By on December 18, 2011

Sometimes the stars align. Last week’s article about the “Consumer Watchdog” Elantra fuel-economy press release had ruffled some feathers and aroused my personal curiosity regarding the Elantra’s alleged thirst. And then — wouldn’t you know it — I found myself with a chance to run South and visit a few friends. The time frame was short. Had to be there and back in 36 hours, covering about 435 miles each way. And the nice people at Enterprise were willing to rent me a 2011 Elantra for a two-day stretch at a total of $50.36.

This was my math: (900 miles/23.5 mpg) * $3.18 = $121.78. That would be the cost of running my Town Car. A mythical 40mpg Elantra plugged into the same equation would cost $71.55. Difference of $50.23. Clearly some sort of sign, right? Might as well rent the Hyundai and conduct a highly non-scientific test. Along the way, we’d ask the usual questions: How well does the Elantra hold up in rental service? Is this the class killer some people want it to be, or the mid-packer described in TTAC tests up to this point? Can’t this thing go any faster? What time is lunch?

Thursday, 1:59 PM EST, 7.8 miles: On the road just like I’d planned — and promised. My initial impressions of this 27,200-mile car hadn’t been positive. My personal experience with Hyundais of the past decade has been that they show signs of wear more readily than the equivalent Toyota or Honda, and this 2011 Elantra didn’t look to be an exception. The multiple rock strikes on the bonnet were all rusting and bubbling, the grey-fabric seats had obvious wear marks, the dashboard appeared to have some fade to it in spots, the cost-cut black paint had clearly suffered under Enterprise’s wash-it-with-a-wet-broom policy of car cleaning, and the carpet was wearing thin. On the positive side, the controls all looked and felt pretty new, including the steering wheel surfaces. Mechanically, this Elantra was in completely reasonable shape. I’d decided to mostly forego full-throttle escapades in favor of moving with traffic flow and keeping the little “Eco” light in the dashboard lit up. The old Car and Driver trick of lead-footing around Ann Arbor in a car for which they didn’t much care and then being shocked—shocked!—at the resulting mileage doesn’t have any place at TTAC, right?

Thursday, 5:15 PM EST, 209 miles: Making the run down Route 71 through Cincinnati to Louisville, the Elantra had reported an impressive 38.6 mpg running at an average 73 miles per hour. Needless to say, this is not very similar to the EPA test. My rental ride wasn’t a quiet car on the road, but it wasn’t unbearable, either. More annoyingly, my infamous 15,672-song, 160GB iPod, nicknamed “Kuang Grade Mark Eleven” for its ability to lock up pretty much every OEM iPod integration except for SYNC and UVO, had done a number on the Elantra’s USB port. Luckily, I could still use the port to charge ol’ Kuang while listening through the 1/8″ AUX jack. Sara Watkins was singing,

Wish I was in Nashville town
the sunny south you know

Actual Nashville forecast: 43 and rainy. My self-pitying reverie was interrupted by an odd Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooo noise. What the hell was that? A bad wheel bearing? It was coming from the front of the car, and it only showed itself at eighty-five miles per hour or above. Could feel it in the steering. I loaded the car a few different ways at speed to see if I could pop the noisy front wheel off… and finally I realized that the noise was being caused by a strong cross-wind. My feelings about the aerodynamic consequences of the Elantra’s mini-CLS styling were not positive at this point. On a hunch, I snuggled up to the back bumper of a tractor-trailer. This proven hypermiling technique is favored by insane Prius drivers who are willing to risk a solid airbag to the face in order to save a few pennies, but I use it as a cross-wind stability test since there is an area of strong buffeting about seven or eight feet off the trailer’s back door. Yup. The Elantra shook in these conditions like no other modern car I’ve driven. Another black mark in your copybook, Mr. Hyundai. Still, after more than three non-stop hours of driving I was neither fatigued nor annoyed. I’m still on your side, little fellow.

Thursday, 7:30 CST, 436 miles: An hour of murderous stop-and-go in Louisville had forced me to abandon my economy program and run between 85 and 95 for the Tennessee homestretch. Covering 430 miles in six and a half hours won’t exactly get me any props from Alex Roy, but that had included a rather leisurely stop for fuel and a quick jog around the gas station to keep my legs awake. The trip computer reported a solid 36.2mpg as I came to a halt south of Nashville, but the final verdict would be partially dependent on my total fuel fill numbers as well.

Friday, 1:30 CST, 468 miles: “I will see you tonight,” I told my son, and hung up. His bedtime is 9pm EST. Time to hustle.

Friday, 4:00 EST, 555 miles: Hustle, hustle, hustle, and I know I will need to be aggressive when I reach Louisville, too. This, combined with a little back-road goofing around for the amusement of my dinner companion, had resulted in what was so far the worst fuel-economy readout. I photographed it for posterity.

Even if that’s a few MPG optimistic, we are still talking about a car which easily beats 30MPG in damn-the-torpedoes driving. Time for the off-the-cuff comparisons. I like the Elantra after half a thousand miles, but it isn’t really a full-fledged freeway car in the American or European tradition. The equivalent Focus is far more confident and unshakeable at eighty or ninety, it feels more expensive and comfy inside, and it has a sniff of Euro-cachet about it. The Cruze is a boat by contrast. I’d rather drive the Cruze on a freeway trip but I’d rather own the Hyundai. My past experience with Elantras of the 2000-2002 vintage is that they are 100,000 mile cars, and that’s better than the Aveos I’ve seen. This one is probably at least a 150,000 mile car. It’s a pleasant traveling companion. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to keep an even temperature in the car, which forces me to twist the knob back and forth. Every time I do so, I imagine that my 1973 Gibson J-40, sitting in the backseat, is feeling the tiny but eventually deadly pinch of humidity change.

It occurs to me that Hyundai, as a company, could have used one more round of aggressive pricing. What I mean by that: The Elantra has always been cheap to buy, if not always cheap to own. This new car represents approximate parity with the class players, depending on how you weight your competitive chart. Had it been priced like the last Elantra, it would been an unbeatable proposition. Unfortunately, it seems to be pretty close to the Civic, Corolla, and Focus, if other TTAC reviewers’ comments on feature-adjusted pricing are correct. I would rather have seen them wait until the next round to announce that they are playing with the big boys. Oh, well. As Liz Phair sang, it’s nice to be liked, but it’s better by far to get paid.

Friday, 8:42 EST, 901 miles: Turns out that 34.0 is as bad as it got. Slow running in Ohio, combined with a relative lack of traffic, allowed the Elantra to bump back up to 35.7 overall by the time I sat down with my son to watch “Chuggington”. I’m neither sore nor particularly tired after the drive. LJK Setright once famously wrote that, for most reviewers, the faults of a car disappear after a hundred or so miles spent in the driver’s seat. After nine hundred miles, I am comfortable in the Elantra’s skin. A six-speed manual variant might serve my purposes well enough, although I would miss the Town Car’s imperial stability, perfect long-distance seating, peaceful isolation, and three-Mesa-Boogie trunk. I’d put it second place in my personal small-car pantheon, behind the Focus and ahead of the Cruze.

Saturday, 10:20 EST, 923 miles: The Elantra has taken 27.2 gallons total. It was slightly under a half-tank when I picked it up and slightly over a half-tank when I dropped it off. There’s nothing scientific about the resulting 35.5-ish MPG rating, but based on the way I drove it, the mileage and abuse the poor little car has suffered, and the entirely adequate performance from the engine and transmission, I’m giving “Consumer Watchdog” a thumbs down. Had I purchased this Elantra, I wouldn’t feel cheated in any way. They promised 40MPG under ideal conditions, and I’m getting 35-36MPG in conditions which were far from the test lab.

It’s an honest car, far from perfect, but worth a look when you go shopping. We will close with another set of lyrics from my second-favorite Nashville transplant, Miss Watkins:

You have kept my attention
And won my affection

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

116 Comments on “900 Miles And Runnin’: Searching For Truth In A Rented Elantra...”


  • avatar
    AC

    While the fuel mileage sounds impressive for rather aggressive driving, it still doesn’t change the fact that they probably fudged the numbers a bit for marketing purposes. I suspect the Elantra should have been given an MPG rating of 38-39. While this is close to 40 MPG, it limits the value of EPA ratings for comparison purposes. Why should an automaker be rewarded for adding 1-2 MPG to the ratings that doesn’t existi? Why shouldn’t the EPA, or an independent 3rd party be performing the tests?

    Has anyone noticed a pattern of underrating cars with manual transmissions? Having moved from an 08 Impreza 5 speed to an 11 Forester auto, I’ve noticed about a 2 MPG decrease in mileage. Both cars have the same EPA rating. Sure, the Forester has the old fashioned 4 speed automatic, but that should be reflected in the EPA ratings. Both seem to run at the same RPM in top gear. I suspect Subaru wanted to show a benefit to the redesigned motor in the Forester and added bit to the rating that doesn’t really exist.

    • 0 avatar
      JCraig

      You just said it doesn’t change the ‘fact’ that they ‘probably’ fudged the numbers… Your feelings that they fudged it are in no way factual. If anything this review supports their claim.

      • 0 avatar
        AC

        The review, while interesting, proves nothing more than an Elantra can be driven aggressively, yet still achieve very good fuel economy, nothing more. My feelings are based in fact, but not based on this review. If you are a Consumer Reports subscriber, you can find a list of vehicles rated at 40 MPG Hwy or less that achieve better mileage than the Elantra in their tests. Someone is fudging the numbers, or deviating from the prescribed test program.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Actually, the numbers correlate quite closely with the experience of my grand daughter who uses her 2011 Elantra automatic to commute to college for a 150-mile round trip.

        The mpg she gets, loaded down with three other teenage-girls who share the ride, is closer to 34mpg overall. But she does cruise at 85mph on US70 at an altitude of 4800ft or higher in the arid desert and has to climb over the Organ Mountain range.

        Even so, the mpg she gets with her Elantra is better than the mpg her girlfriends get with their Focus, Cobalt and Accord, essentially hand-me-downs from their parents, with lots of miles on them.

        The Elantra has nothing to be ashamed of IMO. The howling noise Jack Baruth experienced has not surfaced on my granddaughter’s Elantra and I test-drove that puppy wide-open down US54 toward El Paso, with my son (her dad) as the only passenger.

        At that altitude I was able to get 108 mph out of it with a steady headwind. At that speed mpg sucked and didn’t matter. So I didn’t measure it. On the way back I got stuck behind a State Police Crown Vic and never got over 85mph after I snuck up behind him.

        IMO the Elantra presents great value for the money, depending on how you dress it out and what trim level you choose.

    • 0 avatar
      notapreppie

      I can’t remember a time when EPA fuel economy estimates weren’t optimistic by at least 1-2 MPG. I’ve always just applied a healthy dose of caveat emptor. When did this become a “thing”?

      It’s a lot like sunblock SPF ratings: More a general ballpark figure that is affected as much by application methods and environment than chemical composition. The important thing is just to know that a sunblock with SPF 30 is about twice as good in a given situation as SPF 15. SPF 90 is about 6 times better. I’m not going to freak out if the SPF 90 tube is actually only SPF 81.

      I treat cars the same way: If I only get 38 MPG out of a 40 MPG car, then that’s less of a deviation than I expect from my sunblock and the sunblock is protecting me from CANCER.

      • 0 avatar
        AC

        Thankfully, it isn’t life or death, but good information is what makes a free market function. When the EPA revised the test a few years ago, it should have made their ratings more accurate in the real world. Yet, it seems as though ratings are still just as optimistic. Individuals rely on EPA ratings for comparative purposes, but right now they are only a little more valuable than other marketing propaganda from the car manufacturer.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      RE: manuals vs. automatics. This is gaming the system, pure and simple. You can make an automatic upshift so early that it is in 6th (7th, 8th, 9th) gear at 35mph. Great, you are turning the engine over at barely above idle. Works great on the EPA test. But as soon as you give it any throttle, it is going to downshift. Ditto making automatics with top gears so tall that breathing on the pedal causes a downshift. In the real world, you can leave a manual in a tall gear and accelerate without downshifting – wide open throttle at low rpms is quite efficient, minimizes pumping losses. You can also anticipate what is going to happen, an automatic can only react to limited inputs.

      For a real world single data point, my ’11 BMW 328i 6spd wagon was window stickered at 17/26. The automatic is rated at 18/28. I routinely get 25mpg in suburban running around, and ~30 mpg on a long trip – and I usually run 75-85mph. And I LOVE hitting that 7K redline leaving tollbooths.

      Heck, I got *25* mpg between Stuttgart and Berlin on my European Delivery trip (on a car with <1000miles on it), and per the trip computer we averaged 94mph on that 5hr drive! And the trip computer matches hand calculated mpg within .5mpg when used properly.

      Interestingly, the 2012 328i is rated 18/28 for both transmissions. BMW did not change anything mechanical with the car for 2012, so did something change with the test?

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        Also, the EPA test procedure forces ridiculous shift points on manuals, regardless of how the transmission is geared:

        1-2 at 17 mph
        2-3 at 25 mph
        3-4 at 40 mph
        4-5 at 45 mph
        5-6 at 50 mph

        For my Mazda3, they slowly accelerate to 3300 rpm in first, then barely use second before holding both third and fourth gears about 10 mph higher than necessary.

        Now you know why GM’s stupid skip-shift exists.

      • 0 avatar
        LeMansteve

        The 2012 328i is significantly different from the 2011 328i.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        @LemanSteve

        That is only true for the sedan. The wagon is still the e91 (old platform, N52 6cyl engine), and that is what I was looking at.

        If we get them in the US at all, the F31 will not be here until ’13 or ’14. The new N20 4 cyl turbo should be a good bit more efficient.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      “Has anyone noticed a pattern of underrating cars with manual transmissions?”

      Yes. Apparently for a couple of reasons. One, that car manufacturers and dealers in the States don’t seem to like selling a different tranny and appear to slowly, slowly ween the option away; and two, that said manufacturers who insist that a manual be there for the enthusiast, they assume that he/she would want heel-toe excitement the entire time or is too lazy to shift to fourth to pass and manufacture a less-steep top-gear.

      For example, my ’08 Saturn Astra XR gets better gas mileage in top gear with the Auto rather than the stick because the revs are lower at speed. A friend of mine with an ’08 Astra automatic gets consistantly 34 mpg on the highway (80 mph at 2600 rpm) where as I in fifth gear barely get 31mpg (80 mph at 3800 rpm). The revs are high enough that it causes the extra valves to open, thereby burning even more fuel, defeating the purpose of the 1.8L ECOTEC.

      For comparison, my ’95 Mustang Cobra gets 16 mpg with tight gearing built for draggin’ between stop lights. However on the highway its not uncommon that I get 27-28 mpg (80 mph at 2100 rpm) in top gear. Ford understood then that a true enthusiast in America will want off-the-line to 1/4 mile speed in a muscle car, not “hey look, I never have to shift outta fifth” power on the highway.

    • 0 avatar
      fred schumacher

      I’m pretty obsessive about keeping track of my mileage, and I’ve never gotten fuel economy as poor as the official ratings. I always get better mpg, and I don’t hypermile but just drive steadily, plan ahead, and never jackrabbit. My 1998 5-speed Neon averaged 38 mpg overall, never got less than 30 in city, and would get 42 on the highway. My 1993 Caravan 5-speed averaged 29 overall and 33 on the highway. My 2000 Forester 5-speed averages 27 overall and 32 on the highway.

      Looking through the comments, a lot of you drive very fast. I drive with the traffic when traffic is heavy, but when it is light, I prefer to stay at 62 on the highway. It’s less stressful and easier on fuel. Living in fly-over country, I consider a 500 mile one-day drive an easy jaunt, something I found myself having to do frequently. A note on making fast trips: fast driving does not make up time for long eating breaks.

    • 0 avatar
      red60r

      Impreza vs. Forester = teardrop vs. barn door. The same running gear in the Impreza sedan or wagon will get better mpg than the taller CUV. Our ’04 Forester is very sensitive to headwinds, dropping mpg into the upper teens if there is a strong wind on the front while maintaining 75 mph. The reverse is true with a following breeze.

  • avatar
    rockit

    I agree with the fact in not seeing not many Hyundai’s with high kms/miles, and the ones that have high clicks are in pretty rough shape.

    Those comments about the hood rust and interior wear is pretty troubling. (And quite frankly not surprising)

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      So typical of you to use one anecdotal editorial as solid “evidence” to back up your usual harangue about Hyundai.

      Now, not saying that Hyundai has the most solid interiors, but using the example of a rental (that gets beat upon) as “proof” is hardly well, proof.

      A larger sample size would be more accurate and thus far, it seems like Elantra owners don’t have too many complaints being awarded the “Motorist Choice Award” by AutoPacific and Intellichoice based on high owner SATISFACTION.

      And it’s as if Toyota hadn’t been repeatedly dinged by auto reviewers for their fairly shoddy interiors (poor alignment, etc.) compared to during their heyday, not to mention Honda/Acura having a problem with cracked dashboards (this isn’t to say that Hyundai is perfect or the best, but to put it in the proper context).

      Furthermore, the i40 won the EuroCarBody Golden Award, being the 1st Asian maker to win top prize – the award is regarded as the highest international accolade for body engineering and is judged by EuroCarBody’s panel as well as 500 delegates from the industry (who, I think, know more than you).

      I’m sure if Baruth had felt that the fuel economy he had gotten on his trip was subpar, you would have been all over Hyundai for that as well.

      Also, the reason why we don’t see too many Hyundais with high kms/miles is b/c Hyundai until just very recently sold a FRACTION of what Toyota and Honda had been selling in the US, plus, let’s face it, past Hyundai owners didn’t exactly take good car of their vehicles.

      In Korea, tho, you’ll see a lot of Hyundai with high KMS.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        Also, the i30 has been a popular fleet vehicle in the UK (altho, fleet in the UK is more directed towards corporate use) and in Australia, fleet managers were sad to see the Hyundai Getz go b/c it was a cheap, reliable roundabout that didn’t take much $$ to maintain or fix.

      • 0 avatar

        In Israel, a small country for sure, Mazda was the best selling car in the last 10 years or so, now it’s Hyundai, selling better than Honda and Toyota.

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        A “reliable roundabout?” A runabout maybe, unless the Hyundais are being parked and used as part of traffic signage or something?

  • avatar
    Tosh

    52, 50, 22, 20. I’ll never forget that sequence of numbers, as that’s what PSI Enterprise had inflated the tires on my Focus a few years ago. So check your tire pressures!

    • 0 avatar
      22_RE_Speedwagon

      they gave me 80 all around on an HHR. Try driving that in the rain.

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        I never worked for ERAC yet I can say that a rental car does 5-7,000 miles between services. During that time customers do whatever they think is correct to the car. Look around you when yoiu drive, do you think the public has a clue about cars? I have a little manual guage and found that customer do it themselves as they think the fat bottom of the tire means it’s low. They then come in to complain that the tire light is on. Blame the rental car companies yet there will never be a perfect fix. Turnaround is just too high. Please Check your own rental before a long trip if anything looks funky. It is your life.

      • 0 avatar
        22_RE_Speedwagon

        I just checked the folder on my computer named “angry letters” and it turns out that incident was a Chrysler Sebring from Thifty, so as not to besmirch the good name of Enterprise. I picked it up late at night in the middle of a downpour, so not much happened in the way of a pre-rental inspection on my end. The handling was downright scary.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        No traction, but hey, at least you’re less likely to hydroplane! :P

  • avatar
    david42

    Jack, what’s the official highway mpg rating for your Town Car? I don’t think anyone is surprised that the Elantra’s real-world mpg is lower than the official number… but if your TC is a recent one, then it seems that your (predicted) mpg is a lot closer to its rating than the Elantra’s actual mpg compared to its rating.

    Would be nice if someone could gather up a convoy of Elantra, Civic, Corolla, etc., and see how much they deviate from their official ratings.

    • 0 avatar
      vbofw

      Agreed, insightful stuff on the fast wear on the Hyundai. The bang for the buck with the Sonata and Elantra are pretty amazing, but these comments suggest the buyer may be getting what he’s paying for, more than initially thought.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      16/24 is the EPA rating for my 2009 Town Car.

      • 0 avatar
        Rental Man

        When a Panther came in from a long trip like a one-way FL-NY I would check the trip computer. It ususally read 25-27 MPG. Customers were always impressed.I don’t knew how accurate it is.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        I wouldn’t doubt you get/got more than 24 mpg on the highway in your Town Car. Especially the newer ones with the slip-stream styling and tall gearing on the highway. That police special V8 would barely be pumping higher than 2000 rpm at 70 rpm. Hardly turning over.

  • avatar

    Very interesting way to look at a car. The fuel mileage is impressive, but on the basis of the rust I wouldn’t consider this car unless I lived in Southern California. It brings back memories of when body rot was a normal condition in a lot of cars after five or six winters.

  • avatar
    JoelW

    Careful about reliance on the trip computer to tell you what kind of fuel economy you are getting. That typically equates to an “estimate” in and of itself in my opinion based on the system’s inputs. Best and most accurate is the good old fashioned method of dividing number of miles driven by number of gallons burned.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Best and most accurate is the good old fashioned method of dividing number of miles driven by number of gallons burned.
      That method has plenty of flaws. Gas pump shut-off mechanisms are not standardized, calibrated, scientific instruments. If you use the same pump and the car is in the same position, it might work, but most people aren’t that careful.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Doesnt matter when it shuts off, if you use the number of gallons purchased, calculated with the number of miles driven since the last purchase. Even if you only put in a few gallons you can still calculate based on that number, regardless of when the pump tells you its full.

        Just for the record though, I calculate using the miles driven compared to gallons purchased/used, and its about dead-on accurate with my trip computer every single time.

      • 0 avatar
        rpn453

        That method has plenty of flaws.

        For one fill. Averaged over two or more, the potential error becomes negligible.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        Doesnt matter when it shuts off, if you use the number of gallons purchased, calculated with the number of miles driven since the last purchase. Even if you only put in a few gallons you can still calculate based on that number

        I don’t get it? So I could drive from Boston to Buffalo, purchase a single gallon at Buffalo, then take pride in having a car that gets hundreds of miles to the gallon. You still have to calculate gas consumed somehow.

        If a car is fueled at a station/pump where the surface is flat and the next time it’s filled the car is tilted a few degrees to the right, you might be able to put more (or less) in the tank and consumption will appear to be worse or better than it actually was. Also, depending on the pressure of the pump and speed of the fuel delivery combined with the design of the filler tube, you’ll get variations as well if a certain pump causes more turbulence in the filler tube and an early click off. Then add in odometer error and it gets tough to trust that method.

        Averaging can work with an accurate odometer, but then it’s tough to determine pure highway mileage. However, I’ve used averaging to verify the calibration of the cars trip computer.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        See, I was just sitting here trying to type up an explanation, when I realized you are right, the “top” of the tank is how you determine how many gallons you consumed, so therefore there is room for errors based on when the pump shuts off. Learn something new every day… LOL

        But still, its the most accurate way we can reasonably do, and my main point was that IMO, modern trip computers seem to be pretty accurate. My Explorer was always dead on, so were a handful of rental cars I bothered to check the mileage of on long trips and such. There will always be room for errors for things you mentioned like angle of the car, heat of the day, etc, but they are negligable over time.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    So what is the net net of this little experiment? We came close to the mileage claimed, even under duress? I have an Ecotec powered Pontiac G6 that has only occasionally gotten it’s 33 MPG EPA mileage. Mostly because I never drive it much below 80 on road trips here in Michigan & Ohio.

    WRT to the rental Elantra: I rented one several years ago from Enterprise, and it was a great 50 footer. Once in the car, the steering pulled to one side, the brakes were making griding noises and the wiper blades were damned near useless. Of course, I took the car back the next day and got a different car. But the Elantra’s interior, while dirty, was screwed together well, and it had a superior seating position compared to my old J-body.

    Several days later, I went out to lunch with a bunch of people from church, they asked me to drive their Elantra. Same model, same equipment, even the same color as the rental unit. I steeled myself for a bad time driving to lunch. A civilian Elantra, not abused by careless renters, was a very nice little car to drive. The difference between the tow was night and day. I found my prejudices against the Hyundais changing as I drove this car around.

    Point of all this? I have never rented from that Enterprise location ever again.

  • avatar
    dvp cars

    ……. maybe your Setright reference was more appropriate than you realize, Jack. It doesn’t sound like any car you would buy. You may have experienced the automobile journalist variation of “Stockholm Syndrome”, forcibly confined in that Elantra for 18 out of 36 hours. Sounds like a hectic day and a half, though, and that “back road goofing around” certainly sounds intriguing.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Good work Jack, reminds me of your series on the Town Car swilling E-85.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I think the styling of the Hyundais is writing checks the engineering can’t cash. That said, people are gravitating to the new Hyundai because of that style, and because of the long list of standard features you get for the money – even with no discounts.

    People get way too hung up on the MPGs. a difference of 1 or 2 MPGs is not going to make a real difference in the running costs of a car. And there are so many variables in peoples driving styles and routes, the EPA numbers are really just a guide.

    • 0 avatar
      segfault

      Agreed, the Elantra Limited is attractively priced compared to the Civic EX-L. On the other hand, it sounds like you have to step up to a Focus (which seems to be about $1000 more than a Civic if you add heated leather and a sunroof) if you want a compact that feels solid without the Honda’s road noise and crappy interior.

    • 0 avatar
      JKC

      +10, dwford. Fuel economy is important (in some cases, at least) but it’s not the only thing to consider when buying a car. Repair costs, maintenance, and the buyer’s own personal tastes all have to be factored in, especially if the car is going to be kept for any length of time.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        …”there are so many variables in peoples driving styles and routes, the EPA numbers are really just a guide.”

        ^^^^ THIS!

        Really, a car can’t be summarized by a fuel economy number.

        Have you all really forgotten that YMMV?

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Had I purchased this Elantra, I wouldn’t feel cheated in any way.

    You’re really missing the point of the criticism.

    The issue is that the Elantra claims to have the highest mileage of any gasoline-powered non-hybrid car that is in the EPA’s midsize category. The Elantra even gets a higher mileage rating than Hyundai’s own Accent, the latter of which is classed as a compact.

    The question is whether the Elantra does substantially better than does anything else in the class. Unless Hyundai has reinvented the laws of physics, I’d have my doubts about this.

    Whether Hyundai did a great job of gaming it or lied in order to claim 40 mpg, I don’t know, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to verify the results. You certainly didn’t hit 40 mpg, so you can’t claim that Hyundai can support its case based upon your experience.

    Then again, the EPA highway cycle is not based upon prolonged steady cruising speeds, so the EPA’s idea of highway driving doesn’t match how the rest of us define it. If we want to use the test literally, then perhaps the test should be revised accordingly.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I don’t know if it needs to be “substantially” better. Most of the competition is claiming 38mpg at least. We are talking about a five percent difference.

      If Hyundai did, in fact, “game” the results, I do not care as a buyer. I care about how the car performs in my ownership, not an arbitrary number on a government test. Had the car returned 30mpg in steady-state cruising, that would be a different kettle of fish. As it happens, I got approximately 35 driving much faster than the EPA ever considered.

      Note that the Consumer Watchdog press release was based, in large part, on the assertion that the EPA results did not match what people would see on the street. Hyundai then came back with a document attesting that the Elantra’s variance from the EPA test is no greater than anyone else’s.

      The purpose of my test was simply to see what the Elantra would do in my hands. Nothing more, nothing less.

      • 0 avatar
        AC

        What if mileage were a tie-breaker between two cars you were considering? For example, someone cross shopping this with a Corolla could have chosen the Hyundai based on a better MPG rating. Yet, if Consumer Reports is to be believed, the Corolla gets about 4 more MPG overall. So, Toyota would be punished in the market for being more realistic in their ratings. Is that fair to the car manufacturer or the buyer of the car?

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Most of the competition is claiming 38mpg at least

      The Elantra is classed by the EPA as a midsize. Compared to other cars that are classed by the EPA as midsizes that run on gas and that aren’t hybrids, the Elantra is at the top of the heap.

      If Hyundai did, in fact, “game” the results, I do not care as a buyer.

      Yes, but some buyers will.

      Note that the Consumer Watchdog press release was based, in large part, on the assertion that the EPA results did not match what people would see on the street.

      It was also based on the fact that Hyundai talks up the mileage numbers.

      (Mind you, I don’t think that Harvey Rosenfeld is being completely noble here and their methodology to support their argument was flawed, but they do have a point.)

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        If thats the case, than many other automakers are just as guilty of “gaming” the results.

        There have been numerous complaints about the fuel economy of vehicles like the Nissan Juke, the Chevy Equinox, etc. and heck, there’s a class action lawsuit over the fuel economy of the Honda Civic hybrid.

  • avatar
    Thinkin...

    Fine article – people are so quick to cook Hyundai when most manufacturers are now probably adding the margin-of-error to the top of their MPG numbers. They’ve got to, since it’s now such a big marketing point. Obviously the best solution would be a fully independent testing apparatus, but until then there’s little reason to jump Hyundai any more than anyone else. As TTAC, and many here have pointed out, a much easier target would be GM violating the laws of physics with its identical Malibu + Eqinox numbers, despite a shared platform differing by 600# and a large difference in c/d x frontal area, both in the Malibu’s favor.

    Would love to see a similar test on the Cruze Eco. Jack could play with the 6-speed, and we could see just how “real world” the 42 mpg rating is. (or, as a local dealer tried to convince me: “over 50mpg easy…”)

  • avatar
    CompWizrd

    I bet the cost of the gas and rental are now tax-deductible as a work expense…

    How much of the damage on the Elantra was typical rental car abuse? Could be that someone smacked it into a curb not enough to bend anything that shows up at under 80mph.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      The chassis didn’t show any signs of abuse. While I was in Nashville I tossed it down a few roads and it tracked very well, offering a predictable, friendly loss of front-end grip down some reasonably wet and slick roads.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    You know, I can respect Hyundai, but I just cannot wrap my arms around them. The Sonata we rented for a businee trip to Chicago didn’t impress me at all.

    A friend owns a Kia Borrego and he’s having weird little electrical issues with it. We’ve rented Fortes and I liked them, but still wouldn’t buy one. At least right now.

    I’ll stick with my Chevy for now. I’ll be in real trouble when I have to replace it, but I’m sure the B&B will assist me when the time comes!

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I’ve rented several Hyundais. I hated every single one of them. That combined with my utter distaste for their styling means I won’t consider them no matter how many positive reviews I read.

  • avatar
    don1967

    My ’11 Elantra delivers consistently on the highway. 40 U.S. mpg is easily achievable at anything up to 70mph, and at a steady 50-55 my trip computer indicates 42-45 mpg.

    If there’s any “catch”, it is that the Elantra’s mpg magic is somewhat limited to the highway. In my local urban route, which is peppered with stop signs and red lights, I get around 26 mpg with a light foot and as low as 20 mpg when my Inner Baruth comes out.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Your experience points to the problem I have with the article. Driving fast on the freeway is one thing, driving around town is something very different. Driving hundreds of miles on the freeway thus doesn’t verify/disprove much. Rather, drive how & where the people who claim to get poor mpg and then compare.

      • 0 avatar
        don1967

        Granted, Jack’s test is not comprehensive. But it is unbiased, and in the end it supports the 40mpg highway claim which is what much of the hooplah is about. Are aspiring “consumer watchdogs” who go combing through hundreds of reviews in search of rake-worthy muck, instead of doing their own objective testing, any better?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        in the end it supports the 40mpg highway claim

        The only way to verify a claim is to replicate it. And he never did.

      • 0 avatar
        don1967

        The only way to verify a claim is to replicate it. And he never did.

        He did not set out to replicate the EPA test cycle or 40mpg highway rating. He set out on a high-speed 900-mile run to verify a claim by Consumer Watchdog that the Elantra falls far short of expectations in real-world driving conditions. His 35.5 mpg result under these conditions clearly supports the official 40 mpg number.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        He did not set out to replicate the EPA test cycle or 40mpg highway rating.

        I understand that. Which explains why this article misses the mark; this entire thing is based upon an apples-to-orange comparison.

        . He set out on a high-speed 900-mile run to verify a claim by Consumer Watchdog

        He never got 40 mpg. You can’t possibly claim that he proved that the car gets 40 mpg, when he never did.

        I know that you’re a Hyundai owner and fan, but your argument makes absolutely no sense. This article doesn’t prove anything, except that (a) Mr. Baruth didn’t bother to properly calculate the fuel economy and (b) he doesn’t drive in a manner that matches the EPA highway cycle.

        The way to prove that the car gets 40 mpg is to get 40 mpg. And he never did. He neither proved it nor disproved it, all he did was drive.

        You can’t use this article to support the EPA rating, or for that matter, much of anything else. If it proves anything, it’s that it isn’t possible to read comments about fuel economy on the internet and draw any reliable conclusions about it.

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    923/27.2 = 33.93 on my calculator, or am I missing something?

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    How does the Elantra compare to its sister the Kia Forte? I own a Cruze Eco and had a rental Forte recently. The Cruze is far superior to the Kia. The Kia isn’t a bad car, but it’s pretty mediocre. The Cruze is a GREAT freeway cruiser.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The Elantra is better than the Forte in most aspects since the Forte is based on the previous Elantra.

      The new Forte will debut next year and hopefully won’t get the overboosted steering that the Elantra is known for.

  • avatar
    Marko

    How was the ride quality? I have heard a few reviews describing it as unsettled, but supposedly Hyundai smoothed it out for 2012.

    • 0 avatar
      david42

      Just two days ago, I got a 2012 Elantra with 63 miles on the clock as a loaner car. Very compliant ride, even on Boston potholes. It was much smoother than my 2011 Genesis. But the Elantra isn’t much fun on the curves; the variable-boost steering is unpredictable. I haven’t driven a new Focus, which I gather is the gold standard for ride quality in its class.

      FWIW, 21 mpg (trip computer) over 10 miles of stop-and-go traffic.

      I was a little surprised that Jack found the seat so accommodating. I was uncomfortable after 30 mins. The seat cushion is short and it doesn’t tilt. Not a good combination, at least not when combined with me!

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      Having logged nearly a year in my ’11 Elantra, I do find it harsh on bumpy roads. It is also easily confused by uneven impacts… hitting a bump while cornering results in a sideways jiggle that betrays its torsion beam suspension.

      On the plus side, it feels very planted on most roads. No floating or wandering (except for some high-speed crosswind susceptibility as Jack noted, probably due in part to the light weight). It also corners with good precision and very little body roll. Driven at 80% most drivers would find it “sporty”.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Also, the interiors of the Focus and Cruze have better material than the Elantra, Corolla, Civic, etc. in part b/c the Focus and Cruze are “world models” and are designed to appeal to other markets, particularly markets which are more willing to spend $$ for a nicer interior, hence the higher price-level for the Focus and Cruze.

    The Focus and Cruze are more in line with European models like the Euro Civic, the i30, etc.

  • avatar
    NormSV650

    So a race car driver/instructor likes a 100 horsepower car that handles well? Don’t 100 HP cars handle well as they can’t get/maintain speed? That would be a rust bucket in Cleveland area road salt and I’m sure Hyundai would deny warranty because the car wasn’t waxed or some excuse.

    Only 30′s for fuel economy? Much nicer cars used that’ll push 40 mpg with more power and a nicer ride like my 2000 Saab 9-5that can see 39 calculated(not the car display).

    • 0 avatar
      gslippy

      “Don’t 100 HP cars handle well as they can’t get/maintain speed?”

      What are you talking about? I’ve owned numerous cars in this power range – and below – and all are quite capable of doing at least 100 – 120 mph.

      There is no way a 2000 9-5 is getting 39 mpg, when it’s only rated for 25 mpg highway. That’s TTAC.

      • 0 avatar
        mkirk

        My 90 Miata is around 120 hp and It handles pretty well. It’ll do 120 given enough time to get there before it runs out of gear. Careful with those old car mileage calculations. Changes in the tire size and what not can skew those calculations. I had different (non stock) size tires on my old Land Cruiser and was calculating almost 20mpg for a while. This is a vehicle that is EPA rated at 12 on the highway which I have found to be pretty much spot on. I don’t think I could get 20 with it rolling down a hill idling in neutral.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        FWIW, I have owned a 9-5 Aero (250 hp) wagon since new in 2001, with automatic. It’s EPA rated at, IIRC, 31 mpg highway; the manual tranny is rated a little lower, I believe. I have found that mileage to be achievable on, say, a trip between here and NYC with the car fairly well loaded in the summer with the a/c running at 65-75 mph.

        I have my doubts about achieving 40 mpg under any ordinary circumstances (i.e. not drafting a semi, or running at 50 mph (minimum speed to engage top gear) in Western Kansas with a 25 knot tailwind.

        I’m sure that my numbers could be improved by shutting down the a/c and running at 50 on flat pavement, but not by that much.

  • avatar
    carguy

    Jack – nice to get a real-world test of the Elantra fuel economy. As for your iPod troubles – blame Apple. They have been less than cooperative with the automakers when it comes to interface standards, changing them without notice and withholding information. The late Mr Jobs always considered the car an iPod accessory rather than the other way around.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    These aren’t numbers to be ashamed of for a car in this category. The bit about the rust bubbles, though, is troubling. Still, not to sound like a nit, but you’d think that in going from 5 to 6 gears, cars /should/ get closer to their EPA highway ratings than the ones with five.

  • avatar
    Feds

    Jack,

    I not normally one to judge another’s lifestyle choices, but Chuggington? Really? This is hurting your son, especially when there are multiple seasons of Carlin (and to a lesser extent Starr) narrated Thomas out there!

    For shame.

  • avatar
    beefmalone

    Don’t forget that the MFGs are doing their tests using 100% real gas while most people are forced to make do with watered down ethanol blends.

  • avatar
    400 N

    Speaking of gaming the numbers, there was one year when the official Can government numbers had the Fit beat out by 1 mpg by another vehicle, I think Corolla. Honda Canada went crazy and sent a test team to New Zealand and went over the car in big way. (changed the tires, tuning etc.)

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      Yeah, that’s what eco-tax credits will do… or in Honda’s case, not qualifying for it the first time. There was something like $1000 (or was it $2000?) up for grabs if you got a car that fell within mileage threshold. The upshot is, there are a lot of Fit’s up here driving around with those ugly hybrid-style pizza plate wheels.

  • avatar
    Mark in Maine

    Very informative piece, Jack – like carguy said above, it is good to see real-world fuel mileage numbers that were produced by real-world driving. Re: your iPod – most cowboys agree that nothing cuts ice like Kuang Grade Mark Eleven . . .

  • avatar

    Recently I was driving a rental 2010 Ford Fusion SE, 29k miles on the clock, for 30 days in NYC.
    First, the car looked more like 2005 than 2010, felt very “used”.
    To my surprise, the fuel consumption was very good, my car is a 2011 Mazda3 with the 2.5 liter engine and let’s say that Mazda never took any trophies for good MPG, both cars have the same engine (probably minor differences) but the Ford, consider the fact that is much bigger, had better MPG, at 60 MPH, the Mazda RPM is about 2100, the Fusion RPM is around 1700, this might be the reason, in general, the Mazda keep higher RPM whatever you do, the Fusion RPM looked more like what you get in big V8 cars with tons of low end power.

  • avatar
    El_Guapo_Greg

    Better than a review of a Hyundai is a Neuromancer reference. Think the movie will ever be made?

  • avatar
    peteinsonj

    A $50 rental to save 900 miles wear, tear, and risk on your own wheels?! That’s the story here! Well worth it.

    Lotsa Enterprise lots are really the bottom tier rental options. People treat those cars like garbage. I’ve rented a bunch of times — everything from Sonatas to Suburbans — and they are all generally treated like trash. Except on airport, Enterprise doesn’t exactly rent to a business crowd, its no surprise to me that their cars look awful after comparatively little mileage.

    • 0 avatar

      peteinsonj,
      agree, the Fusion I was talking about not only was Enterprise, the representative who gave me the car told me not to worry about scratches or missing hubcaps, “it’s NYC after all”, that’s what he said. So, I’m not surprised that the cars look like crap.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      A $50 rental to save 900 miles wear, tear, and risk on your own wheels?! That’s the story here! Well worth it.

      Unless, you know, you bought your particular car because you greatly prefer driving it to almost any other car, then spent a lot of time getting rid of all the annoyances that a car comes with from the factory. Plus, 900 miles is a long distance to have to put up with a crappy factory stereo!

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      My Enterprise car rental experience at the Detroit airport was excellent. Rented with them because of the low price, but they were fast and friendly and the car was clean. The Nissan Senta I got was in good shape other than bumper scratches from loading/unloading suitcases.

  • avatar
    jbltg

    Would be interesting to see what the car would do for mpg driven a little less hard, with maximizing fuel economy in mind. Not everyone on the freeway is going flat out all the time, even here in LA, not that you can most of the time anyway due to congestion.

    Enterprise is a shitbag operation. After they tried to nail me for some damage on a rental that was there when I got it-and they really, really tried- a few years ago, I won’t go near them and their dinged up heaps!

  • avatar
    WetWilly

    It occurs to me that Hyundai, as a company, could have used one more round of aggressive pricing.

    The numbers don’t support this. The last figure I saw shows the Elantra’s average time in dealer inventory is about 10 days, and that’s with minimal incentives from Hyundai (in my zip code there’s $0 cash on the hood from Hyundai with the financing deal being 1.9/2.9% depending on term). So they’re pretty much selling them as fast as they can build them in Alabama or ship them in from Ulsan.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Baruth

      I’m not talking about moving the metal so much as sealing the public image of value for all time. Consider what would have happened if Toyota had started cutting costs with the 1992 Camry. That’s all I mean to say.

      • 0 avatar
        WetWilly

        Hyundai’s primary value proposition isn’t price-based, it’s Hyundai Assurance. Aside from the fact that customers love it, Assurance covers a multitude of sins. Does a Hyundai have to be as reliable as a Toyota or Honda? Not exactly because, hey, it’s got that 5/60 bumper-to-bumper, 10/100 powertrain warranty. So you take Assurance, add new, stylish & competitive products, mix in several competitors who have taken their respective eyes off their respective balls, and there’s little need for Hyundai to drop prices to cement the value equation – especially when people are lining up to pay prices fairly close to sticker without incentives.

        Consider what would have happened if Toyota had started cutting costs with the 1992 Camry.

        To be honest I don’t know what would have happened, especially considering the lemming-like characteristics of many Toyota owners/buyers.

      • 0 avatar
        david42

        Actually, I agree with Jack on this one: I think that even the most pro-Hyundai car guy would consider the company to be, at best, on probation. Compared to the solid-gold reputation that Toyota and Honda have (well, had), Hyundai hasn’t reached those heights. It takes twenty years of best-in-class reliability–combined with stunningly bad cars from competitors–to inspire the kind of loyalty that Toyota and Honda have earned. Much of Hyundai’s appeal is due to their value proposition: cheap purchase price (or put another way, high content) plus a long warranty.

        Having said that, I don’t think that even two decades of “value” could ever inspire loyalty to Hyundai in the way that that “quality” does for Honda and Toyota. All it takes is an ill-timed price increase to wreck that image. Quality, on the other hand, can be hard to measure, and customers can easily believe it’s still there even after it has receded or been surpassed by other companies.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      @David42,

      Not this pro-Hyundai car guy. After noticing a rising number of ten-year-old Hyundais running around the salt-covered streets where I live, I threw the dice on an ’08 Santa Fe and quickly found it better screwed-together than any of the Hondas or Nissans I’ve owned over the past two decades. So when it was time for a second car, the new Elantra just seemed like the safe choice. I walked away from cheaper deals on the Jetta, Corolla, and Civic, and would do so again.

      • 0 avatar
        david42

        I hope your Elantra serves you well! As I said earlier, I have a 2011 Genesis… and after about 9k miles, little things are starting to go wrong. The dealer is friendly and attentive, so getting things fixed is merely a time-suck (as opposed to a rage-filled cage-match like with our ex-VW dealer). But I’m not confident that the Genesis will be a 160k mile car like my parents’ old Lexus, Camry, Acura RL, etc… Which is OK, since it’s so much cheaper than the competition.

  • avatar
    Signal11

    3.5mm. The spec is metric.

    That’s a fact, Jack.

    I felt and urge to nitpick. That’s all I could come up with. Nice article.

  • avatar
    marjanmm

    so Jack predicted 900 miles/40 mpg * $3.18 = $71.55.
    By only doing 35.5 mpg instead of promised 40 mpg, the Elantra has costed Jack unplanned extra $9 over the 900 miles trip.

    That’s a hugely important sum worthy of in depth analysis and apparently has tremendous marketing potential.

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    All any of this highlights is that:
    a) EPA mileage numbers represent the absolute best case scenario
    b) despite claims otherwise, the best you will accomplish is approach those numbers in real world driving

    I’m sick of these arguments. People who feel very strongly about a car seem to think it ALWAYS gets better fuel mileage, while those of us who buy it as an appliance to flog around town and aren’t stuck on a Jimmy Carter/Sammy Hagar time warp on the highways find out that the EPA figures are creative at best–and how creative depends on what the manufacturer has to prove.

    The automotive press made a stink about the Chevy Equinox a few years back, which gets nowhere near its advertised highway 32 mpg.

    Now Hyundai is the one caught being creative with the numbers.

    When I buy a vehicle, I want the numbers on the sticker to actually mean something, not be the product of a random number generator. The biggest moment of honesty came when I bought my HD diesel 2001 Silverado and the EPA sticker was blank due to its massive curb weight.

    We either need better EPA figures, or realize that they are made up and *your mileage may vary.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      a) EPA mileage numbers represent the absolute best case scenario
      I don’t agree with this at all. It does not reflect my own experience. Also, CAFE numbers are higher than EPA numbers, and I think those are the “absolute best-case” numbers.

      b) despite claims otherwise, the best you will accomplish is approach those numbers in real world driving
      There are so many variables to mpg that one should expect variation. Any posted mpg number is an estimate, and in most cars I drive, the EPA figures are very reasonable. The reason more people don’t get those values isn’t usually because of the top speed or even their acceleration, it’s because they use their brakes too much.

      • 0 avatar
        mnm4ever

        Agreed! After reading the comments, it seems that most people simply drive way to fast, and then complain that they cant touch the EPA numbers. Well duh, thats a surprise? They say they cruise at a steady 80-85, and get pissed that they dont get 40mpg?? Jack’s trip, entertaining as it was, simply proved that when driving the Elantra like most people in the real world do, it can still get pretty impressive numbers. I would almost bet that if he had flogged a Prius in the same manner, he wouldnt have gotten much better mileage out of it either.

        There is a big difference between driving 55-65mph and 75-85mph in fuel economy. To some cars, its a huge difference, it can make a 10mpg difference in my GTI, in other cars, its barely noticable. Seems that mostly large engined cars see less of a variable between speeds, which may explain why there is so much outrage. Same thing with in-town driving, the EPA test cycle is a simulation, it may or may not be accurate to everyone’s real world situation. Every single light I have to stop for makes my mileage plummet, thanks to the turbo and my slightly heavy foot. This is why hybrids do better in town, they can avoid a lot of that “standing start” fuel usage.

        I learned a long time ago, if I can just cruise along at 5mph over the speed limit, I can usually avoid stopping along the major in-town roads. Not only does this improve my commute times, it also improves my fuel economy by 1-2mpg as well.

  • avatar

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the impact of temperature or humidity on a ’73 J-40. Gibson acoustics of that era were braced with iron girders, and plenty of them.

    • 0 avatar
      daveainchina

      I’m constantly amazed at all the trivia/information any large group of people has.

      How do you know this? Do you repair them or are you just a fan/enthusiast?

      • 0 avatar

        Busted. Even in the depths of the so-called Norlin era Gibson wasn’t using iron braces.

        However, in the interest of reducing warranty claims, the wooden braces were made much, much heavier. Further, the earlier “X” bracing pattern used to support the top was replaced by (what some folks refer to as) tone-killing Double-X bracing. The result was a very sturdy guitar.

        (For the record, I am just a run-of-the-mill guitar weenie.)

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        I love my J-40… although I have a Doves In Flight which is nominally a much better guitar, the J-40 and I have just totally bonded. I play acoustic guitar like a percussion instrument/anger management tool so the bracing works for me.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    I drove some Hyundai’s recently, my impression of them was about the same as yours Jack.

    They have definitely moved into the “must consider” list of vehicles. Whether Hyundai is gaming the epa test or not, these cars get extremely good mileage and I’d not have any complaints. From what I’ve seen personally and what I’ve read, many vehicles don’t do as well, while a few exceed the EPA numbers.

    I think many people when they post their mileage tend to leave out driving habits also. Some of us are better, some are worse. I can guarantee you though that if you are the type sitting in NYC traffic or North Jersey or Long Island traffic you will see substantially worse numbers than average. On the other hand if you are in Corpus Christi TX, you’re going to see much better than average. Traffic volume matters on this, so does elevation and elevation changes.

    I take what anyone says about mileage with a grain of salt and use it to compare relative differences. Minor differences, I really don’t care about in mileage and I think it’s only 1 of many factors of why most people buy cars.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    To paraphrase Hager, Jack can’t drive 55, at least not on the highway. If he locked the cruise at between 60 and 65 is there any doubt he would have seen mid 40′s out of this car? 80+ is way out of the economy range of driving, the wind resistance is staggering at that speed.

    • 0 avatar
      Herm

      with the cruise control set at 60 he probably would have gotten around 46mpg

      testing from cleanmpg.com using the cruise control, everything calibrated:

      70 mph 39.1 mpg
      65 mph 44.3 mpg
      60 mph 46.9 mpg
      55 mph 51.0 mpg
      50 mph 54.0 mpg

      The surprising part is that Jack did so well at 80mph+, advantages of modern aerodynamics in today’s cars.. my pickup gets 22mpg at 65mph, but jumps to 35mpg at 55 mph.. its clean as a brick. Jack what do you think your overall speed was for the trip?.. not counting breaks.

      • 0 avatar
        Jack Baruth

        I had some traffic both ways, more south than north. When on the open road I never went below 70mph except for double-lane semi-trailer racers and often set the cruise at an indicated 85.

  • avatar

    There’s no reply button on it, so I guess the original J-40 diversion is maxed out. I’m glad you’ve bonded with yours; it sounds like the right tool for the job. As a mostly Martin guy, I’ve bonded with a surprising number of Gibsons, including a spectacular ’65 Dove. Alas, shoulder issues keep me away from the big bodies these days.

    Normal programming will now resume.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    Speaking of cars that dont meet their EPA numbers, my 2011 Juke CVT only seems to be able to get a best of 27mpg (although the TC reads 26.1). This is 90% highway driving. EPA Estimates are 28/32 for this car. I should be doing better than 27. I’m even running premium.

    I suspect the CVT changes ratios too often on the highway up hills when it doesnt need to. I started locking it in Manual 6th ratio on the highway and I think that is making a difference.

    • 0 avatar
      mnm4ever

      How fast do you go on the highway?? With a turbo, especially a smaller engined turbo, kicking up to 70-75 makes a difference over 60-65 where the EPA test cycle runs. My GTI is the same way, I cant touch the 32mpg unless I drive well under the speed limit…

  • avatar
    tekdemon

    I thought the whole point of the new EPA numbers was that it’s not representative of only lab fantasy optimal fuel economy numbers…problem is that the manufacturers have clearly managed to re-optimize for the EPA test again, and probably do fudge their numbers a little.

  • avatar
    lammp4

    i am a courier and i drive a 2009 ford focus. according to the trip computer, i had an average og 33-34 mpg on my 10 hour shift of mixed city and highway driving. and this is with a 4-speed auto, but the a/c wasnt on.

  • avatar
    jJonoZee

    We are 6 weeks into our new 2012 Elanta automatic and are getting a solid 22 mpg in city driving. It’s a real disappointment. One 300 mile trip upstate got 38 mpg which is great, but we drive to work every day and are not pleased with mileage. We love everything else about it so far.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India