How realistic are official fuel consumption and CO2 figures for new cars?

I'm thinking of buying the new Ford Kuga PHEV 2.5. The fuel consumption figures are 201mpg and CO2 of 26g Are they serious? I’ll never achieve that, will I? What am I likely to achieve on a long trip versus just round the houses?

Asked on 22 April 2020 by John Kane

Answered by Andrew Brady
The short answer is no, you're unlikely to see those figures in the real world. Car manufacturers publish figures based on official WLTP fuel economy tests. These test a car's fuel economy in a variety of circumstances for a total of 14.5 miles. As a plug-in hybrid, the new Kuga can travel 35 miles under electric power - meaning it can complete the test almost entirely without the petrol engine starting up. As a result, the fuel economy and CO2 figures are very impressive.

In the real world, if you charge the car regularly and hardly ever travel further than its electric range, you'll find it uses very little fuel at all. That means 201mpg is certainly possible. However, as soon you've travelled beyond the electric range, the Kuga will be a lot less efficient. It becomes a big petrol SUV lugging around heavy batteries and the fuel consumption figures will reflect this.

The Kuga is too new for us to have any Real MPG data but, as an example, our readers see an average of around 64mpg from the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV: This'll depend a lot on use, though - if you cover high motorway miles and never charge it, it'll be significantly lower.
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