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Ford is responding to complaints that its gas-electric hybrids are not delivering advertised fuel economy by offering a free software upgrade that should improve their MPGs.

Many drivers reported they were unable to get close to factory fuel figures. Last fall Ford boasted that the new Fusion hybrid had an EPA combined rating of 47 MPG. The new C-Max hybrid also clocked in at 47 MPG. The Lincoln MKZ hybrid went on sale earlier this year rated at 45 MPG. Some owners joined class action law suits alleging the numbers represent false advertising on Ford’s part.

Among the new software calibration changes:

■ Hybrids will automatically remain in electric-only mode to a top speed of 85 mph., up from 62 mph

■ Active grille shutters will close in cold weather or when the air conditioner is running to warm or cool the cabin faster, allowing batteries to kick in sooner to run in electric mode.

■ Fan speed will be reduced, requiring less fuel to operate.

■ The engine will warm up 50% faster, allowing stop-start tech to work faster
 
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