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Magazine takes turbos to task

We're living in the age of turbos, right? It's a signature technology in the effort to squeeze more fuel economy out of internal combustion engines without sacrificing performance.

But Consumer Reports dropped a fly in the turbo party punch bowl when it said its tests of turbocharged cars from Ford and General Motors didn't support the companies' claims about fuel economy and performance.

The magazine's tests of Ford's 2013 Fusion with a 1.6-liter turbo found the car to be slower and less fuel-efficient than standard four-cylinder cars such as the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. While the Chevrolet Cruze compact with a 1.4-liter turbo is slightly faster than one with a standard 1.8-liter engine, the fuel economy is no better, Consumer Reports said.

"While these engines may look better on paper with impressive EPA numbers, in reality they are often slower and less fuel efficient than larger four- and six-cylinder engines," said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports' head of automotive testing.

A GM spokesman said the Cruze turbo has "better acceleration across the rpm range, making for a more fun to drive car. However, if you have a heavy foot on a turbocharged engine, you're not necessarily going to see a lot of fuel economy benefits."

A Ford spokesman said: "We cannot answer for how Consumer Reports tested the Fusion, but its findings are not consistent with our internal and external feedback."

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