C-Max Hybrid Owner Starts Class-Action Suit Against Ford Over MPG

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid and 2013 Ford C-Max Energi

A 2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid owner sued Ford over the 47 mpg EPA test claim.

There’s been a multitude of articles discussing owners and journalists getting less than EPA mpg with the Ford C-Max.  I first wrote about this November 18th, 2012.  The media storm hit when ConsumerReports claimed, “Tests show Ford Fusion, C-Max Hybrids don’t live up to 47-mpg claims.”  I also wrote a blog on “Understanding the Ford C-Max and EPA MPG.”  It was my attempt to help C-Max owners and prospective owners understand the EPA MPG claims better.  Now, Richard Pitkin, who bought a C-Max Hybrid October 30th, 2012 at Folsom Lake Ford in California has started a class-action suit against Ford (lawsuit here).  The suit’s complaints are: Violation of unfair business practices, Violation of false advertising laws, Violation of California’s consumer legal remedies act, Fraud, Negligent misrepresentation, and Deceit.  According to Autobloggreen, the same law firm, McCuneWright, is also the firm suing Hyundai.


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38 thoughts on “C-Max Hybrid Owner Starts Class-Action Suit Against Ford Over MPG

  1. my name is Jim I purchased a c-max and I am also having a huge problem with the mpg—to be honest I purchased the c-max because of the mpg claim of 47 around town and highway—I can be reached at jm4348@yahoo.com–thank you

    • Too funny, we just purchased a C-Max here in Canada on the weekend and here in Canada they claim that it gets 70 MPG in the city, and 69 MPG on the highway.

      I guess we will see!


  2. 34 miles is all I get with my c-max what in the world its a long way from 47 miles I think I need a refund. I traded in my Honda Fit that gave me 33 miles to the gallon.

  3. This why I like Costco–if I purchased a 50.000 diamond ring –and the next day I wanted to return it–there wouldn’t be any questions—-Ford needs to refund our money

  4. I purchased a 2013 C-Max Hybrid lat Jan 2013 and started out getting 26-27MPG new and after 2K miles I am up to a whopping 29MPG CITY here in Chicago. I have been back to the dealer several times and it seems they know Ford has a problem but are putting a concerted effort of denial and confusion putting it back on me, cold weather. If they advertised a C-Max Hybrid and said well you only get 47MPG during the summer no one would buy it but they have been setting sales records the last couple of months with the C-Max & Fusion taking advantage of consumers who like me were purchasing for the 47MPG.

    Since my dealer continues to be in denial I am filing a class action suit for Chicago against Ford and their deceptive sales practices in regards to the poor mileage I am getting.

    You can contact me at steveabrand@yahoo.com should you have any questions regarding the process or live in Chicago and want to become part of my suit.



  5. I’ve got about 2600 miles on my C-Max purchased in January. I drive about 40 miles round trip each day in the Los Angeles area. Maybe Maybe 30 of those miles are on surface streets and the other 10 or so miles are on the Freeway. My “new” car was caravaned from another dealer, and already had about 80 miles on it when I bought it. The mileage indicator was at 23 MPG at that time.

    I reset the counter when I drove the car off the the lot and today mileage indicator is 49.7 MPG. The lifetime summary is over 47MPG.

    So it can be done. I use the pulse and glide technique when driving. Easy starts until the engine kicks in, then quickly get up to about 5mph over the speed limit, then glide. Pulse, glide. Pulse, glide. Easy stops.

    • Are you just going by the dash readout or are you actually figuring it at the pump? Our readout will usually be 5 mpg more than we’re acutally getting.

  6. Hi Jon,

    Can you tell me what your outdoor temperature range was during the 1st 2600 miles or give me a location to research that in LA?

    I am trying to find a correlation between cold weather having an impact on MPG such as I have experienced. I too being a long time hybrid owner have employed the pulse & glide approach yet with little success during my 1st 2200 miles have gone from 26-28MPG to now as its a little warmer a max of 30MPG.

    The reason I am searching for more data is that some C-Max owners in the same climate areas are experiencing opposite ends of the spectrum for MPG results. Some are doing quite well and others like myself are experiencing really low MPG results which don’t make a lot of sense.

    Any help you can give me is greatly appreciated.



  7. Hi Steve

    I wouldn’t be able to tell you the temp. range in LA. I’m not well versed in Google searches, either, but I’m sure the data exists.

    I bought my C-Max SEL at the very beginning of the New Year in January. Southern California has very mild winters. On some warm days recently (maybe 80 degrees or so) I noticed the engine runs smoother and the battery charges quickly, too.

    Another observation is that on weekends, when I’m out and about on errands, my mileage will dip a point (49.7 to 49.6) or so. I gain it back and then some during the next work week. I assume this is because I’m getting in and out of the car, shutting it down multiple times throughout the day.

    At the end of last week I just ticked 49.8 MPG. This weekend it went back down to 49.6 briefly. On my ride to work today I’m comfortable back up to 49.7. My lifetime summary when I shut the car off at work today was over 48MPG.

    I believe that I’m over 2800 total miles now.

    What are your driving habits and where do you live?

  8. I don’t know if u know how to figure ur mileage. The number u are talking about is not right. When u fill up take the gallons u put in and divide by the number of miles u have driven and I know u won’t get the mileage u say u do..

  9. Sharon, I’m not interested in tracking mileage that way. The lifetime summary is good enough for me. And besides…if the car’s computer is inaccurate for computing mileage, who’s to say the car’s odometer is accurate, either?

    If you know what my actual mileage is (as compared to what the car’s computer tells me) then I’d love for you to share that with me!

    • Jon,

      Sharon is correct about her math for MPG and trusting a cars computer has been wrong in the past on many vehicles not just Ford. My only problem is most people are not getting above the 35 to 39MPG range. So in trying to nail down the particulars it would help if for one tankful of gas you followed Sharon’s example and relayed that information to us.

      Thank You


  10. I might do that, Steve, but what data exists to show that these energy monitors are in fact wrong? What are percentage variances documented with the C-max?

    • Well Jon I encourage you to do that only because numbers do not lie.

      Whether your C-Max is right on or slightly off then once you crunch the numbers per tankful you have a standard that is used across the country to confirm your findings.

      There is no data suggesting that C-Max”s have a MPG computation issue but there is plenty of data showing poor MPG numbers.

      That is what concerns me and makes me ask why is Person A getting 47MPG or above yet 70 to 90 % of C-max owners I have come across are only getting mid 30″s if they are extremely lucky?

      Further confounding these facts are that some owners are previous Hybrid owners with experience in how to drive one efficiently like myself.

      So help me and other people understand how you do so well and by confirming the numbers per tankful you can do that.

  11. Sharon, Steve, and Jon: The method Sharon describes is correct, but it isn’t correct for just one tank as described. It must be done over many fill ups because the amount of gasoline put in the tank to fill it will be different each time. To be accurate, you must use the method described by CleanMPG. Also, the car’s computer is not a bad method to get the mpg and doesn’t amount to large differences. CleanMPG reported on the difference they saw with their rented vehicle. Your C-Max may differ. see, The C-Max MPG Saga Continues at http://cmaxchat.com/?p=1675 and The Latest on the MPG Story at http://cmaxchat.com/?p=3069 for links to CleanMPG testing. Jon, your mileage is good. The steady state speed tests listed in the second blog/link may be interesting to all of you if you haven’t seen it. It would be interesting to see methodical testing of the C-Max at different temperatures. I think there is reason to believe that the C-Max does worse than the Prius when the temperature is lowered, but thus far it hasn’t been rigorously tested as far as I know.

  12. Steve…re-reading your previous posts, I see you’re having real trouble with your mileage. Next time I fill up I’ll track it manually and report back to you. On a side note…I always refuel before the tank reaches 1/4.

    In the meantime, since you’ve apparently been tracking your mileage manually, can you tell me the variance between your car’s MPG as measured by its computer/energy monitor vs. the “miles driven / gallons to fill up” method?

    • Jon thanks for the response. Craig is right about doing multiple tanks fills to get an average but I was just trying to get you to do it once to confirm your matching or close to what your seeing reported from your C-Max’s MPG as a favor to me.

      People can say what they want and I love the C-Max for all its features BUT I am really disappointed in the mileage I am getting from my C-Max. The 2010 Sonata I traded in which I owed nothing on got very close to the same MPG as the C-Max except now I have a payment :-)

      The more variances I see in the C-Max for mileage from different owners the more curious I am as to why?

  13. Just now reading Craig’s post…what you write makes sense. And gasoline temperature will vary with each fill up, too. I try to fill up in the morning when fuel has the best chance to be at its densest.

    Otherwise, I’m not too crazy about my actual mileage. To be honest, the main selling point for me on the C-Max was its super interior/head room for a reasonably small car. If my car’s MPG computer is even 10 – 15 % accurate I’m a very happy camper.

    • Jon, your computer is definitely within 10-15%! The CleanMPG test for the city driving route was 54.4 mpg on the car’s display and 52.0 actual. It’s at the bottom of this link: http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showpost.php?p=367897&postcount=213 The San Diego to Phoenix highway test was 37.2 displayed, 35.537 actual. It’s at the top of the post here: http://www.cleanmpg.com/forums/showpost.php?p=367671&postcount=167 These are 4.59% and 4.47% off respectively; pretty consistent. If your car is similar, your actual mpg should be about 5% lower than you reported above. By the way, I’m the blogger of CMaxChat.com. It may not be clear to those reading this. I’m just trying to add some useful information that is published elsewhere on this blog.

      • That San Diego city course is very similar to what I do each day. I don’t take the freeway going to work, just a long surface street where sometimes I time the lights properly. However, I do approximately 10 miles on the freeway coming home each day. I sometimes get up to 60+ mph on the freeway, but then I usually slow down quite a bit because traffic is heavy. Comparing that San Diego course with my own 49.7 MPG, it seems our MPG are similar.

        I’m really impressed with the Toyota v mileage on the same route. They kill their own estimate!

        I tried the Toyota v, but I liked the ride, feel and driver’s side roominess of the Ford better.

      • Update

        I did the math with my latest fill up and calculated 58.2 mpg. That’s compared to the car’s computer reading of 59.9 gallons.

        Plenty good for me!

        • Pretty good for anyone. Just to verify, this was the Hybrid (not Energi) SEL. For me, it seems like the mileage one gets is very dependent on the routes and way we drive.

          • I wish I was getting those mileage numbers. So confusing why some Hybrid SEL”s are doing so well with mileage and many like mine are doing so poorly?? I have tried everything and its not like its hilly terrain here in Chicago.

          • Wish I could help you, Steve. I’ve written quite a bit about how I drive.

            I do know what does not work and diminishes my mileage: short jaunts when running errands, and freeway driving.

          • Jon,

            Love the car and hate the low MPG so naturally with many other C-Maxs doing so well it bothers me. We are slowly progressing on Mileage now up to 35.2 from 26.Mpg when we 1st drove it home. But warmer weather has helped quite a bit. My wife drives through the city of Chicago so there are a lot of stoplights but she is very conscious of how to drive it properly. Hoping it keeps going up MPG wise but I don’t buy 90% of excuses given to me by the dealer so I do feel taken for a ride at times.


  14. Further to our post, like I said the dealer, Kelowna Ford Lincoln, assured us plus had a huge sign in the windshield that this C-MAX would get 71 MPG in the city and 69 MPG on the highway. We have had it over a month now and even using the ‘pulse & glide’ method of driving, the best we have ever gotten for mileage was 40.5 in the city!

    The general sales manager from Kelowna Ford Lincoln phoned me and told me if the mileage was this bad and Ford was lying that bad right in their brochures, Kelowna Ford Lincoln was not going to sell any more C-MAX’s! This we will have to see to believe as this dealership has outright lied to us about many other things when we traded off our 2010 Ford Escape and bought this 2013 Ford C-MAX. We have no faith or trust in this dealership of any kind!

    Don J Lorencz
    Kelowna, BC Canada

  15. Don, My dealer has employed some practiced techniques of delay ( Asking to wait until the car has 5 to 6K miles on it to be officially broken in ) Claiming winter gas will reduce 5 to 7MPG ( Somewhat true ) Complete denial and even blaming Ford for the mileage figures. All designed to get you to temporarily go away from the dealer and hopefully forget you purchased the vehicle for the incredible gas mileage ( It was supposed to get ) as I did.

    Further compounding my confusion on the C-Max is how do I get currently 32.5 MPG driving it using techniques like pulse & glide and driving it with optimum efficiency yet someone else can get 40 MPG or the claimed 47MPG which I have never personally seen. I even offered the dealer to take my car for a week and have the mechanic drive it to prove he can get at least 47MPG. The response was well we can’t really go to Ford until the car is officially broken in at 4 to 5K miles.

    This is such an incredible farce for Ford to be getting huge sales figures the last few months based on what I see as an inflated mileage scam.

  16. We had written on this website a month after we purchased our 2013 Ford C-Max from Kelowna Ford Lincoln in April of this year when we were promised 71 MPG in the city by Kelowna Ford Lincoln. At that time we maxed out at 45 MPG and if that was the only thing Kelowna Ford Lincoln had lied to us about we probably could have turned the other cheek as we do love the car. This was just one of many lies that was told to us.

    We are very happy today as we now have around 3000 kilometers on the car and we are averaging about 61 MPG in the city. This is over 3 times as good as our 2010 Ford Escape was doing. Like I said we do love the car, it has power to spare in the mountains and taking off from traffic lights or passing and it is loaded with bells and whistles including parking itself, seating 5 adults comfortably and tons of other options and we definitely will be purchasing another Ford C-Max, just NOT from Kelowna Ford Lincoln!

  17. The problem is in part due to the ICE Ford uses in the Cmax and the cars high drag coefficient. When driving on a highway at +65 mph the fuel efficiency drops significantly. This reflects Ford’s effort to build a more traditional (looks & ICE hp) as thier Prius killer. While the Cmax makes significant gains in terms of fuell efficiency I think Ford could have done much better.
    Toyota takes the opposite approach with the Prius. The Prius family is designed with one goal in mind. To conserve fuel.

    What really impresses me is the real world mpg of the plugin Prius and the Cmax Energi. According to the data on Fuelly the 2012 plugin Prius average MPG is 78.9 compared to 64.3 for the Energi. The difference is the result of Toyota’s decesion to use a more efficient engine and superior aerodynamics.

    • I don’t know what ICE is, but I do know that aerodynamics is not as good in the Ford and mileage will suffer at +65mph. I bought the Ford because the head and cabin room were far superior to the Toyota. It also drives a heck of a lot better, too. I lucked out, I suppose, with my driving habits as my Ford is steady at 49.9 mpg with over 4K miles.

  18. I have a 2015 Ford CMax Hybrid that I bought new just under a year ago (I live in Florida, best mileage I get is 37 mpg). The CMax is built lower to the ground than any car I have previously owned. The body is much lighter too. I had a small fender bender – a Honda hit my rear driver side – not that bad a hit & my whole rear wheel had to be replaced (that was over a month ago). Two days ago (about 9pm) I went out to get a gallon of milk at the store, I hit two potholes and front tire on the passenger side literally exploded, the wheel and tire need to be replaced (also note, please, Ford CMax does not have a spare???). The whole passenger side is bent out of shape. Ford says I just need to have my passenger tire and wheel replaced (they say Ford no longer manufactures the wheel that got ruined, so my insurance company is telling Ford to get a “refurbished” wheel and put it on my car! I just bought the car a year ago, is it an unrealistic expectation to expect Ford to provide replacement parts for a vehicle purchased just a year ago? Further, my daughter and I both see the visible bent frame on passenger side due to pot hole impact – why does the Ford dealer ignore this obvious damage, please??? We have had issues with the doors being jammed shut (unable to open rear passenger doors-we had to take into Ford several times for this issue – I have heard the exact opposite on the news where the CMax doors fly open while being driver and I understand there was a recall on that issue). I sincerely believe I have been seriously ripped off and I am looking for legal remedies please! I am supposed to pay Ford Company Finance 6 more years payment on this car – Help!

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