Real MPG in my Focus is far lower than the manufacturer's quoted figure - why?

I bought a new Focus hatchback 1.0 EcoBoost 125 last week, lured by the 55mpg advertised by Ford and enthusiastically endorsed and claimed by the salesman. I can't get more than 43mpg, and that's on a run in 6th gear. The garage says the engine needs at least 1000 miles to bed in before the consumption will improve. I have passed the IAM test and I know how to drive economically. What I don't know is what to do. How can a manufacturer get away with this? I've spent a great deal of money on an item that simply doesn't do what it says on the tin. Can I reject the item and get a refund?

Asked on 9 August 2012 by RTH, Leeds

Answered by Honest John
43mpg is about right. We only got 41.5mpg on the launch and the real life average is 44.1mpg. In July, I tested a Fiat Punto TwinAir officially rated at 67.3mpg and that only got 46.6. Ford did not actually promise you anything. The figures are the EC test cycle figures and these are the only figures that car manufacturers are legally allowed to publicise. The advantage is they result in cars having lower annual CO2 tax than they realistically should have. For real life figures actually achieved by real people the only reliable source is
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