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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