I have had many Ford products (Festivas, Escorts and Contours) and have always been able to exceed EPA ratings without going to the extremes that I have been more recently.
The Metros definately have not been rated too low
Two Metros ago, I had a base model with Platinum +4s, custom ram air and ran synthetic...I averaged 45 MPG over a four month period. I sold this one on ebay to someone in NY.(nice car, let it go because I got good coin for it)...that one had 155 tires on it and didn't have a problem being overgeared.
Believe its my 49hp rating and final drive gear ratio with the combination of the 155 tires that 'overgear' my car for city and hilly driving conditions. Think my engine is struggling more than it has to.
I will have to check out my speedo/odometer to see how much it is off.