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Going hybrid to save cash? Read this before you sign…

  • Top automakers just can get fuel data right
  • Huge discrepancies in hybrids’ consumption data
  • Website analysed 148 000 Real MPG fuel reports

LONDON, England – Here it is, very bluntly and possibly even worse than the ongoing exhaust emissions scandal: an astonishing 98% of hybrid (petrol / battery) cars can’t match their advertised fuel-consumption, according to research

Here are some more horror figures..Some hybrids return just ONLY A THIRD of their maker’s advertised economy!

  • Plug-in models (PHEVs) short-change drivers by as much as 80mpg.
  • Mercedes-Benz, BMW and VW among worst performers.
  • HonestJohn findings based on 148 000 Real MPG UK fuel reports.

So, HonestJohn says, practically every hybrid car on sale in the UK  cannot meet its claimed fuel consumption (100% being the same as the claim).

The leading consumer-led motoring website analysed 148 000 Real MPG fuel reports submitted by UK drivers and discovered that self-charging hybrids and plug-in hybrids are the most misleading when it comes to fuel consumption: only one in 39 cars delivered its advertised MPG.


The Mercedes-Benz C-Class C350e is listed as the UK’s worst performer, achieving only 36.9% of its official fuel economy; BMW’s 3 Series 330e and Volkswagen Golf GTE are the second- and third-worst with, respectively, 37.2% and 38.1%. The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (42.5%) and BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 225xe (56.4%) complete the bottom five. found that a typical hybrid car promoted as eco-friendly and efficient in the UK will return on average 70% of its advertised MPG. The gap between advertised and on-the-road MPG is made all the more profound by the fact that fuel prices (in the UK) have risen every single day since the end of March, (2018) adding more than 8p (about R1.36) to a litre of fuel.

The Lexus GS 450h is the best hybrid in the UK for Real MPG, returning an average of 84.2%. Next is the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2WD (79.3%) followed closely by the Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-I Hybrid (77.9%). The final entries in the top five are the hybrid versions of the Kia Niro (77.4%) and Toyota C-HR (77.2%).

Real MPG was launched in 2011 after received thousands of complaints from readers that their car could not match the ‘official’ EU fuel economy figure. Published at, Real MPG invites car owners to submit how many miles/gallon their car actually does to a gallon, covering all major makes and models.


Unlike official (laboratory tested) fuel consumption figures, Real MPG gives real-life comparative data and allows car owners and buyers to see how much on-the-road fuel a vehicle really uses.

One reason new cars have performed increasingly poorly is because, since 2015, automakers have been fined if the corporate average CO2 emissions of their cars exceeded 130g/km according to MPG and CO2 laboratory tests. To avoid fines, vehicles are increasingly optimised for the laboratory at the expense of reality.

The NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) test for new cars was replaced by the Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP) in 2017. However, while the WLTP should be more reflective of real-world driving and involve longer distances and higher speeds than the old NEDC system, it will not apply (in the UK) to most new-car registrations until September 2018.


Honest John’s managing editor, Daniel Powell, told The Corner in a media release: “This is the most comprehensive study into hybrid fuel-economy yet carried out. However, while these models are advertised with lofty MPG figures that will appeal to cost-conscious drivers, our research shows that on-the-road economy is somewhat different.

“Given that car buyers are being urged to replace their petrol and diesel cars with new low-emission hybrids, we think more needs to be done to ensure drivers get a fair deal when it comes to Real MPG.”

The worst hybrid cars on sale (perhaps you have been suckered already here in SA?) in terms of disparity between claimed and Real MPG fuel economy are:

1 Mercedes-Benz C-Class C350e – 36.9%
2 BMW 3 Series 330e – 37.2%
3 Volkswagen Golf GTE – 38.1%
4) Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV – 42.5%
5 BMW 2 Series Active Tourer 225xe – 56.4%

The best hybrid cars on sale in terms of disparity between claimed and Real MPG fuel economy are:

1 Lexus GS 450h – 84.2%
2 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid 2WD – 79.3%
3 Toyota Yaris 1.5 VVT-I Hybrid- 77.9%
4) Kia Niro 1.6 GDI Hybrid – 77.4% –
5 Toyota C-HR 1.8 Hybrid – 77.2%

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