Consumer Watchdog Calls Out Hyundai Elantra’s EPA Certification

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Without a doubt, the Hyundai Elantra is one of the best compact sedans you can buy today. The Elantra is so good in fact that it beat out segment stalwarts like the Honda Civic, and Toyota Corolla, and newcomers like the Chevrolet Cruze and Kia Forte in our latest compact sedan comparison. That doesn’t mean the Elantra is perfect though; one issue we noted in testing was the difficulty we had matching the Elantra’s 29/40 mpg city/highway rating in testing. It seems as if we weren’t the only ones. Consumer advocacy group Consumer Watchdog announced this week that it will be urging the EPA to re-test the Elantra because of consumer complaints about real-world mpg.

Consumer Watchdog said it has asked the EPA to investigate Hyundai’s high-mileage claims because, “The Elantra has attracted an unusual number of consumer complaints about real-world mpg averaging in the mid-20s, far from Hyundai’s stated average of 33,” it said. The Elantra is rated 33 mpg combined. In our testing the Elantra achieved 25.9 mpg combined, which put it mid-pack among its competitors.

We aren’t the only ones that have failed to achieve the Elantra’s stated average of 33 mpg combined. According to Consumer Watchdog, USA Today also failed to hit 33 mpg, averaging a paltry 22 mpg. Our sister publication Automobile is one of the few who have seen mpg in the 30s, achieving an indicated 36 mpg.

So why is Consumer Watchdog making a fuss about the Elantra’s mpg rating now? Part of the reason has to do with the holiday shopping  season. The letter it sent to the EPA read:

“As the holiday season commences, automakers are touting discounts and year-end deals; record-high gasoline prices for the season will make MPG a significant part of their red-bow advertising. …

“This makes the accuracy of EPA MPG estimates all the more important, to prevent any maker from marketing autos on a stated city or  highway MPG that substantially misstates the result that drivers will get on the road. In general, the new EPA MPG estimates seem to comport closely to real-world results.

“However, a notable exception to this rule has caught the attention of Consumer Watchdog. For the two most recent model years, Hyundai Motors has actively marketed its base models of the Elantra on their very high 29/40 MPG, and 33 MPG average, leaving a trail of disappointed drivers. “

The other issue Consumer Watchdog has is with gas prices. “Gasoline remains well above $3 a gallon,” said Consumer Watchdog Research Director Judy Dugan, “MPG is a key factor for car buyers, who expect to match the window-label mpg if they drive carefully.” Dugan continued, “A loss of 6 or 7 mpg, a conservative average for the Elantra based on tests and complaints, adds up to real money for drivers.”

Hyundai couldn’t be reached for comment.

Source: Consumer Watchdog

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