Few buyers expect to get the mileage that automakers advertise. The figures printed in ads and on so-called Monroney window stickers are calculated using a strict government test process that traditionally didn’t seem to have much bearing on real-world performance.
But how much is too much? That’s the question the courts were asked to decide when a group of owners decided to file a class action suit against Honda contending that their Civic hybrids were yielding just 31 mpg, not the 49 City, 51 Highway ratings the automaker promoted.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, names two plaintiffs but also covers 120,000 other owners of 2003 through 2008 Honda Civic Hybrids. While Honda dismisses the claims – it says it relied on government data, as do its competitors – and insists it has done nothing wrong, the automaker is nonetheless offering up a settlement. But not one many people seem to like.