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‘Eco’ models aren’t worth the money, study shows

Hoping to squeeze every last mile out of a gallon of gas? Automakers have been launching a flood of new “eco” models designed to do just that. But a new report warns that the minimal extra mileage isn’t worth the hefty price tag – which in some cases would require as much as 38 years of driving to recover in terms of lower fuel costs.

The new study by Consumer Reports raises questions about a variety of conventionally powered Eco models, such as Ford Focus SFE, Chevrolet Cruze Eco and Honda Civic HF. But it was also skeptical of the benefits promised by some hybrid models, such as the new Toyota Prius C which, it declares, “is fuel efficient, but not a deal.”

The problem is that the savings are offset by hefty initial premiums averaging between $500 and $800 above standard models. But in some cases, the savings on fuel may be as little as $20 per year. And, in some cases, consumers wind up sacrificing further in terms of cheaper interiors and poor road dynamics.

The Chevy Cruze Eco is a prime example, according to CR researchers. The special model undergoes some aerodynamic “tweaks,” and gets low rolling resistance tires – which add $800 to the price tag when compared to the similar Cruze LT. But even then, fuel economy increases just 1 mile per gallon, to a mid-pack 27 mpg in the City. Highway mileage jumps 4 mpg, to 40.

via Bottom Line.



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