• 466
The 2011 Hyundai Elantra (Hyundai).
It has no doubt been a banner week for Hyundai Motors at the Detroit Auto Show, hauling in two big awards for "Car of The Year," and the brand with the highest customer loyalty. But it has its detractors too.

The Korean automaker stole headlines at Detroit's auto show when its compact Elantra garnered North American Car of the Year honors--beating out new models like Toyota Camry, VW Passat and Ford Focus--to the surprise of many attendees. Then, J.D. Power released a study that ranks Hyundai first in customer retention rates among 33 automotive brands.

But the awards have rekindled debate about whether Hyundai's fuel-efficiency claims on the newly popular 2011 Elantra model meet reality.

A number of disappointed customers and advocacy organization Consumer Watchdog have expressed concerns that the company's sticker estimates of 29 miles per gallon in the city and 40 mpg on the highway are grossly exaggerated.

"Neither Hyundai or any other car company should be allowed to misrepresent its efficiency standards or dupe consumers into buying its cars," wrote Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog, in a letter last month to the Environmental Protection Agency that asks for the Elantra's fuel economy to be re-tested.

As gasoline prices have settled in at between $3.25 and $4.00 per gallon for regular, car companies have been doing everything they can to get their new cars to hit 40 mpg on the highway and to boast that fuel economy in advertising.

In a separate letter to the automaker, Consumer Watchdog demanded Hyundai remove its 40-mpg claims from its advertising campaigns, including upcoming Super Bowl commercials. The automaker stands behind its 40-mpg claim.

"We have no intention of removing our fuel economy numbers from our advertising," company spokesperson Jim Trainor said in a written response. "Simply put, the charges being made by Consumer Watchdog don't hold up."

Tests done by Consumers Union and Motor Trend recorded shortfalls from Elantra's 33-mpg combined claim by 12 and 29 percent, respectively. A recent USA Today review said that its drivers averaged 22 miles per gallon in city driving, significantly shorter than the 29-miles per gallon claim.

The Consumer Watchdog letter questioned whether the majority, if not all, of the company's self-testing took place in ECO mode mode, which modifies engine and transmission control resulting in up to 7 percent fuel savings, according to Hyundai.

In his letter to the EPA, Court cited a example of a California motorist who wrote on a message board that he was "hugely disappointed" in his 2011 Elantra because it averaged 18 or 19 miles per gallon in city driving because fuel economy drove his purchase. Rather than focus on a handful of web complaints, Hyundai said an independent JD Power survey found that Elantra owners were the happiest of any car in the compact segment when it came to fuel economy.

The EPA has not yet said whether it will investigate the complaint.



I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 466 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've seen the same thing. While I love the car, it gets nowhere near the 40 MPG mark on the highway. I thought it was only me. Now I'm seeing this. My car was brand new, the tires were properly inflated, and I was seeing the MPG avg. thing they have on the dash going up to the lower 30's tops. Sometimes well below it. We've bought a few Hyundai's so far and we're happy with them. But I had the Sonata last time and figured I'd go for the higher gas mileage and bought the smaller Elantra. If I knew then what I know now, I'd get another Sonata. And there were really good deals on Sonata's too. I didn't get anywhere near the savings on the Elantra because the dealers were selling more of those and less Sonata's. They were willing to give you a better deal on them. Like I said, I do like the car. But 40 miles highway?? I'd like to drive around with a Hyundai rep and have them show me how they're getting that. Because even at 55 mph steady driving they won't get it.
      Chris
      • 3 Years Ago
      2011 Elantra. I keep score. 476 gallons to go 15480 miles. That's 32.5 MPG average for mixed city/highway driving--more city than highway. I'm happy. Drive the limit. Keep it in ECO as much as possible. Enjoy the great sound system, the egonomics and the quality build they do in GEORGIA, USA. Hammer it an you loose MPG. Simple physics. Buy a car for economy and you get economy only if you drive for economy.
        NANCY'S MAN
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Chris
        Chris, I'm with you. The MPG test is the same one given for all automobiles. However they are made in Alabama.
          vlady1000
          • 3 Years Ago
          @NANCY'S MAN
          "Assembled", not made. We built the plant. there is a HUGE difference
      .
      • 3 Years Ago
      2012 Veloster--- 30 mpg city--- (usually closer to 34)--- and 40+ highway! LOVE THIS CAR and at under 18,500 a steal!
      thankgodikauai
      • 3 Years Ago
      buy a LEXUS or Toyota hyundais are tin cans
        micahtk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @thankgodikauai
        I have a 2012 Hyundai and it is a very good car. Much better than the Toyota I used to own. It is a far cry from a tin can.
      thankgodikauai
      • 3 Years Ago
      buy a corolla instead
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a 2004 GT and a 2006 GLS. 2004 gets 23/27 and the 2006 gets 29/36. You can't beat the 5-yr/60K bumper to bumper warranty with all the extras included, other than sister company (Kia) maybe. Maybe some of you have to sit in backed up traffic every day.
      carolkharmon
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have a 2012 Elantra and I am VERY DISAPPOINTED with the mileage. In ECO, I average in the low 20's. Had the car checked out at the dealership and there is nothing wrong with it. I did my research before buying and based on Consumer Reports' rave for this car, made my purchase. I should have bought something else.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carolkharmon
        I'm averaging low 20s as well. Per http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/31216.shtml the car averages at 380miles per tank, obviously depending how it's driven. My car barely hits 300 before it's near empty. Gas light came on yesterday with only 264 miles and around 35 in range...
        harleydavid105
        • 3 Years Ago
        @carolkharmon
        A GM or Ford.
      perfwep
      • 3 Years Ago
      Plus if we deregulated the auto industry standards in the US we could have even great fuel efficiency than we have now. The smart fortwo has a diesel engine that doesn't meet US regs that gets around 70 mpg. Maybe the US should look to deregulating the auto industry a bit.
      leeniez56
      • 3 Years Ago
      heck is there any car company the highway or city MPG accurate? They put those numbers on the windows to draw customers and meet federal standards. I was told the the EPA figures out the MPG well I want to know how they do it.
      • 3 Years Ago
      If we don't support American companies we are truly doomed! When you are old enough to collect social securty, medicare, or some other government sponsered program(and you don't necessarily have to be old) the U.S MAY still be able to finance them to help you out, but I promise you Korea, Japan, and or China will not. You need to understand that all these countries stack the deck against us selling cars in their countries. Why should we support their businesses and not our own. If GM or Ford was exagerating mileage claims, do you not think something would be done about it?
        bvaughn385
        • 3 Years Ago
        MY FRIEND THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS AN AMERICAN MADE CAR...............THEY ARE ALL USING SOME FORM OF IMPORT EITHER IN PRODUCTION, PARTS ETC.........YOUR JUST BUYING A NAME WHEN YOU BUY GM,FORD,ETC.....ALSO HONDA,KIA,HYUNDAI, TOYOTA ETC ARE FOREIGN COMPANIES BUT MAKE CARS HERE IN THIS COUNTRY EMPLOYING THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE.........LOOK AT DETROIT...THAT IS THE FUTURE IF WE CONTINUE TO BE BULLIED BY THE UNIONS.....................THATS WHY THE SMART COMPANIES HAVE HAD TO ABANDON DETROIT, PLUS LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE THERE.......DRUGS,DRUNKS AND ADDICTS SNEAKING OUT OF WORK TO DOPE UP AND THE UNIONS DO NOTHING ABOUT IT, UNIONS NOW CREATE MORE PROBLEMS THAN THEY EVER SOLVE.
        tp101056
        • 3 Years Ago
        Amen brother!!
        dhcsmc321
        • 3 Years Ago
        I used to purchase only Chrysler, Ford and GM products. But, not any more. I refuse to purchase a car that is made by union employees when these unions support the Democratic party. Obama is a disaster!
        virginia
        • 3 Years Ago
        my sonata was made in america from parts from canada,america and korea.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @virginia
          but the money made on it goes back to Korea...see the problem!???
      rams2973
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is nothing New Plus even the new Ford Focus makes this claim and it doesn't deliver
      Augie Sidari
      • 3 Years Ago
      one very important factor that determines mileage is how you drive the car. You know, like jack rabbit starts and hard breaking stops.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Augie Sidari
        That's something most people don't want to hear. Many people drive in a manner that kills fuel economy and don't want to be held responsible for it. The two test vary so much from each other, I think it does boil down to driving habits.
    • Load More Comments