During the unveiling of the Hyundai Elantra GT at the Chicago Auto Show, the message was the following: This car is lighter than its competitors, cars like the Mazda3, Ford Focus and the Volkswagen Golf, and therefore it gets decent fuel economy.

Hyundai CEO John Krafcik pointedly mentioned that a lot of vehicles these days – from Hyundai and other automakers – get 40 miles per gallon, even though the Elantra GT is rated at only 39 mpg on the highway. The big 4-0 remains an important psychological barrier that's often highlighted in advertising, so we asked Krafcik if he and the engineers are happy with 39 mpg. He said, "I'm sure they were hoping for [40], but that 39 is still best in class and that's pretty good." He added:

There's a slew of vehicles that get over 40 miles per gallon. That car (the GT) is a little bit heavier. It's got a bit more stuff on it so we had a sense that it was going to be a challenge to get to 40, but the difference between 39 and 40 is two percent, it's not a whole heck of a lot.

Krafcik's right, of course, that the one mpg difference isn't that big of a deal. Does it matter to you?


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 42 Comments
      PR
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think it is so awesome that a CEO is being called upon to defend a 39 MPG highway rating because it isn't 40+ mpg!
      marcopolo
      • 3 Years Ago
      I realise that fuel mileages are of immense interest to certain readers. However, it can become obsessive! Law suits, bitter complaints that the advertised average fuel mileage was 2 mpg inaccurate etc, are pretty trivial. Obviously, if the mileage is much lower, then the vehicle should be remedied by the manufacturer. However, lot of things can alter a vehicles performance, all of which are beyond the manufactures capacity to foresee. The saving when translated into money terms must be relatively tiny., (less than $100 p.a.) now is that really worth getting so upset about?
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        I agree. Calling a manufacturer a "liar" because your experience cannot replicate EPA-mandated testing procedures is quite childish. Simply acknowledge (as the EPA does) that there a various differences in driving styles and conditions that can lead to quite dramatic deviations from the EPA estimates. I'm as shocked as anyone that my lead-footed style typically matches up with what the EPA numbers predict...
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @marcopolo
        I largely agree, but I think the Civic hybrid thing has people a bit on edge, and although I Am a shameless tool of corporate America, that lawsuit didn't bother me in that it seems Honda hat giveth, then tooketh away... Tooketh?
      NightFlight
      • 2 Years Ago
      Problem is, no one can duplicate that Hyundai mileage. They fail miserably in the real world Probably average 29mpg, not 39.
      Nick
      • 3 Years Ago
      Does that translate to 27mpg real world?
        Mary Keana
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Nick
        Not that bad, but Consumer Reports just put cars with 40mpg claims to the test. Civic Hybrid rated 44, averaged 50 mpg for a +6 Civic LX rated 39, averaged 47 for a +8 Civic EX rated 39, averaged 43 for a +4 Fiesta SE rated 39, averaged 45 for a +6 CR-Z rated 37, averaged 45 for a +8 Hyundai Accent rated 40, averaged 39 for a -1
      DRstrangelove
      • 3 Years Ago
      Who cares, real world mileage is much higher. http://www.popularmechanics.com/cm/popularmechanics/images/7W/40-mpg-04-0212-de.jpg
        Letstakeawalk
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DRstrangelove
        Consumer Reports got nearly 40mpg hwy in their tests, they called it "very impressive". http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/video-hub/cars/sedans--hatchbacks/hyundai-elantra-review/14684540001/719043128001/
        JeremyD
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DRstrangelove
        WTF... ok that BS, my 2012 gets nothing close to those numbers... and thats in the real, real world. I think mine is busted though...
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JeremyD
          I think it's safe to say that your Elantra is the one with the issue, since you're the one who has such significantly different results. Reviews and tests from many different sources all back up the 40mpg and up potential. Take your back to the dealer, and get it checked out. Ask hard questions. Then, maybe invoke the Lemon Law. But please stop saying other people's results aren't possible, when we've already established reasons (like your altitude) that may be playing a factor in your vehicle's performance. Popular Mechanics was able to get up to 50mpg in their testing (at 55mph), and found that the y got really close to 40mpg even when driving speeds of 70mph.
          JeremyD
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JeremyD
          Im telling it how it is Letstakeawalk, from personal experience.The altitude argument, though valid, only seems to effect the Elantra to such extremes. Like I said, compare real world results on fuelly. 29.6 mpg average... Looks like everyone else's Elantra is busted too. And no, you CANNOT get 47mpg in one, period, end of story... perhaps PM tested going down a hill. I dont mean to disrespect, but I own one, you dont, neither does PM.
          JeremyD
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JeremyD
          I have baselines that I am comparing the Elantra to which would be any other car I have ever owned: 2003 BMW 325i, 2010 Fusion Hybrid, 2001 Toyota Celica GTS, 1992 Subaru SVX, 1997 Lexus ES300 and my current Cruze ECO. In all of these cars I have had no problem beating EPA numbers, highway and city... the Elantra is a wonderful car, but I feel a bit on the fence as to whether the car is the problem, or Hyundai's claims are exaggerated mpg claims. Either way, I dont agree with my Monroney sticker. Consider another source: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?action=mpgData&vehicleID=31216&browser=true&details=on relative to: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/mpg/MPG.do?action=mpgData&vehicleID=30989&browser=true&details=on
          JeremyD
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JeremyD
          47.6mpg in an Elantra no way in hell... NO WAY. I get 12 less AT BEST... I tested it myself 50/55/60/65mph, check out fuelly... just no way! Im calling shenanigans on this, either mine has a MAJOR problem or this is BS. Altitude can't make a 30% difference in MPG highway... pissed. >:(
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JeremyD
          "And no, you CANNOT get 47mpg in one, period, end of story... perhaps PM tested going down a hill. I dont mean to disrespect, but I own one, you dont, neither does PM." So, you're calling PM liars? That's you're prerogative, I suppose. My experience, while not one of ownership, was one in which I spent several days driving cross-country, on Interstates, across a mountain range, at average speeds of 80mph for five hour stretches. I got 34mpg doing so. That's why I have no problem accepting that driven carefully, 40mpg in an Elantra is a cinch. It's also why I think if you can't do any better than 35mpg in your own car, there's either something wrong with your car or how you're figuring your mpg. Maybe you're doing way too much idling in traffic, or letting the car warm up too long...
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JeremyD
          http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1072602_2012-hyundai-elantra-2012-ford-focus-sfe-get-40-mpg-real-world-says-popular-mechanics
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @JeremyD
          In response to fuelly, I'm not sure we can trust what these people are saying. This guys claims an average 14.9mpg. http://www.fuelly.com/driver/spart/elantra That's clearly defective, or erroneous info.
        RoyEMunson
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DRstrangelove
        http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/oneyear/sedans/1111_2012_hyundai_elantra_update_1/ 25.6mpg average in real world, long term use... even worse than my current average of 27mpg
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @RoyEMunson
          There's probably a really high city bias in their driving style. That would bring the combined average down easily. But also notice that there are plenty of comments explaining how easy it is to get good highway mileage... It boils down to driving style and type.
          JeremyD
          • 3 Years Ago
          @RoyEMunson
          Roy... same boat. Must be altitude or your driving habits right... : /
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @DRstrangelove
        Just get these damn cars, put an exact amount of gas in them, drive at 65mph, let them run out, do math. Repeat, but have a fixed stop and go course. Do math. Post results, state, 'your mileage may vary.' for more disclosure, film the car, the gas going in, and it running out of gas. On my Fords I hAve been at or above the mileage. The GM's were about 2mpg lower ( although they had claimed a bit higher). Toyota (for me) was about spot on (although a change of tires ruined it), and the Subaru was good, but the most trouble prone car I ever had. Disclosure - I do not try to hyper mile, but I get 80,000 - 85,000 miles out of tires.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @EZEE
          "Just get these damn cars, put an exact amount of gas in them, drive at 65mph, let them run out, do math." That's what I did, except at 80mph. 34mpg all all day long. Great car.
      winc06
      • 3 Years Ago
      It seems to me that worrying about highway mileage figures is almost irrelevant. Probably 80 percent of all miles driven are stop and go. That is why owners of small, light cars, diesels and hybrids are happy campers. Prius/Ford style hybrid owners are even happier because their best mileage is in the city cycle where most driving is done.All the expensive trickery to get the highway mileage up 3 or 4 mpg does not get much real world payoff.
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @winc06
        much of the highway mileage is tall overdrive gears? Nothing wrong with that, and it does inflate the mileage in an honest way, but agree - the city mileage is the important number. It occurred to me...the aero has less affect In The city as well (sorry Dan).
        Nick
        • 3 Years Ago
        @winc06
        Yep, and many freeways going through urban areas are packed with stop and go traffic anyway. City mpg is way more important.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Better not claim more MPG than it really gets. As gas prices rise, people are going to get cranky and sue if they are not getting the MPG and feel they were deceived.
      Aaron Schwarz
      • 3 Years Ago
      If 1 MPG one way or the other is not that hard, then what is the problem with getting 50MPG real word for a safe compact gas powered sedan? We have come a long way with technology over than last 20 years, but sadly fuel efficiency was never a priority it seems. They claim 39MPG, but I tell you what, real world, it will likely get less then that. Toyota sold me a Prius they claimed would get better than 50MPG's back then, and in reality it gets something like 46.5MPG's overall real world. If hyundai claims 39MPG I bet it will get 35MPV average or less in the real world!
        EZEE
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Aaron Schwarz
        asshat....LOL I had an Escape Hybrid, and I did as well or better, but I was working at the hypermiling thing, so difficult to judge. I think driving style affects hybrids more than with straight up ICE's. Not sure about the Prius, but soon as I turned the air on, there came in the ICE as well. Every little thing made a difference. I am not doubting your mileage, however I wonder if a few minor adjustment T's to driving style would have gotten you to crack the 50mpg mark. Or more,
        DRstrangelove
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Aaron Schwarz
        Thats your own fault for driving like an asshat.
      rjstanford
      • 3 Years Ago
      The real issue is the way that we measure economy - its not apparent that the difference between 39 and 40mpg is less significant than the difference between 9 and 10mpg. If we did it in the global l/100km, the former would be going from 6.03 -> 5.88 as opposed to going from 26.13->23.52, a much more significant change.
      NightFlight
      • 2 Years Ago
      Problem is, no one can duplicate that Hyundai mileage. They fail miserably in the real world Probably average 29mpg, not 39.
      JeremyD
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah Im gonna chime in here too... Just wondering, did Hyundai call this one in to the EPA or did the EPA test it themselves?
        mapoftazifosho
        • 3 Years Ago
        @JeremyD
        EPA doesn't test anything themselves...they don't have the budget for that...
          PeterScott
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          EPA does test, but just a minority of cars: http://www.caranddriver.com/features/the-truth-about-epa-city-highway-mpg-estimates "just 18 of the EPA’s 17,000 employees work in the automobile-testing department in Ann Arbor, Michigan, examining 200 to 250 vehicles a year, or roughly 15 percent of new models. As to that other 85 percent, the EPA takes automakers at their word—without any testing—accepting submitted results as accurate."
          Nick
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          PeterScott Thanks for the info. If that's true, that's a real slap in the face of consumers. If the EPA just takes the automaker's word for true, then it's WORTHLESS.
          PR
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          The EPA should select the Hyundai Elantra as one of these vehicles they test themselves.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          Wow, how effective is our govt..
          Letstakeawalk
          • 3 Years Ago
          @mapoftazifosho
          Why not test one yourself? It's only about $50 to rent one for the day, including the cost of a tank of gas when you return it. Why believe anyone except yourself? I've driven Elantras, and I posted my results above...
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 3 Years Ago
      Dan wouldn't agree.
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