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Ford to lower MPG rating of popular C-Max Hybrid

2013 Ford C-Max Hybrid

 (© 2011 Ford Motor Company)

Ford is voluntarily lowering the fuel economy rating of its popular C-Max Hybrid after reports that it wasn’t living up to its EPA rating of 47 mpg in the real world.

The 2014 cars will instead be rated at 43 mpg combined, 1 mpg higher than its closest competitor, the Toyota Prius V.

Ford faulted the way the cars were tested for the discrepancy, but maintains that the five-door hatchback C-Max is capable of delivering fuel economy in excess of the 47 mpg rating. On a statement posted to its media website, the company said that testing procedures allowed it to group the C-Max with the Ford Fusion Hybrid, which uses the same powertrain, but is a larger, four-door sedan.

Nevertheless, the automaker will pay existing owners $550 to make up for the difference in fuel costs, and send people leasing the car a check for $325. A total of 36,349 vehicles are affected, according to the Associated Press.

The automaker currently faces several lawsuits filed by owners upset that their cars did not deliver the promised fuel economy.

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Ford has not yet said if the plug-in hybrid C-Max Energi will be affected by its review.