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Hyundai Elantra

Revised Numbers from Hyundai  (Source: Hyundai)
Millions to be paid out to owners over misleading claims

Back in December of 2011, Consumer Watchdog called on the EPA to investigate Hyundai over its fuel economy claims. According to Consumer Watchdog, Hyundai claimed that its Elantra was good for 29 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on highway. The problem the organization had with the claims is that it received a higher than usual number of complaints that real-world mileage was in the mid-20 mpg range.

The EPA did investigate Hyundai for misleading mileage claims as well as Kia, and changes in fuel economy estimates are coming as a result of the investigation. Both Kia and Hyundai will be lowering the fuel economy estimates on the majority of their 2012 to 2013 models after EPA testing discovered discrepancies between its data and the company's data.

Hyundai and Kia admitted to overstating the estimated fuel economy on window stickers of about 900,000 vehicles sold since late 2010. The two automakers will reportedly spend millions of dollars to compensate owners for faulty claims of economy.

Hyundai will also have to retract its widely used claim that it leads the industry with four vehicle models able to get 40 mpg on the highway. That statement will be retracted because estimated highway economy on the 2013 Accent, Veloster, and Elantra are being reduced to below 40 mpg.
Some of the biggest losers include the Hyundai Accent and the all-new, redesigned 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe. The Accent saw its 30/40/33 (city/highway/combined) rating drop to 28/37/31. The Santa Fe Sport (2WD) saw a huge drop in its highway rating, going from 21/31/25 (city/highway/combined) to 20/27/23.
Many of the mileage adjustments take Hyundai models from being class leaders to either middle-of-the-pack or lower.

On the Kia side of things, the Soul took the biggest hit as it saw its highway numbers drop by 6 mpg (35 mpg highway to 29 mpg highway).
Overstating fuel efficiency is a significant blunder by the two car companies because gas prices are up, and many people are shopping based on fuel economy claims by the manufacturer. The EPA notes that window sticker values have previously been reduced on only two vehicles sense 2000, so that makes Hyundai’s folly even more egregious.

"Given the importance of fuel efficiency to all of us, we're extremely sorry about these errors," said Hyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik. "We're going to make this right."

Krafcik blamed the inaccurate fuel efficiency claims on "procedural errors" in the fuel-economy testing methodology the company used. Hyundai-Kia's combined fleetwide fuel economy average declined from 27 MPG to 26 mpg for the 2012 model year working out to about a 3% reduction.

Krafcik added, "We've identified the source of the discrepancies between our prior testing method and the EPA's recommended approach."

Sources: Detroit News, Hyundai, Kia

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This is dumb
By chµck on 11/2/2012 9:17:45 AM , Rating: 1
This is dumb because there's so much pressure for the car companies to magically improve mileage and because the majority of drivers don't realize that they don't need to go from 0-60 as fast as the car will do it.

RE: This is dumb
By Dr of crap on 11/2/2012 9:21:22 AM , Rating: 2
WHAT ????
Are you saying all those passing me on the 60 mph road I drive on and they're doing 70mph AREN'T getting good MPGs, even in their SUVs ??????

/that was a joke in case you were wondering/

RE: This is dumb
By Spuke on 11/2/2012 9:43:28 AM , Rating: 2
"Given the importance of fuel efficiency to all of us, we're extremely sorry about these errors," said Hyundai Motor America President and CEO John Krafcik. "We're going to make this right."
Which means they'll increase the cost of their cars so that they CAN meet those fuel economy standards. I wonder how many others will be "caught" overstating their numbers?

RE: This is dumb
By Targon on 11/2/12, Rating: 0
RE: This is dumb
By Solandri on 11/2/2012 12:29:39 PM , Rating: 5
but it is an issue that the EPA testing does not properly test for real world use.

Once again, the EPA mileage estimates are not predictions of the real world fuel mileage that you will get while driving the vehicle. There's too much driver-to-driver variance to even begin to accurately estimate "real world" mileage.

The purpose of the EPA mileage figures is to let the car buyer compare the fuel economy of different cars, knowing the numbers are derived from a consistent test run on all cars. If you're looking at a 30 MPG vehicle and a 33 MPG vehicle, you probably won't get exactly 30 and 33 MPG when you drive them. But it's a pretty good bet that when you drive the second vehicle, you'll get 10% higher MPG than when you drive the first vehicle.

RE: This is dumb
By Blight AC on 11/2/2012 1:47:44 PM , Rating: 2
Yep... in theory. However, when a car I got in 2005, rated at 22 MPG Highway consistently got 23-24 MPG with my driving, and a car I got in 2011, after the newer, "stricter and more realistic" standards were in place was rated at 33 MPG highway and I consistently get 29-31 MPG, it would seem to me that the EPA sticker is about as useless as paying extra for "undercoat sealing" at the dealer. My reasonable conclusion, was that I'd be easily getting above the highway driving MPG on my new 2012 model, since similar driving in a different vehicle netted me above highway MPG consistently.

Either way, I'm glad to see that an auto manufacturer has been taken to task for their unreasonable claims. Hopefully other auto manufacturers will see this as a call to reel in their overly generous claims.

RE: This is dumb
By darkhawk1980 on 11/5/2012 6:59:41 AM , Rating: 2
It might be to compare, but if you can't get the same numbers in reasonable driving conditions (ie mostly highway driving with a light foot), then what's the point in making the numbers? Every car that I have owned since I was 16, I have been able to achieve the EPA numbers if I drive it with a light foot. Even my most recent 2008 VW R32 gets the EPA estimated numbers if I'm not stomping on the gas (which is quite difficult not to....). If you can't reach that EPA estimated number, then there's either something wrong with the car, or the number is wrong. And it wouldn't surprise me if the numbers have been inflated by more than a few manufacturers out there. It's just Hyundai and Kia got caught.

RE: This is dumb
By DanNeely on 11/7/2012 9:38:23 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. The EPA test methods are periodically tweaked to generate results that closer match real world driving conditions. It's the CAFE numbers, which consumers never normally see, that are using an unchanged 30+ year old methodology that gives numbers ~30% higher than the EPA tests. Since the purpose of that test is only to compare relative year/year gains against regulatory targets it needs to be kept constant even though it was almost immediately proven to be unrealistic.

RE: This is dumb
By FITCamaro on 11/2/2012 11:40:02 AM , Rating: 3
Given the same vehicle they might not get AS good a mileage as you.

But at 75 mph I get 40-43 mpg. Sure I can get 55-60 mpg at 62 mph. But I'm not driving that on a 70 mph highway.

RE: This is dumb
By sprockkets on 11/2/2012 12:29:01 PM , Rating: 2
Damn, what do you drive? Lately I've gotten 31MPG out of the Mazda3 regardless of what speed I drive or accessories in use.

RE: This is dumb
By Jeffk464 on 11/2/2012 1:43:07 PM , Rating: 2
Its not all about speed, its about driving style. If your one of those guys who romps on the gas to the next cars bumper steps on the brake, then zips into the next lane and repeats over and over again, you are wiping out your mileage. Plus you will eventually cost yourself thousands of dollars in eventual accidents. Look ahead drive smoothly and your mileage goes up big time, you also can't beat cruise control. I've managed to get 25mpg in my V6 tacoma that is rated 18-22mpg.

RE: This is dumb
By ummduh on 11/2/2012 8:04:37 PM , Rating: 1

Maybe if more people enjoyed driving there would be less a-holes on the road.

Getting from point A to point B isn't the point at all. Enjoy the drive and have fun, mileage be damned!

RE: This is dumb
By Jeffk464 on 11/2/2012 9:23:23 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, because the morning heavy traffic commute to work is just so much fun.

RE: This is dumb
By NellyFromMA on 11/2/2012 11:25:50 AM , Rating: 5
Actually, this is dumb because Kia and Hyundai lied. Don't blame the company. I'd understand if NO companies could acheive similar ratings but they do, so blaming regulations is hardly a good arguement here. They cut corners, lied, and lost. Their competitors did not. End of story.

RE: This is dumb
By NellyFromMA on 11/2/2012 11:26:12 AM , Rating: 2
Lol... rather, don't blame regulations.

RE: This is dumb
By othercents on 11/2/2012 11:41:42 AM , Rating: 2
0-60 speed has nothing to do with the standardized test. The tests are created based on the same person driving the vehicle every time in the same conditions. This should give us clear results that would help buyers conclude that if they purchase vehicle A they will get X amount more or less fuel mileage than vehicle B, if they drive both vehicles the same. When a car company misstates their results the person purchasing the vehicle might make a decision to buy a vehicle that doesn't meet their needs.

I do find that the way the test are built, they are giving the best case scenario for two driving conditions instead of what would be considered normal driving behavior. It would be best if they gave best case and worse case for each driving condition. That would give the most information to the buyer prior to purchasing the vehicle.

RE: This is dumb
By Jeffk464 on 11/2/2012 1:46:02 PM , Rating: 4
Overstating fuel efficiency is a significant blunder by the two car companies because gas prices are up, and many people are shopping based on fuel economy claims by the manufacturer.

Uhm this statement makes it seem not so much as a blunder but of being intentionally crooked.

Surely not?!
By messele on 11/2/2012 9:44:18 AM , Rating: 4
What's this? Korean companies making dodgy, over-inflated claims for their products?

Nah, they wouldn't do that...

RE: Surely not?!
By MadMan007 on 11/2/2012 9:59:10 AM , Rating: 2
They probably just copied an American company.

RE: Surely not?!
By NellyFromMA on 11/2/2012 11:26:56 AM , Rating: 2
Cause American companies have never copied imports right? Please see all of the last 3 or 4 generations of American vehicles. K thx.

RE: Surely not?!
By Jeffk464 on 11/2/2012 1:52:15 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, because american companies have been so squeaky clean. If you remember right corruption in the top US banks/financial institutions brought down the whole global economy.

RE: Surely not?!
By CharonPDX on 11/2/2012 10:15:38 AM , Rating: 3
I had a '99 Hyundai that I got a (small, like $50) class-action settlement out of because they overstated the horsepower!

RE: Surely not?!
By Samus on 11/2/2012 11:06:27 AM , Rating: 1
I remember that, the Tiburon right? The ridiculous thing about HP ratings is that there are so many different conditions that affect performance (altitude, weather, fuel quality, temperature)

So unless all manufactures tested their vehicles on a cool, humid night at sea level in the Midwestern Spring with benchmark fuel, and the owner did the SAME thing, the performance could widely vary.

And since we are talking about something mechanical that has mass wear and tear, any future drag caused by accessories, increase in temperature caused by an inefficient cooling system, and any carbon built up or dirt/oil covering a sensor (like the MAF or IAT) will also affect performance widely, and it doesn't even take a year for things like this to occure in a daily driven vehicle.

MPG is another story...I've been wondering (without researching because I really don't care) how these Korean cars have been getting such high MPG ratings.

RE: Surely not?!
By sprockkets on 11/2/2012 11:37:26 AM , Rating: 2
There are, but still in general you should get something around the stated numbers. People noticed that with the RX-8 of BHP vs. stated (or crankshaft HP). Even with the expected loses it wasn't close to what it should be.

Turns out the US version has less HP due to emissions requirements, so Mazda went as far to allow people to return their RX-8 if they wanted to.

RE: Surely not?!
By bill.rookard on 11/2/2012 2:48:50 PM , Rating: 2
They had a similar issue over at Ford for the 99 Mustang Cobras - they did the right thing though by recalling it and making some changes to the intake manifold ('messy' castings), exhaust, and tune.

Of course, with a limited production of a few thousand units that's far more do-able than recalling several hundred thousand vehicles.

RE: Surely not?!
By theapparition on 11/5/2012 11:24:03 AM , Rating: 2
And repeated for the 2001-2002 Cobras, for which they never did make amends......unless you consider that they fixed the issue by adding a supercharger to the 2003-2004 "Terminator" models.

But people with the 01/02 models got screwed twice. Once because the car didn't meet it's hp goals, and again by their ridiculous depreciation. No one wants them when the 2003/2004 models were so much better.

Not much change...
By littleprince on 11/2/2012 9:44:38 AM , Rating: 2
I only glanced at the chart, but its not a significant change in numbers.

Too bad a majority of drivers I see on the road get worse than stated economy because they drive like idiots accelerating up to red lights and stop signs and tapping their brakes randomly every 2 seconds.

RE: Not much change...
By MadMan007 on 11/2/2012 9:58:33 AM , Rating: 3
Indeed. In combined driving I get higher than my car's HIGHWAY rating because I drive efficiently (car is a newer one with revised EPA methodolgy numbers).

RE: Not much change...
By othercents on 11/2/2012 11:29:22 AM , Rating: 3
I own a 2011 Elantra and I don't get anywhere near the city mileage, however my previous vehicle I was getting better than highway mileage. This is going the same distance, in the same driving conditions, and same driving style.

The issues now is that manufactures "tune" their vehicles to get great fuel efficiency during the standardized tests, however in real world conditions the vehicles don't perform as well. Add in the "extra" features of the higher end model I wouldn't be surprised if that model performs significantly worse due to weight changes in the vehicle.

I didn't expect highway mileage when I purchased the vehicle since I live in Denver and have other conditions that cause the mileage to be less, however I didn't expect a 10+mpg drop in efficiency especially comparing my previous vehicle.

I guess since I leased the vehicle I will be able to get out of my lease based on mileage used. This happened before when there was a misstatement on my Nissan.

RE: Not much change...
By invidious on 11/2/2012 11:22:08 AM , Rating: 2
Too bad for who exactly? They might think you are the idiot for driving slow, being in their way and increasing their commute times. We all use resources for things that we don't "need" to or at least don't need to use as much of. Lighting, HVAC, refrigeration, electronics, water.

Everyone has different priorities, some prefer to conserve cost/resources, some prefer to gain performance/convinience. Everyone has a different gauge of what is reasonable/acceptable.

RE: Not much change...
By Cheesew1z69 on 11/2/2012 11:48:10 AM , Rating: 1
need to use as much of. Lighting, HVAC, refrigeration, electronics, water.

RE: Not much change...
By HoosierEngineer5 on 11/2/2012 11:55:32 AM , Rating: 2
Around here, we have the opposite problem. Folks routinely drive 10 mph below the posted limit. They seem to believe that their time is of no value, along with the dozen or so other cars they are holding up. Some even get irritated when they get passed.

RE: Not much change...
By ummduh on 11/2/2012 8:09:43 PM , Rating: 2
We have that problem here too, but it's only because they're illegals. They figure if they're driving slower than everyone else that they won't get pulled over.

By Philippine Mango on 11/2/2012 12:24:02 PM , Rating: 3
The fact that the EPA allows manufacturers to test their own vehicles themselves without any supervision from the EPA only allows for the manufacturers to game the system. I knew Hyundai did some chicanery with its numbers and so has a few other automakers. Did you guys know that the EPA only tests a handful of vehicles themselves and lets the automakers test the vehicles and then send the reports to the EPA instead!?

By relztes on 11/2/2012 1:17:54 PM , Rating: 2
That'd probably require more funding, and there aren't too many congressmen who'll vote to increase the EPA's budget right now. A little random testing with stiff penalties for cheating might be good enough. Maybe they already do this?

I do hope the penalties are high enough to make this kind of cheating unprofitable. Maybe a short prison sentence for the responsible executives would do the trick. I'm not usually one to scream "lock them up for life" every time someone breaks the law, but I wouldn't mind a little more personal responsibility in corporations since we can't send the company to prison. Break the law as an individual, and you go to prison. Break the law as part of a corporation, and the company pays a small fine and promises not to do it again.

RE: EPA should be testing all of these vehicles
By dubldwn on 11/2/2012 1:27:09 PM , Rating: 2
Did you guys know that the EPA only tests a handful of vehicles themselves and lets the automakers test the vehicles and then send the reports to the EPA instead!?

No, I did not know that and I'm shocked. Is it that big of a deal to test all the cars? This is the first I've heard of this.

By Jeffk464 on 11/2/2012 1:55:09 PM , Rating: 2
Thats what I was thinking, how many new cars are there. Road and Track manages to test them all out.

By Brandon Hill on 11/2/2012 2:23:44 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, it's true. The EPA tests something like 15% of new vehicles on the market. It's up to the manufacturers to test and report the fuel economy numbers based on the EPA's guidelines.

But if you do get caught fudging the numbers, then this happens.

7.5% padding on the numbers
By spamreader1 on 11/2/2012 9:45:41 AM , Rating: 2
I could see that being driving conditions and driving style. Every vehicle I've ever owned I've gotten slightly over the stickers ratings. (1-2 mpg better, nothing earth shattering)

By sprockkets on 11/2/2012 10:34:28 AM , Rating: 2

They got 41 on the Elantra on a highway test. Whatever.

By Performance Fanboi on 11/2/2012 7:21:53 PM , Rating: 2
Nope, understating your MPG would be a blunder, nothing will convince me that this was anything but deliberate.

By dblagent on 11/3/2012 12:20:39 PM , Rating: 2
There is a large omission in this article, they are paying all the owners for the difference in fuel economy for as long as the own the car - Plus 15%. Not bad.

At least they are owning up now that they were caught lol.

By dryloch on 11/2/2012 5:36:03 PM , Rating: 1
I had a G6 Convertible that got low 20s MPG even if I drove it like my grandmother. The sticker was a complete farce. I now drive a Built in GA Kia Optima that will get close to 35 on the highway if driven right.

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