Consumer Watchdog Accuses Hyundai of Fudging Elantra 40 MPG Claims
December 5, 2011 12:57 PM
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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.
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.
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.
also pointed out that while automotive publication
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
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
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
In October of this year, Hyundai announced that it planned to offer a plug-in hybrid to go against the Prius called the
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RE: Who is to blame? Hyundai, EPA or both?
12/5/2011 2:21:28 PM
That's true. There is some self-certification going on that has to be policed to make sure the manufacturers follow EPA guidelines.
All manufacturers do some amount of tuning to suit the EPA tests and make their tested results look as good as possible. (although it's worth noting that new EPA test guidelines took effect a couple of years ago that are supposed to better reflect real world driving and they did indeed cause lower mileage numbers for some models) The problem is that this car seems to have a higher than average gap between tested and real-world conditions, as demonstrated by the higher than average number of complaints. It seems something else is up.
My guess would be that they are either using a different set of programming with the engine and/or transmission than the official for-sale version, as you suggested, or they did some of the things that the other Automakers (notably GM with the Cruze and Ford with the Focus) did with their high mileage variants, like using special low rolling resistance tires that don't come with the Elantra being sold on lots, and making small aerodynamic optimizations like blocking grill openings.
"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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