid has remained an extremely popular choice with purchasers. The versatile car has helped drive sales of the automaker's electrified vehicle fleet to a record high - up by 392 percent during the first seven months of the year. To help improve overall mileage of the 2014 C-Max Hybrid - particularly at freeway speeds - Nair also announced that it will benefit from several focused changes including more efficient transmission gearing, several minor aerodynamic enhancements and the use of a new lower-friction engine oil. Even with the mileage cut, the C-Max's combined mpg rating still bests that of the Toyota Prius v wagon.

Other Hybrid Vehicles...

The 2014 Honda Accord Hybrid goes on sale here this fall

The Subaru XV Crosstrek will introduce a hybrid variant for 2014

Toyota and Lexus hybrid sales now top over 5 million worldwide


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