The Hyundai Elantra keeps on losing fans because its real-world MPG, for most drivers, doesn't come close to the advertised 33 mpg combined, or even the advertised 29 mpg city. We're especially interested in hearing from California drivers who are having this problem.
On the auto site Edmonds.com, there's now even a reader forum called Hyundai Elantra Real World MPG 2012, dedicated to mpg issues around the 2012 model. Lots of folks out there are feeling cheated because they get combined mileage in the 20s.
One of the most interesting posts was this one, comparing the 2005 and 2012 Elantras:
Nov 22, 2011 (4:32 pm)
Take a look a fueleconomy.gov. Real world miles as shared by drivers for 18 of the 2005 model and 18 of the 2012 models.
2005 Hyundai Elantra, automatic: Rated 24MPG City, 29MPG HWY average combined as reported by 18 drivers: 28.3MPG
2012 Hyundai Elantra, automatic: Rated 30MPG City, 40MPG HWY average combined as reported by 18 drivers: 28.8MPG
That extra 11 miles per gallon highway seems to be missing from everywhere but the sales pitch.
That's the whole point. Why would you buy one car over another for better mpg, when it doesn't really get better mpg? When other cars out there do just as well or better in the real world, except that they don't have that magic high number they can advertise?
The lack of a level playing field on MPG claims was the topic of our recent letter to the White House, comparing the Elantra's real-world results with those for the Chevy Cruze. With taxpayer still owning a big hunk of General Motors, government needs to take a stronger interest in MPG claims by competitors.
The first step ought to be taking back mileage and clean air testing from the manufacturers. Most drivers don't even know that the EPA doesn't actually test most cars–the carmakers do it, and report their results. No matter how good the rules for such testing look on paper, that leaves too much room for fudging the results. So the EPA should do it, period–they can fund it with manufacturer fees that equal what it costs for the company to do the testing.