Does the Hyundai Elantra Really Get 40 MPG?

2011-hyundai-elantra
Hyundai is in hot water over claims of false advertising. According to a consumer watchdog group and one Elantra owner, the automaker is misleading consumers in its claims that the compact sedan gets 40 mpg. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the groups have filed a lawsuit in a Sacramento, Calif., court.

Californian Louis Bird bought an Elantra last year and has been tracking its fuel economy; he told the Free Press that he barely gets 29 mpg and drives mostly on the highway. The Elantra was redesigned for 2011 and the current generation is EPA rated at 29/40 mpg city/highway with a combined rating of 33 mpg. The suit contends that the automaker's advertising doesn't stipulate that 40 mpg is the highway number.

Cars.com Editor Mike Hanley got 38 mpg in his test of an Elantra: "In one leg of driving that totaled slightly more than 100 miles, my driving partner and I averaged 38 mpg, according to the Elantra's trip computer. The route consisted of mostly traffic-free rural roads and urban freeways, with some city driving mixed in."

The lawsuit aims to stop Hyundai from advertising the 40-mpg number without disclosing the figure is highway-specific and asks for unspecified damages on behalf of California residents who own or lease 2011 and 2012 Elantras. The case is similar to a small-claims suit filed against Honda last year by a Civic Hybrid owner and a larger class-action suit filed against the automaker.

Hyundai is standing by its claim. "Hyundai Motor America believes this case has no merit, as our advertising is accurate and in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations," the automaker told the Free Press.

Related
Hyundai misleads about Elantra fuel economy, suit says (Detroit Free Press)
Honda Sued Over Fuel-Economy Claims
2012 Hyundai Elantra Review

Comments 

Jeff Durgin

Sounds like another guy looking to get a few extra dollars, or get out of his car. Who doesn't know there are ratings for both city and hwy? Who doesn't look at the window sticker that plainly states the numbers; both city and highway?

Lance

I haven't seen any Elantra ads where it doesn't say "40 MPG highway". The "40 MPG" is usually in big, bold print but the highway has always been right there following it, albeit in smaller typecase.

Highdesertcat

Don't believe any manufacturer who claims that their cars get 40mpg.

It doesn't happen except maybe under controlled tests conducted by them.

We helped buy our grand daughter a 2011 Elantra for HS grad and she uses it to drive to college four days a week now, a 150 mile roundtrip every day she goes.

I buy all her gas and if she gets 20-24mpg that's a lot better than having her drive something larger and even more thirsty.

She has three girlfriends that ride with her and sometimes one of the other girls drives their car.

Their mpg is far worse than that of the Elantra, over the same route and terrain.

The mpg you get from any car depends on your style of driving, the terrain, the atmospheric conditions, your tire inflation, your oil viscosity, and head winds.

That's just to name a few of the factors that determine mpg.

sheth

The problem here is that even in testing geared towards economy this car has failed to deliver repeatedly. The car may be able to get 40mpg in the EPA test, but that doesn't mean much in the real world. It's like Hyundai managed to check all the right boxes to get 40 on the EPA cycle but it doesn't mean anything on a real highway.

George

The problem is that the government regulations do not require different test for different configurations of the vehicle.
The base 2700 pound car with 195/65 15 tires, actually gets the advertised mileage.
The 2900 pound top of the line car, with 215/45 17 tires does not.

sheth

A slight weight gain shouldn't explain a 3 mpg drop in mileage. Besides, other compacts in top trim guise have come close to their ratings.

jaret

I think this is a case of how the drivers are driving the cars.. I know people who complained about their Hyundai Accent fuel economy. When I had one I could easily get their numbers, but I drove the car hard. When I drove it easily I got well above the EPA estimates. Another big factor with cars the new is how the vehicle was broken in. Break it in by the book and you will get significantly better fuel economy over the life of the vehicle.

nared

Where do the mpg figures come from anyway? I think I recently read the EPA accepts whatever data the automaker gives them. If that's true, I think the system is uselss. Every automaker will game it.

cars.com staff i think this would be a good article for you to do

I don't know if it was an Elantra but I rented a Hyundai last week and it got 38 mpg, very impressive.

Lance

@nared

OMG, you've got to be kidding me. Google it. Hundreds of articles have already been written on this and what you said is so far from fact it's ridiculous.

In a nutshell, the EPA sets a very exact criteria for the auto companies to test their vehicles. The auto companies test and report. EPA test some vehicles on their own and spot checks some of the vehicles the auto companies tested. Any auto company caught cheating would be fined very heavily and the bad PR would be disastrous. There's more to it but a google search will get all the correct info you need. Or if you rather believe BS rumors....that's your choice.

sheth

jaret:

The elantra has been extensively tested by various auto publications, it has struggled to match EPA combined or hwy figures even when driven in fuel economy geared loops to maximize mileage. Insideline put it in a comparo with other high mileage cars and even on the part of the test loop that yielded the best mileage it came up short of the 40mpg figure. This isn't just about the way consumers drive the car, this is about a consistent lack of real world mileage in this car. The Sonata and Optima have yielded similar results. Motortrend had a long term Optima and I think it yielded about 23mpg overall during its stay- and they drive a lot of hwy miles.

Parrots

@Sheth

Isn't this true for most other cars automotive publications test?

In the May 2011 issue of Car and Driver, there was a comparison test involving the Elentra and its competitors. The C/D 400-mile trip's average fuel economy numbers between 18 and 21 miles per gallon.

The Chevrolet Cruze got 18 miles per gallon compared to the EPA 24/36. The Focus got 21 MPG compared to the EPA 28/38. The Elantra fared 20 MPG, compared the the 29/40 EPA ratings.

While the Elantra fell more short of the EPA ratings, the Focus had similar falls compared to its EPA ratings. The point is, many cars get worse MPG results from magazine testings and this is not an uncommon thing.

And the consumers need to keep in mind that YOUR MILEAGE WILL VARY!!! Also keep in mind that Hyundai was just advertising the fuel economy the Elantra got from government-standard testing. The company never actually said you will get 40 MPG, it just said that the EPA RATING WAS 40 MPG!!!

Highdesertcat

" By the way how much an Elantra cost?"

I paid $15K out the door for my grand-daughter's 2011 GLS with Air, automatic and a killer sound system, including tt&l, in May 2011, in Las Cruces, NM.

They wanted $500 more for the same thing in El Paso, TX.

William

Are people really this dimwitted? The mpg rating is a guideline, not something set in stone. The 40mpg is a best case scenario under a controlled environment.

I've gotten as high as 42mpg/hwy which is supposedly rated for 39mpg/hwy. I've also gotten as low as 28 mpg/hwy when I was driving more "spirited."

If they really want to sue Hyundai based on this, then logically they should sue EVERY car company out there because every one of them posts ESTIMATES that you may or may not hit depending on your driving habit.

The point is, this is just another bunch of uneducated individuals who don't realize it's their own dimwittedness that's the problem here.

akaibooshi

Hyunday claims that Elantra top of the line has real leather seats. I believe it's sinthetic leather instead.

George

This isn't the same as when Honda reprogrammed the PCM in the Civic Hybrid to avoid their warranty responsibility under law for failing battery packs.

A 2850/3050 [cars + driver] lbs x 29mpg x a 5% difference in rolling resistance-from different tires = equals 3 mpg city.
The extra tire width affects aerodynamic drag too, in addition to RR reduction. That can also account for 3 mpg highway.

It is time for each trim level to be tested separately (and listed independently), and with the tire pressure tested with.

MPG

Popular mechanics magazine has nice experiment comparing real world testing with EPA method. They used Focus and Elantra. Driving in real world they topped EPA numbers (and they did not go easy on cars).
I drive my wife Honda Accord 4-cyl to work very often (mostly highway). I top EPA highway fuel economy for 1-2 gallons driving conservatively (no trip computer old fashion measuring method). For all people who complain to get much worse than EPA MPG, don't drive like you are always late somewhere. I can drop Honda well above EPA numbers if I drive aggressively. Foot off the accelerator, music on the radio and relax. MPG will miraculously go up!

Brandon

My 2013 limited gets about 25city 35hwy, and that's if I baby it. Maybe the baseline nutz and boltz version gets 29/40 w/out the extra weigh, but my car sure as hell doesn't.

Highdesertcat

Brandon, that's actually pretty good, especially the Hwy mpg.

My grand daughter has never gotten 35mpg on the highway for her commute to/from NMSU in Las Cruces, NM.

Usually, WAY less than 30mpg overall is the norm, and she doesn't do much city driving since we live out in the desert and she travels mostly on Hwy54, Hwy70 and I-25.

I should know. I pay for all her gas and fill it up whenever she needs gas.

You're doing pretty good with what you got.

Andrei

i live in canada and consistently get 5 liters per 100 km on the highway on my 2013 elantra
which is around 47 mpg
what most people do not understand is that your speed is the major determinant of your fuel consumption
Want to get 40 mpg from your elantra ?
before suing them, set your cruise control on 55 mph and drive on the highway. I guarrantee you will get 43-45 mpg

Highdesertcat

Imperial gallon or US gallon?

bilpeg

After 20,000 miles the tires are shot. What is up with that? We are considering a trade in not happy at all with the Elantra.

bkoopers

I have driven my 2011 Hyundai Elantra GLS for 11,100 miles over 18 months and the car has consistently averaged 21 to 22 mpg on each full tank of gas. I drive 10 miles a day round trip to and from work in stop and go traffic and a few times a month, I travel about an hour each way on a parkway to and from a major city. I had the car serviced at my Hyundai dealership yesterday and complained that I have been averaging only about 22 mpg but the car is rated at 29 to 40 mpg. I was told that they checked the car and it is functioning normally. I asked does that mean that 22 mpg is normal and I was told yes. I then asked does that mean the car should be rated at 22 mpg and not 29 to 40 mpg and I was told yes.

DRIVER

i GET OVER 40MPG AT SPEEDS OF 78-80 MPH CONSTANTLY...WHY DO SO MANY PEOPLE CRY SO MUCH

Matt

I have a 2011 Elantra Limited and on a 100+ mile trip on interstate I set the cruise and if I stay at the speed limit I have no issue getting at least 40mpg. If I am city driving it is usually 29-30.5mpg. It all has to do with how you drive, use your cruise control, it helps your fuel economy a great deal. I checked the MPG using old school method and the computer is accurate in its MPG.

pete

I get about 16mpg mixed driving my compact sedan that's rated at 18/25, but I drive it enthusiastically, so I can't complain.

diego

honestly i can complain i bought the car to save on gas and i average 19 mpg when im suppost to get 28 on city and i get 24 on high way when im suppst to get close to 40 for that i would of bought a mustang v6 i have a elantra 4cylinder

Yousaf M.Shaikh

My 2013 gives me 16 MPG. I drive it fairly gently, so I'm a bit disappointed in the so-called "fuel efficiency". I am aware of the fuel reimbursement program (which I'm enrolled in) but still....would've been better if the car performed better (gas wise). I've bought Hyundai for my last 3 car purchases but next time I'm buying a Subaru.

Matt_California

I bought an Elantra GT (hatchback)in Januray 2013, hoping I can get the high MPG they claim, 27/37.

I am getting around 25MPG for 60% highway/ 40% city driving. I am an experinced driver and drive smoothly and gently. I could get 31 MPG from my 1998 Honda Civic, with a similar driving style and conditions. I wish I had kept my old car!

Note: I guess my choosing of larger sport style tires on my Elantra inversly affects its MPG.

litesong

Knew that leadfooted drivers were complaining about Elantra, so I bought a 2013 auto tranny Elantra. Two months of driving 3000+miles using 100% gasoline(EPA uses no ethanol blended gasoline in their tests). First tank was 43mpg, & am now averaging 38+mpg. You have to be a careful driver & know how to get good mpg by using the gears right. I've gone as far as 423miles on a tank & still had 2.6 gallons remaining.

Elantra is only 131 lbs-ft of torque, so don't drive it like like a race car & know how to drive hills.

Melanie

I have a 2012 Elantra and has consistently avg 45 mpg on hwy and 35mpg in town. I live in Florida, so it is flat land. This car does awesome for not being a hybrid.

litesong

Update from 7-16-13: 22000+ miles. No problems whatsoever! The l.8 liter is still AVERAGING 38-39mpg MPG with ethanol-free gasoline & 15% city driving, but no long mpg increasing long drives(would readily get 42+mpg). For those that don't like the low 131lbs-ft of torque, the new GDI 2liter is a must, at the expense of mpg. The OE Hankook tires, of which many drivers complain, are good, holding excellent alignment & should readily gain 50 to 60,000 miles. The new "quiet pavement" highway surfacing, really makes Elantra quiet. The new "quiet pavement" south of our town is a delight to drive! Hope the new highway surfaces quickly cover many highways! Rear solid axel, which isn't independent suspension, doesn't take hard bumps well. Heard that adding a sway bar really helps the rear seat ride. Otherwise, very comfortable, despite my bad back. My wife, who loves her small Hyundai Accent, likes the Elantra ride, but will keep her car for its city driving & parking ability. Elantra rear view isn't good, tho many other brand cars aren't any better. No rattles, noises or shakes, & always smooth, even & easy moving.

Highdesertcat

litesong, the 2011 Elantra we helped buy for our grand daughter's HS graduation gift served her well all through college.

We recently, just this month, sold it when she no longer needed it to commute to/from college, since she graduated this past May.

But in all honesty, she never got anywhere near the 40mpg that was advertised.

That said, the Elantra never went back to the dealership for anything since it was bought in May 2011.

It was the perfect car for a young college student. Never broke down and still brought a lot of cash at selling time with >60K on the odo.

destry

@high desert cat,
Of course there are cars that get 40 mpg...or better. I'm going to go ahead state what many of us are thinking: you're full of it.

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