Sorry I can't help with the Sonata, but I drive a 2004 Chevrolet
(Malibu) Classic, which is almost the same size and has almost the same
EPA estimates (24/34). The reason I check out this newsgroup is that I
have my eye on getting an '06 Sonata with the four-cylinder at some
point, though I'm not sure the finances will work out for now.
Anyway, don't feel bad. I just posted on the Malibu newsgroup that the
one big disappointment I've had with the Classic is fuel economy. It's
not what I hoped for or expected, and nowhere near the 24/34 EPA
I average 23-24 mpg on mixed highway/city driving, sane legal speeds,
no burning rubber, windows all the way up, no heavy loads, and with a
clean air filter, newly changed Mobil 1 full-synthetic oil, and new
Kelly snow tires set to 32 psi. Also it's been a fairly mild winter
around here. (Northeastern PA)
It's been a bitter disappointment when on the whole I've been quite
satisifed with the car. (That's one reason I'm attracted to the '06
Sonata. In some ways it looks like a newer, safer, more advanced, very
slightly larger version of the Malibu....for just a few bucks more.)
My theory is that larger cars (3050+ lbs) with a four-cylinder will not
get the EPA sticker mileage under anything but IDEAL conditions. Most
of the time they won't even be close.
Smaller cars, such as my old Saturn SL2, can come much closer to
sticker fuel economy figures in real-world driving conditions.
There's a point past which you cannot defy the laws of physics. A close
look at EPA sticker figures from the '06 model year shows some strange
For one thing, the Sonata with automatic transmission is rated slightly
higher than the Chevy Cobalt, a much smaller car. Does anyone believe a
Chevy Impala, at 3,553 lbs., with a V-6 really gets 31 mpg, even on the
highway at the speed limit, consistently? For that matter, can it be
true that a few models get better highway mpg with the auto tranny than
with the stick?
Bottom line is that EPA sticker figures must be viewed with extreme
It is possible. I rented a large Buick a few years ago (I can't
remember the model name now, but it was, I believe, the largest model)
for a trip from Corning, NY to Boston. I drove 70-75 both directions
and that car got 31 MPG for the trip! I was amazed. My minivans never
got above 27 on a trip and typically got 25 at those speeds.
However, that car may have been terrible in local driving, I don't know.
My minivans got 22 or so in local driving, they just never got much
more than that even on a trip.
Your Chevrolot Classic has that relatively new Ecotech 2.2 L4 in it. I have
one in an Olds Alero ('03).
Relatively smooth engine, and pretty good power for a four. A VERY low
maintenance engine. But mileage has been unimpressive with this engine, and
that seems to be no matter what car it is mated to.
I agree you may like the 4-cylinder Sonata better.
I think we're barking up the wrong tree. I don't think the engine is the
Having studied the various competitors, I notice the Sonata is heavier,
wider, and has higher ground clearance than comparable cars.
There's no free lunch. Weight alone is costly. All other things being equal,
a 3200 pound car's (Sonata V6) gas mileage will be at least 1-2 MPG worse
than a 2900 pound car (Camry V6).
I read an interesting article detailing the current EPA fuel economy
calculation. It is performed in a lab, by the manufacturer on a dyno.
It does not factor in use of accessories, wind resistance, and traffic
lights. There are preset times for the lab/driver to change speeds,
stop, etc. I seem to remember there are some regulations on which fuel
can be used but that may only be in the proposed new standards. At any
rate, I am sure the manufactuer is using the cleanest, best fuel
allowed. I bet they make sure ambient temp is in the most favorable
range as well.
I am approaching 9,000 miles on my 2006 Sonata V6 with an average of 21
mpg in mixed driving. On a highway trip it once briefly passed 30mpg
but I notice that it quickly drops to around 27 mpg at higher speeds.
By the way I think the EPA test top speed is 40 or 45 mph!
I stopped manually calculating mpg after several fillups when I noticed
the Sonata's computer was only tenths of a mpg different from mine.
One fill-up it exactly matched my calculation.
GeoUSA, moderator www.HyundaiExchange.com forum
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