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Timpo 12-08-2011 11:56 PM

Hyundai’s Elantra 40-MPG claim might actually be 25MPG
Hyundai’s Elantra 40-MPG Claim Under Scrutiny From Consumer Watchdog
02/12/2011 | By: Jason Siu

Just when we thought absolutely nothing negative about Hyundai could hit the press, this happens. A group called Consumer Watchdog has requested that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) investigate Hyundai’s MPG claim on their popular Elantra model.

Hyundai states that the Elantra can get 29-mpg city, 40-mpg highway with a 33-mpg average, but Consumer Watchdog is claiming that the vehicle’s real-world MPG average is more in the mid-20s. Reports are coming in from Elantra owners all over that they’re having a very difficult time achieving any MPG-average in the 30s, with even USA Today tech writer Jefferson Graham reporting that he only average a disappointing 22-mpg.

Hit the jump to read the press release

Washington, D.C. — As automakers make their annual pitch for holiday sales, Consumer Watchdog has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to investigate Hyundai’s high mileage claims for its popular Elantra model (29/40 MPG city/highway, 33 MPG average).

The Elantra has attracted an unusual number of consumer complaints about real-world MPG averaging in the mid-20s, far from Hyundai’s stated average of 33, said Consumer Watchdog.

“Gasoline remains well above $3 a gallon and MPG is a key factor for car buyers, who expect to match the window-label MPG if they drive carefully,” said Judy Dugan, research director for Consumer Watchdog. “A loss of 6 or 7 miles per gallon, a conservative average for the Elantra based on tests and complaints, adds up to real money for drivers.”

The letter said, in part:
“As the holiday season commences, automakers are touting discounts and year-end deals; record-high gasoline prices for the season will make MPG a significant part of their red-bow advertising. …

“This makes the accuracy of EPA MPG estimates all the more important, to prevent any maker from marketing autos on a stated city or highway MPG that substantially misstates the result that drivers will get on the road. In general, the new EPA MPG estimates seem to comport closely to real-world results. …

“However, a notable exception to this rule has caught the attention of Consumer Watchdog. For the two most recent model years, Hyundai Motors has actively marketed its base models of the Elantra on their very high 29/40 MPG, and 33 MPG average, leaving a trail of disappointed drivers. An Edmunds online Town Hall discussion on the Elantra attracted scores of drivers who can’t, no matter how hard they try, duplicate such numbers. One very public example of this was USA Today tech writer Jefferson Graham, whose Sept. 22 article on his new Elantra expressed his disappointment that he averaged only 22 MPG, a gap that no “break-in” period seems likely to fill.

“Additionally, while Motor Trend named the 2011 Elantra Car of the Year in its class, the magazine’s on-road testers achieved only a very disappointing 26.5 MPG average, bad enough to get special note in the review. Consumers Union found similar fault in with the 2012 Elantra, a redesign. While CU’s highway mileage was 39, its city mileage, with experienced drivers who know how to drive a low-mileage auto, was only 20 MPG–very far from the listed 29 MPG. …

“Gasoline prices remain at record high levels for this season, making efficiency a top purchasing issue for consumers. Neither Hyundai for any other car company should be allowed to misrepresent its efficiency standards or dupe consumers into buying its cars. We ask you, through prompt re-testing and action as needed, to send a message to the company and the auto industry that MPG misrepresentation will not be tolerated.”

See the complete letter at:

Consumer Watchdog asked the EPA, if re-testing finds flaws with Hyundai’s original EPA-mandated tests, for fines against Hyundai and owner compensation.

“The popularity and increasing sales of the Elantra make it all the more important that drivers get the same or nearly the same results as the EPA mileage,” said Judy Dugan, research director of Consumer Watchdog. “EPA’s current MPG testing model has been close to real-world results for other high-efficiency models, so at the very least Hyundai has some hard explaining to do about the Elantra’s shortfalls.”

Meowjin 12-09-2011 12:36 AM

im 100% sure every fucking number these car producers make (whether it be japanese/korean/american/euro) have all inflated numbers.

Timpo 12-09-2011 01:33 AM

yea but EPA rating is more accurate than others though.

In Japan for example, they had this "10.15 Mode" and it wasn't nearly as accurate as real world gas now they have "JC08 Mode" to get more realistic numbers.

FerrariEnzo 12-09-2011 01:36 AM

i noticed my ET doesnt get very good MPG...

StylinRed 12-09-2011 04:20 AM

they're not driving right...

no a/c or heater; no radio;no lights;no revving; no braking; while traveling downhill and they Should replicate hyundais #s ;)

smoothie. 12-09-2011 08:32 AM

people dont seem to understand those are close to best case numbers.

i can beat the ratings for my cars in city and I have fun driving when doing that though? nope. most of the time its about a liter or two more /100km. Unless if im feeling peppy that week ;)

EvoFire 12-09-2011 09:49 AM

Its not un-possible, but you have to be careful with your driving. I got 6L/100km in a Sonata rental that wasn't broken in yet, that's approx. 39-40mpg. Given the optimistic computer, I would say 35-36mpg would be a fair number? Mind you this was humming along in heavy but moving traffic at around 70km/h. That 40mpg rating is highway only, people aren't reading the brochures properly.

Hehe 12-09-2011 11:50 AM

I think Hyundai's number is off by too much in this case?

In my E93, 2nd gen CR-V, and EX35... I have always been able to achieve a result within 10% of the advertised number. I don't think it's honest to advertise a number and such could only be achieved in lab environment or simply impossible to replicate.

I mean, I actually achieved better highway mileage in my E93 than advertised w/o even trying hard... just long non-stop drive on hwy.

If it's that hard to even match the number, sth is wrong.

LuHua 12-09-2011 01:45 PM

It's not even the highway mileage it seems? Aren't they saying that it's the city/combined mileage that's too low? So it's either Hyundai's lying about the numbers, the Americans need to go on a diet, or their traffic's messed up. I'm usually getting a touch better than the EPA ratings for my car, and you can search up reported numbers online; they're usually pretty close to the official ratings across the board.

Lomac 12-09-2011 04:19 PM

I got better MPG than Honda said was possible in my Accord while driving from Langley to Salmon Arm and back again on the Coquihalla route. True, there was very little traffic, I kept a steady speed and I had gravity on my side coming back. But considering this was within the realm of reality, I was impressed. This was also with high beams on, a 1000w stereo bumping, the heater and A/C going, and other electronic aids turned on.

And we all remember Jeremy Clarkson's Audi A8 diesel test he did on TG. He beat Audi's estimated MPG by at least 5mpg for that overall trip.

Even if Hyundai did manage to get those numbers, I don't feel it's ethically right to state that "Such and such car can get up to XX MPG." While it may be technically possible, how many people will see those numbers?

static 12-10-2011 10:31 AM

hahah that's impossible, =)

!Tigger 12-11-2011 12:56 AM

canadian standards are weird, they do it under ideal conditions with the engine OUT of the car.

Gridlock 12-11-2011 06:55 AM

^^...Um, that's not how you drive? Where do you keep your engine? ;)

!Tigger 12-11-2011 08:19 AM

not how they test it hahahaha.

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