APA's 2013 New Car Ratings now online

News Release

For immediate release

March 20, 2013

APA`s 2013 New Car Ratings now online

The Automobile Protection Association released its Lemon-Aid 2013 new car ratings today. The APA’s reviews feature Canada`s most complete information on reliability, automaker incentives, options, financing versus leasing, and safety features. The APA’s Lemon-Aid new car reviews are offered free to the public at apa.ca.

Consumers have plenty of very good vehicles to choose from in 2013, and new car sales continue to be strong in Canada, with no sign of cooling off. In the luxury car segment, the rivalry between Mercedes-Benz and BMW has launched a market share war that has resulted in very low lease payments for some models; so far, Audi, the number three German luxury make, is mostly staying out of the fray. The APA predicts that fierce competition in the luxury vehicle segment will eventually compel the major players to offer low payments on leases for their more popular vehicles. As a consequence, luxury car and SUV sales will grow as a percentage of the market in the next year, driven mainly by buyers in Central and Western Canada.

Fuel consumption fantasies

The APA says that the official fuel consumption ratings are becoming increasingly unreliable. Consumers have known for years that the government-approved fuel consumption numbers are rosier than on-the-road mileage. However, APA Director George Iny says that ratings for some of the latest redesigned vehicles border on fantasy. “The automakers and dealers promote rosy fuel consumption figures in advertising and in showrooms, but actual fuel consumption in the hands of owners is a different story." Consumers have reported to the APA that after the sale, the service department adds about 3L/100 km to the fuel consumption they were quoted at the same dealership’s showroom before the sale!

In recent road tests, the APA discovered that "Ecoboost" engines in the Ford Fusion sedan and Escape SUV are not delivering the promised fuel savings in real-world driving. In fact, the tiny 1.6L engine in the Fusion turned out to be less “Eco” than the regular 2.5L engine in a comparison test! Where possible, the APA suggests that consumers stick with the conventional, non-turbo engine over the available Ecoboost option in Ford`s vehicles. Ford`s C-Max hybrid, an otherwise excellent vehicle, also used much more fuel than its official rating of 4 L/100 km. And the all-new 2014 Mazda 6, which is rated at a very frugal 5.7L/100 km on the highway, burned fuel at almost twice that rate in daily mixed-use driving! The APA says that consumers should consider the bigger engine when choosing between the four cylinder engine and a V6 on large vehicles like the Toyota Venza. The real-world fuel savings with the harder working four will be negligible.

No free lunch

Despite expressing concern with their environmental choices, consumers are migrating into SUVs in record numbers. "It`s a real paradox," says George Iny. The APA says that to some degree, the public is being seduced by the exceptionally low highway fuel consumption numbers in the ads for new vehicles. “There’s no free lunch,” says Iny. An SUV is comfortable, with a practical hatchback body and good all-weather ability, but it cannot come close to the fuel economy of a compact car in real-world driving. That’s because it’s a heavier vehicle with much more wind resistance.

The automakers and dealers lull consumers with fantastic representations that suggest you can operate a gasoline SUV on the highway on just 6-8L/100 km of fuel. The reality is that in the mixed driving that is more typical of Canadian operation conditions, a compact or mid-size SUV will be consuming about 11-13L/100 km.

A buyer’s choice of a new vehicle has a significant impact on their energy outlay in the years to come – much more than changing driving habits or more frequent vehicle maintenance -- neither of which has the potential to deliver more than a 10 percent improvement to the average motorist. According to the APA, the solution is to stick with a compact or mid-size automobile or small van. They offer the best combination of value, comfort and economy for most shoppers. If you want to make a fuel economy play and have some disposable money, consider the Toyota Camry hybrid or Prius hybrid (non plug-in), or a VW diesel if you`re a fan of the brand and prepared to live with the higher long-term maintenance costs. All of these vehicles offer much lower fuel consumption than a comparably-priced SUV selling for the same prices.

If you’re moving out of a compact car, there are plenty of good choices, but accept the fact that your average fuel consumption will be higher, no matter what you`re told in the showroom. The Lemon-Aid reviews and the APA`s unique vehicle pricing and buying services will help you find the right vehicle at the right price.

Contacts: George Iny, Antoinette Greco
Automobile Protection Association (APA)
Tel: (514) 273-5149 email: apamontreal@apa.ca