Consumer Reports: Special 'eco' car models don't pay off

Jul 16, 2012 By Jerry Hirsch

The special "eco" versions of small cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze, Ford Focus and Honda Civic don't improve fuel economy enough to be worth the extra money, according to an analysis by Consumer Reports.

The magazine said it could take as long as 38 years for the extra cost to be worthwhile, depending on the vehicle. The cars, which come equipped with special low rolling resistance tires and aerodynamic features, generally cost $500 to $800 more than fuel-efficient siblings that don't carry the "eco" label.

looked at the SFE, Chevrolet Cruze Eco and HF.

The results: Consumer Reports found that the Cruze Eco saves drivers only $20 a year in gas purchases while the Focus SFE and Civic HF save consumers $145 and $135 a year, respectively.

But the magazine said the Cruze Eco and the Focus SFE drove well, ranking "near the top of class among small sedans."

But it knocked the Civic HF, saying that it was one of the worst cars in the class.

"Braking distances are long, steering feel is vague, the ride is choppy, and cabin finish looks cheap," Consumer Reports said.

The magazine also evaluated the new C subcompact hybrid, which has been selling well. Consumer Reports said the Prius C's "stellar 37 mpg in the city is the best of any car" it has tested.

But except for and easy parking, Consumer Reports didn't like much else about the vehicle, which has a sticker price that starts at just under $19,000.

"Overall, drivers will get what they pay for," the magazine said. "This subcompact hatchback, which is related to the lackluster Toyota Yaris, suffers from a stiff ride, very noisy cabin, slow acceleration and cheap-looking interior trim."

Explore further: Indonesia passes law to tap volcano power

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Consumer Reports: Best, worst new cars for fuel economy

Jun 14, 2011

Although the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) assigns a fuel economy rating to all new vehicles, Consumer Reports magazine conducts its own independent testing. The magazine recently concluded testing on 2011 models ...

Spectrum of green cars eye LA auto show crown

Nov 16, 2011

Five environmentally friendly cars are vying for the crown of Green Car of the Year at the LA Auto Show this week -- each using different fuel or fuel combinations.

Hybrids easy on the fuel, government says

Oct 27, 2006

Hybrid automobiles by Toyota, Honda and Ford are the most fuel efficient, said the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Honda natural gas car wins LA green prize

Nov 17, 2011

The 2012 Honda Civic Natural Gas was named Green Car of the Year at the LA Auto Show on Thursday, beating finalists including European, US and other Asian carmakers. ...

Recommended for you

Indonesia passes law to tap volcano power

Aug 26, 2014

The Indonesian parliament on Tuesday passed a long-awaited law to bolster the geothermal energy industry and tap the power of the vast archipelago's scores of volcanoes.

Expert calls for nuke plant closure (Update)

Aug 25, 2014

A senior federal nuclear expert is urging regulators to shut down California's last operating nuclear plant until they can determine whether the facility's twin reactors can withstand powerful shaking from ...

Image: Testing electric propulsion

Aug 20, 2014

On Aug. 19, National Aviation Day, a lot of people are reflecting on how far aviation has come in the last century. Could this be the future – a plane with many electric motors that can hover like a helicopter ...

Where's the real value in Tesla's patent pledge?

Aug 20, 2014

With the much-anticipated arrival next month of electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla's Model S to Australian shores, it's a good time to revisit Tesla's pledge to freely share patents. ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

kevinrtrs
2 / 5 (2) Jul 17, 2012
People have always known that these cars don't pay back but they've chosen to buy and drive them anyway. At the moment they're simply a rip-off that exploits the fad of the green movement. There's nothing wrong with trying to minimize one's carbon footprint but it's surely ridiculous to go to such lengths as to enrich someone else just so as to be seen to support the green movement.