Hyundai already achieved 2016 CAFE target

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 16, 2012

The U.S. government has ordered all automakers to meet a certain fleet average in 2016 but already, the Hyundai brand achieved it in 2011 with a 36 mpg (6.5 L/100 km) corporate average fuel economy. But then, some Hyundai car owners are complaining that Hyundai’s claims aren’t accurate. In an interview with WardsAuto, Hyundai America CEO John Krafcik said that in the real world, the EPA’s estimated fuel economy of the Elantra compact sedan could be achieved.

The EPA received a petition from advocacy group Consumer Watchdog, which is asking that the Elantra be re-tested. Some car owners claim that they weren’t able to reach the stated fuel economy of 29/40 mpg (8.0-5.9 L/100 km) city/highway. Krafcik said that under a J.D. Power survey of 2011 car buyers that covered a “very large” sample group, the Elantra achieved higher economy than any of its rivals.

He cited the APEAL study that gauges satisfaction in the first 90 days of ownership. He said that it’s highly probable that complaints about real-world fuel economy have been received for “every car in every car maker’s lineup.” Hyundai, through the dealers, is reaching out to these Elantra customers so that they could have an improved understanding of their driving patterns and they can raise their fuel efficiency.

In creating the new 2012 Elantra, the engineering team at Hyundai made sure to build a vehicle that would display a level of weight efficiency that is world-class. It is not surprising then to know that when it comes to weight efficiency, the 2012 Elantra leads the pack. The engineers did not stop there as they also wanted this new model to lead in terms of power-to-weight ratio.

Meeting these objectives would generally provide advantages for both performance and fuel economy. Thus the body makes wide use of high-strength steel which not only reduces the weight but increases the stiffness by as much as 37%. In addition, the use of this steel ensures that the suspension of the 2012 Elantra is optimized. In this regard, the front of the 2012 Elantra comes with a McPherson strut suspension that has gas shock absorbers and coil springs.

Meanwhile the suspension in the rear has a torsion beam to help improve steering stability. It even has mono-tube shock absorbers to guarantee ride comfort. With the front stabilizer bar having a diameter measuring 23.0 mm, it means body roll is reduced especially when cornering. Hyundai revealed that all versions of the Elantra will have electric power steering that is motor driven and column mounted.

This allows the steering to immediately adjust in order to adapt to the current situation. When compared to a standard steering system, the one in the 2011 Elantra is better as it can help with the fuel economy. To get that crisp feel during a turn-in, the new Elantra has a steering rack that offers a quick ratio. Thus while the Corolla has turning diameter of 35.6 feet, the 2012 Elantra has 34.8 feet.

Speaking of fuel economy, since the unibody architecture was aimed to have weight efficiency, the 2012 Elantra attained an EPA highway rating at 40 mpg, even without having a special eco model. When compared to its rivals, the automatic transmission equipped in the Elantra GLS is lighter at 2,701 pounds. Rigidity of the body meanwhile is 50% better compared to the Corolla but even then, the interior of the Elantra is larger compared to the Civic, Corolla, Cruze, and Focus.

Speaking of the interior, it comes in a two-tone color which is beige and gray. Availing of a Limited trim adds the option of a monotone black color for the interior. However all models will have the cloth-like pillar trim which is composed of volcanic rock and fibrous tissue to give it that premium feel and appearance.

It is not only about colors as the interior of the Elantra shows that when it comes to packaging the interior, Hyundai is clearly an expert. The company also shows its capability in terms of craftsmanship, design, and lighting. This capability is shown in how clear the instruments are plus the telescopic and tilt steering wheel.

As the seats are composed of an environment-friendly foam which is lightweight as well, it aids with the fuel economy and environment in general. For the first time in this segment, the seats in the front and the rear are heated. Storage is top notch as well as the Elantra not only offers useable storage capacity but has a number of storage areas.

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