Hyundai Responds to Elantra Fuel Economy Doubts

By Matthew Askari | December 05, 2011
Consumer Watchdog, a California and Washington D.C-based nonprofit consumer watch group, is asking that the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) investigate mileage claims for the popular Hyundai Elantra. The EPA currently estimates the Elantra at 29 city, and 40 highway mpg, with an average of 33 mpg. Like most cars Hyundai makes, the Elantra is a runaway success for the Korean automaker, regularly besting perennial favorites such as the Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla in comparison tests, and taking the spotlight from the newer Chevy Cruze and very similar Kia Forte. Although part of its sterling reputation—not to mention marketing—rests upon its fuel economy, Consumer Watchdog notes that the Hyundai Elantra's real-world fuel economy is far from what estimates suggest. When asked for a comment, Hyundai responded by saying: "Real-world fuel economy results often differ from EPA label values, depending on driving conditions, amount of stop-and-go/idling, driver habits, weather, and many other factors." The company added "enthusiast magazine fuel economy reporting almost always results in lower-than-EPA results."
Hyundai also noted that Consumer Reports— which has more rigorous city drive testing than the EPA— reported receiving 20 mpg versus the EPA 29, which was still higher than competitors. "That’s better than Honda Civic at 19 mpg, Focus at 18 mpg, and Cruze at 17 mpg.  These results show rank-order consistency with the EPA results of Elantra (29), Civic (28), Focus (28), and Cruze (22)."'s take: Before we single out the Elantra, it's important to note we get to drive and test a lot of cars on a weekly basis, and we've yet to achieve EPA estimated fuel economy. On any car. It should be stated that our feet seem to find the throttle easily, but so is the case with most drivers. You'd have to really strive to hit or come close to EPA estimated mpg, and from our testing, most cars fall short of claimed efficiency, some more egregiously than others. Source: Consumer Watchdog, Hyundai