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Lessons From Hyundai

In a recent blog post we gave you a couple of tips to help you out when visiting a dealership. In this blog post we also stressed the importance of doing your research. The more research, knowledge, price quotes and information you have - the better your vehicle buying experience will be. But the question is, which research can you or do you trust?

A visit to a manufacturer’s website will tell you all you need to know about the new car, truck, SUV or other vehicle. You can learn about gas mileage, warranties, features, upgrades, and watch videos of the vehicle in action. A read of automotive forums will give you some first-hand experiences and you’ll see a range of feedback including positive and negative. To further help you with your research you can look to advertisements - online, newspaper, television and radio. You also have reviews such as those written by automotive journalists and websites such as ours that serve as a research hub for all things automotive.

In amongst all of this content, you’re going to find a definite mix of pros and cons for any vehicle. So, yes, it can be very challenging to know who to trust and how much. This is what makes the recent news about the Hyundai Elantra and its miles per gallon (MPG) claims very interesting.

Last week Consumer Watchdog sent a letter to the CEO of Hyundai asking the company to pull its “40 MPG” claim from its advertising materials for the Elantra. This request was made based on a range of consumer feedback statements, consumer complaints and other test data that shows the gas mileage claims for the 2011 Hyundai Elantra may be skewed.

According to Consumer Watchdog, drivers of the Elantra are getting far below the 40 MPG, in fact many owners are reporting receiving around 19 MPG for combined city and highway driving. This request by Consumer Watchdog is backed up by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) who did endorse Hyundai’s MPG statements.

With the power of the Internet, the letters by Consumer Watchdog and the EPA are making waves on automotive forums, online trade journals, and online newspapers. In fact we’re see lots of buzz on automotive forums about inflated MPG claims and there have been recent online newspaper articles about this latest headache for Hyundai.

USA Today recently ran an article in its DriveOn section about the Consumer Watchdog request and in this article it highlights newspaper articles, car reviews and owner feedback that have contributed to the move by Consumer Watchdog:

  • USA Today tech writer Jefferson Graham wrote that his near-new Elantra was getting 22 MPG with combined driving.
  • Motor Trend magazine named the 2011 Hyundai Elantra as the car of the year but did highlight that it only got 25.9 MPG with mixed city and highway driving.
  • Owner feedback from discussion on websites such as Edmunds.com.

So what does this mean for you the consumer? Well, like we’ve written before - you have to do your research. Don’t simply trust manufacturer claims or those made by a salesperson. Get online and research you the vehicles you’re interested in - read consumer reviews, read professional reviews, and visit websites such as Edmunds.com. Make use of our research section and when you visit the dealership arrive prepared - know the pros/cons, average prices, warranty options, and history of the vehicle.