IntelliChoice has made changes last week to the cost-of-ownership recommendation statuses of some Hyundai and Kia models after the EPA reduced their fuel economy ratings. The recommendation rating of several affected models fell one level. The Kia Sorento, Sportage LX AWD, and Sportage EX FWD crossovers dropped from a Below Average rating to Poor.
Meanwhile, the Sportage LX FWD was revised from Average to Below Average. The Hyundai Accent shifted from Above Average to Average when it featured a manual transmission in GLS and GS trims. On the other hand, the Accent GLS and SE with an automatic transmission moved from Average to Below Average.
Some Hyundai and Kia models were spared from having their ratings changed. The IntelliChoice rankings of the Hyundai Sonata and Kia Optima midsize sedans were unchanged since their current fuel economy ratings were recertified. Aside from having their IntelliChoice rankings downgraded, Hyundai and Kia also face a federal lawsuit.
The complaint wants to be certified as a class action. It also seeks unspecified damages for consumers who bought vehicles with the overstated fuel economy ratings. The Korean automakers have stated that the current owners of the affected vehicles will be compensated. They will receive debit cards to cover the cost of fuel computed using the difference in the new and old EPA combined cycles, the number of miles driven, and local fuel costs, as well as an additional 15%.