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Organization claims a high number of drivers are unable to come close to mileage estimates

Most drivers know that when they buy a vehicle the estimates for fuel economy on the window stickers are just estimates. In the real world, driving the fuel economy can be much different. There has been more than the typical number of complaints about the fuel economy that Hyundai is claiming for its new Elantra.
 
Hyundai is claiming that the Elantra gets 29 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway for an combined rated of 33 mpg. The problem is that according to the higher than usual number of complaints about the efficiency of the Elantra, the real world mileage is in the mid-20 mpg range. Drivers that purchased the vehicle based in large part on the efficiency claims are understandably upset by the real world figures. 
 
 
Consumer Watchdog is asking the EPA to investigate the mileage claims for the Elantra. The letter sent to the EPA read in part:
 
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.
 
Consumer Watchdog also pointed out that while automotive publication Motor Trend named the 2012 Elantra a Car of the Year contender, the fuel economy it achieved in testing was only 26.5 mpg. That number was poor enough compared to estimates for Motor Trend to mention it in the review. The consumer organization is asking the EPA to retest the Elantra and if it finds the estimates Hyundai is giving aren't accurate to impose a fine on the automaker to compensate drivers.
 
 
One of the big selling pints of the Elantra was that the 40 mpg highway claim was for the normal model of the car whereas other automakers needed special trims to hit 40 mpg. Hyundai also has the Accent with the same 40 mpg claim. Chevy has touted a version of its Cruze, the Eco, which gets 40 mpg on the highway. Ford has a special version of the Focus with a claimed 40 mpg highway rating that is called the SFE.
 
In October of this year, Hyundai announced that it planned to offer a plug-in hybrid to go against the Prius called the Elantra Touring

Source: Consumer Watchdog



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RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By The Raven on 12/5/2011 2:17:47 PM , Rating: 3
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/how_tested.shtml
quote:
Manufacturers test their own vehicles—usually pre-production prototypes—and report the results to EPA. EPA reviews the results and confirms about 10-15 percent of them through their own tests at the National Vehicles and Fuel Emissions Laboratory.

So someone at the EPA was busy jacking off or something while these test were 'confirmed'? Or was someone paid off to look the other way? I know Hyundai may be dirty here, but it looks like we should get rid of this part of the EPA since Motortrend is doing a better job (and for free to boot).

Unless the EPA is also mucking around with the ratios then that is irrelevant. There is no "acing" of tests at the EPA from what this is saying.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By Jedi2155 on 12/6/2011 6:07:56 AM , Rating: 1
It can be extremely expensive to test so unless you want to fund the EPA to do it better.....

Not to mention that the variation between reviewers can be drastic. Just look at these comparison numbers.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Volt#Review...


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By The Raven on 12/6/2011 10:35:19 AM , Rating: 2
You do understand that you are coughing up evidence against your point right? That list you have there...it has the EPA as one of the sources. How much did you pay for all of the others? $0 I'm guessing (unless you have a C&D sub or something).

It is extremely expensive to test...if the EPA is doing it, because it seems completely unneccesary since you have all these other testers out there.

Yes the numbers are drastic since they all have different testing methods and conditions (e.g. hypermiling vs. 'normal style driving'). Reliable numbers from one of these sources is better than the dog and pony show that the EPA is putting on with their tests of prototypes.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By nolisi on 12/6/2011 6:23:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Reliable numbers from one of these sources is better than the dog and pony show that the EPA is putting on with their tests of prototypes.


These sources don't test every car out there. Just the hot ones making the front pages.

If these sources tested every car put to market, I might agree.


RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
By The Raven on 12/7/2011 1:00:31 PM , Rating: 2
What cars are you talking about? Chevy Volt is "hot"? The toyota Corolla? These are basic cars, not Lambos.

Pretty much every car out there is tested by at least someone.

That aside, assuming that the EPA's tests are as effective as this article points out, you would be better off not having the EPA running these tests and putting magic stickers on cars to potentially mislead consumers.


By Jedi2155 on 12/10/2011 6:10:12 AM , Rating: 2
I think the EPA needs to improve their testing and reporting methodology better represent the average driver.

The ultimate problem is that they report only a city, and highway for a single driver type rather than a range of values as it is in the real world. Putting in too many numbers tends to confuse the consumers, so in the end what do you really want? No number at all? A meta score from a variety of sources would be best, but as I originally pointed out, it is expensive.

The primary issue with the Hyundai it appears is that the design of the vehicle seems to do particularly well on the EPA's rather lax test which has only an average speed of 48 mph on the highway section AND the engine starts warm which has a HUGE impact on average MPG.

An example of the huge impact of warm initial temperatures is my personal experience from my 2003 Civic LX would get 40 MPG on a 40 mile 65-70 MPH high way commute, but due the huge loss required in warming the engine, it only gets an 35 MPG average. While its true, that the values can be misleading as I tend to exceed the EPA values significantly as the Civic I mentioned above is only rated at 29 MPG combined compared to my 35 MPG average (data collected over 35,000 miles and 104 fill ups), it is still useful as a base value.


"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher














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