'08 Elantra #1 in New Consumer Reports

For whatever you think of this magazine, they have just this week released their July issue. In it, they test several small cars, including the Elantra SE.
Not only was it tops amongst the tested cars, including the Toyota Corolla, which got 32 mpg average (the Hyundai got 27), but was once again established as THE top compact car.
Considering the 'blind spot' they have always had (up until now anyway) towards Toyota, it is good to see Hyundai getting their due.
If it isn't already, it should be on the news-stands this week.
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Rev. Tom Wenndt wrote:

Yes, I just read that issue. Now if Hyundai could just get their engines refined to the level of Toyota (or GM for that matter) and get their mileage competitive, they would be a real force in the auto world.
Regarding the GM comment, I flew to Atlanta recently to drive back my mother-in-law's Buick Century (I think it is a 2000). It has a V-6 (I think 3.1L, but I'm not 100% sure on that). I cruised at a steady 70 MPH nearly the entire 840 miles and achieved 33 MPG on both tanks of gas! I went over 500 miles on the first tank and I think it is a 17 gallon tank. This is better mileage than my 4 cylinder Sonata can achieve in similar circumstances. It gets maybe 31-32 at 70, but will get 33 if I run at 60 or so.
Other than the design issues (hyper sensitive throttle, "no feel" clutch, weak AC, etc.) that we've hashed over many times here in the past, the dismal MPG is the main ongoing niggle with my Sonata. I was hoping to average 30+ MPG given that my driving is mostly highway, and the EPA ratings were 24/34. I'm running at 29.25 for the nearly 40,000 miles now on the car. This isn't terrible, but running right at the EPA mid-point isn't very good for my driving regime.
Now, before you launch into the "EPA numbers aren't realistic" speech, I'm well aware of that, but for MY driving I've acheived the highway MPG or within 1 MPG of it on every vehicle I've owned for the last 15 years ... except the Sonata. My pickup was a 14/18 rating as I recall, I I get 17-18 pretty consistently driving back and forth to work. Same with my minivans and the Plymouth Acclaim and Jeep Comanche before them. The Sonata is the first vehicle I've had that runs only midway up the EPA range in driving that is mostly highway.
So, Hyundai, hire a few former GM or Toyota engineers and get your engines up to snuff before I need another car! :-)
Matt
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I rented the "Big" Cadillac a few years back for a 2200 mile trip. I don't remember exactly but it was almost unbelievable the MPG the car achieved. I averaged around 80 mph and something like 28 mpg.

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Rob wrote:

Yes, I agree. I rented a Buick Park Avenue a few years ago for a trip to Boston. I was in a hurry and ran 70-80 MPH that trip and got 30 MPG with that fairly large car. I was amazed.
Matt
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wrote:

I think that you will find that they are already there, certainly at the level of GM.
The present Santa Fe and Vera Cruz (also the same engines as in the Sonata and Azera, resp. I believe) are very refined according to CR reviews and personal experience. AAMOF, CR went so far as to say that despite the better fuel efficiency of the Corolla, Elantra was more refined.
I will concede that the Hyundai 4 bangers are not paradigms of fuel efficiency compared to Toyota (IMO the class leader) and even Honda.
On the other hand, the Santa Fe's fuel economy (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/Feg/noframes/24984.shtml ) is on par with Toyota (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/Feg/noframes/24629.shtml ) and Chevy (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/Feg/noframes/24573.shtml ) and better than the Honda (http://www.fueleconomy.gov/Feg/noframes/24609.shtml ) in SUVs with similar size engine.
The V6s are just fine. Now on to the genesis and the V8's.
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Wayne Moses wrote:

CR bases "refinement" apparently only on levels of vibration and sound. I'm using the term in a much broader sense and also specifically qualified with respect to fuel efficiency. I don't think Hyundai yet makes an engine that is truly at the world class level of GM and Toyota, but maybe some of those you list above are there or close. My Sonata 2.4L isn't quite there. It is competitive in power, smoothness and noise levels, but falls short in fuel efficiency.
Matt
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I have the V-6. Mileage is about the same as my LeSabre. OK, but not great. Performance is better though.
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I recently rented a Hertz 2009 Sonata GLS for a week, and put approximately 1,500 miles on the car. In my business travels, it seems that Hertz rents quite a few Hyundais - four Sonata's and one Azera in the last seven rentals! The new Sonata was a significant improvement over the 2007 and 2008 Sonata GLS's I've rented. Other than the obvious improvement in the center stack and in other areas, there are two substantial mechanical improvements I noticed with the 2009: 1). The rear suspension - in every Sonata GLS I've previously rented, the rear suspension seemed to be a bit soft and tended to bottom out with either a full load of people or a fair amount of weight in the trunk. This is no longer the case with the 2009. Not only did I find the rear suspension much, much better in this regard, the car simply drove and tracked more accurately, and 2). The 2.4L DOHC engine and new 5-speed automatic combination - a much better combination for highway driving. The transmission is almost seamless in it's gear changes, and most importantly, the fuel mileage has improved. When checking highway fuel mileage (the old-fashioned way, along with the use of the trip computer), the mileage was 34.5MPG, and this was at a typical average of 70+MPH. The overall mileage after the 1,500 mile trip with a combination of 75% highway and 25% city was 30.1MPG. This is very close to the exact numbers I received with my last Toyota Camry rental about 8 months ago. The new 5-speed automatic has improved the drivetrain on the 4-cylinder immensely. And, this car only had 1,100 miles on the odometer when I rented it, so if it's similar to other Hyundai's I've owned, the fuel economy may actually improve over time.
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<................ snip ................>
Good write up Don. Thanks.
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Thanks for the good info. What do you think of the Azera?
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We had an Hertz Azera Limited in March for a business trip to Charlotte, NC (from central IL). My wife and I made it a bit of a vacation, and stopped overnight near Sevierville, TN. We were both very impressed by the Azera. Very comfortable, yet good suspension control, and an excellent engine. The overall fuel economy for the trip was in the 24 to 25MPG range with highway at 28.5MPG. It was a very nice car, and we actually hated returning it back to Hertz! In my opinion, this is one excellent automotive value.
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While checking on a trade-in for the wife's Jeep, my local smalltown dealer told me that since this was published, they are selling 1-2 Elantras a day. Only 3 left on the lot yesterday!
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