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Carmakers slammed for ‘unrealistic’ fuel claims

Independent tests carried by the independent consumer company found that 98% of the cars tested couldn’t match or beat their miles per gallon (mpg) claims.

In total, 200 new cars were tested across 2013 and 2014 with all but three of them falling short of their official mpg figures by 13% on average, resulting in drivers spending £133 more a year on fuel.

The car that performed worst compared to its official mpg figure was the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, which according to Which? overstated its mpg by 120%, costing £459 a year in unexpected fuel costs.

However the car that is likely to hit its owners’ pockets the hardest was the Jeep Grand Cherokee – based on Which? tests, drivers will shell out up to £854 a year more on fuel. Other cars that will cost owners a lot more to fuel are the BMW 4 Series Gran Coupé (£421), BMW X4 (£419) and Volvo V60 Plug-In Hybrid (£352).

As a result Which? is calling for the fuel efficiency test to be updated.

An improved test, which closely mirrors the one used by Which?, is due to be introduced from 2017, but the European Commission is facing heavy pressure from the car industry to delay this change until 2020 and any further delay will only end up costing consumers. Which? is urging the EC to stand firm and implement the new test in 2017 as planned.

Commenting on the news, RAC Business spokesman Simon Peevers said: “Businesses will be rightly concerned that the MPG figures highlighted in these tests are so wide of the mark as it suggests the current procedure is clearly not reflective of real world driving.

“Research carried out during Q1 among 1,000 business decision makers by RAC Business, showed that fuel economy was the top priority when acquiring new vehicles for almost half, 44%, of those surveyed.

“That decision will be heavily influenced by the MPG stats issued by manufacturers and could even impact on budget forecasts for fuel if they can’t make the numbers, or anywhere near what’s been claimed.”

“This is not good for either business drivers, fleet managers or the manufacturer and therefore needs to be rectified as soon as possible.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.