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Eco models not worth it - report

2012-06-04 08:43

IS THE ECO BADGE WORTH IT?: According to Consumer Reports, cars such as the Prius c (pictured above) may be appealing in theory but will only earn you marginal savings compared to models without an "eco" badge.

The special "eco" versions of vehicles such as the Chevrolet Cruze Eco, Ford Focus SFE and Honda Civic HF don't improve fuel economy enough to justify a high price tag, according to an analysis by Consumer Reports.

The vehicles, which come equipped with special low-rolling resistance tyres and aerodynamic features, generally cost  R4310 to R6897 more in the US than fuel-efficient siblings which don't carry the "eco" label.

The Detroit News reports that it could take as long as 38 years for the extra cost to be worthwhile.


Consumer Reports found that the Cruze Eco saves drivers only R172 a year in fuel purchases while the Focus SFE and Civic HF save consumers R1250 and R1163 a year respectively.

The report also said the Cruze Eco and the Focus SFE drove well, ranking "near the top of class among small sedans”.

Consumer Reports said the Civic HF is one of the worst cars in its class: "Braking distances are long, steering feel is vague, the ride is choppy, and cabin finish looks cheap,"

The magazine evaluated the new Toyota Prius C sub-compact hybrid and said the "stellar 6.3 litres/100km (claimed 4.7 litres/100km) in the city is the best of any car".  Great fuel economy and easy to park were its only selling points as Consumer Reports didn't like much else about the vehicle, which retails in the US for R163 800.

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

Do you think Consumer Reports is correct? Tell us your views in the Readers' Views below.


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