A consumer organization is going to bat for buyers of Hyundai Elantras who complain about the compact's gas mileage.
Reacting to media reports and website discussion boards, Consumer Watchdog, an outfit in Santa Monica, Calif., and Washington, is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to take a fresh look at the gas mileage ratings of the Elantra, which is officially rated at 29 miles a gallon in the city, 40 mpg on the highway and an average of 33 mpg.
The letter, in particular, cites:
- Drive On. USA TODAY tech writer Jefferson Graham wrote here on Sept. 22 that his near-new Elantra was getting 22 mpg in mixed driving. We checked back with Jefferson yesterday and his mileage hasn't significantly improved.
- Motor Trend. The influential magazine named the 2011 Elantra as the Car of the Year in its class, but noted that it got only 25.9 mpg in mixed city/highway driving in its tests.
- Owners. The group cites owners' discussion on sites like Edmunds.com.
"Consumers are increasingly buying new and used cars on the basis of their fuel economy, which makes significant discrepancies in listed and real mileage an important consumer issue," the letter states. "Elantra's MPG discrepancies appear to be far more serious than those of similar models by other makers, disappointing and angering buyers who can't reach the listed MPG no matter how gently they try to drive."
We reached out to Hyundai spokesman Jim Trainor for comment, and he backed Elantra's rating. "The numbers are the numbers and the tests are the tests," he said. He says the mileage ratings are achievable unless "you drive like a maniac."