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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    Consumer Group Calls Out Hyundai's 40 MPG Elantra

    The Hyundai Elantra is one of the highest rated vehicles in it's class for MPG, with the car receiving an EPA rating of 29 City/40 Highway. But many people can't seem to match the EPA rating and that has caused a consumer group to take action.

    Consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog announced this week that it will be urging the EPA to re-test the Elantra due to complaints from consumers about the MPG.

    “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 in a statement.

    Hyundai rates the Elantra at 33 MPG combined. However, reviewers and people have seen lower numbers.

    When asked for comment, Hyundai pointed to the J.D. Power APEAL study showing that, "Elantra owners are the happiest in the entire compact segment competitive set in terms of fuel economy." Hyundai also said that real-world fuel economy results often differ from EPA results.

    Source: Autoblog, Consumer Watchdog

    Press Release and Letter To The EPA is on Page 2

    Consumer Watchdog Urges EPA to Re-Test Elantra 40 MPG Claim, Hold Hyundai to Account


    Consumers Seeking Best-MPG Car Get Much Less From Elantra, Say Drivers, Testing Groups

    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: http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/resources/ltrepaelantra11292011.pdf

    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.”

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    User Feedback

    I get better than stated by GM for my Cruze Eco. When I drive as flog on it, I get as low as 36 to 37 mpg which includes 60% to 70% city driving. When I am on the interstate doing 65 mph to 75 mph with the AC on, plus have a full load (kids, luggage, etc.), I get 42 mpg. When I am careful to go the speed limit on the highway and minimize my AC usage I get 50+ mpg.

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    I got 51mpg and 49mpg in a Cruze Eco on two long trips. The second time I had two additional people and a trunk full of luggage.

    Maybe I need to think of one of these "for the fleet"

    There are some other vehicles that don't get the advertised mileage in real-world situations, as well.

    Such as...?

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    I find the EPA's mpg figures to be consistent. You might exceed the rating, you might be well below -- it all depends on your commute and driving patterns. It's pointless to compare "real-world" mpg among different drivers and different routes, so the EPA tests are the most accurate way of comparing apples-to-apples to assess how a car does RELATIVE to other vehicles.

    That said, what I get on my weekday commute is very close to the EPA's combined rating: I got 22 mpg in the Passat and now I get 30 mpg in the Focus (officially 26 city, 36 hwy, 30 combined). If I lived in rural PA, I may well get 43 mpg.

    Edited by pow

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    If its pointless why does the official EPA site do just that and why did they revise the ratings and testing procedures to negatively impact those old ratings? It's just another way for the Feds to manipulate the auto industry :2cents:

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    That's funny. Sue-happy Americans are unhappy with the low bar set by the EPA, whereas I've heard no complaints in Canada where our fuel economy estimates are much higher for the same vehicles...

    eg. 42 us mpg highway for my Cruze Eco according to the EPA, 4.6 L/100km (51 us mpg / 61 imperial mpg) according to the Canadian gov't. My real-world best was somewhere in between, at 5.0 L/100km (47 us mpg).

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