The recent news that Hyundai and Kia had to reduce the fuel-economy estimates for many 2011, 2012, and 2013 models has been discussed at length in the Consumer Guide office.
Our long-term Hyundai Accent has been an impressive car, but we always wondered why we were getting significantly lower mileage than the estimates. I was especially puzzled, since my mostly highway commute leaves me very close to (or even above) EPA highway numbers on a regular basis.
I have yet to meet the original EPA highway number of 40 in the Accent; my best result has been 38.98 mpg over 272.4 miles of approximately 90 percent highway driving with the car set in ECO mode. Our Accent is one of the cars affected by the MPG restatement; the new highway number is 37 mpg.
This got me wondering how my overall experience compares to EPA numbers for other vehicles in our long-term fleet, past and present. To see how different nameplates fared, I chose cars from several brands.
Here’s what I’ve found after going through our logbooks. The mileage numbers reported here are cumulative and are based on the number of miles I drove divided by the number of gallons of gas I used; this is not based on trip computer readings. These numbers reflect only my experience; they do not reflect the overall average achieved by the entire Consumer Guide staff in each vehicle.
2012 Hyundai Accent SE, 1.6L automatic
Miles driven: 1,605
Percent highway: 91.4%
EPA highway estimate: 37 mpg (restated from 40 mpg)
Don’s mileage: 37.18 mpg; beats EPA by 0.18 mpg
2013 Mazda CX-5 Grand Touring, 2.0L front drive, automatic
Miles driven: 1,955
Percent highway: 85.7%
EPA highway estimate: 32
Don’s mileage: 34.52 mpg; beats EPA by 2.52 mpg
2012 Honda Civic Sedan EX-L, 1.8L automatic
Miles driven: 4,148
Percent highway: 87.2%
EPA highway estimate: 39 mpg
Don’s mileage: 39.30 mpg; beats EPA by 0.30 mpg
2011 Kia Optima EX, 2.4L automatic
Miles driven: 2,593
Percent highway: 87.7%
EPA highway estimate: 34 mpg
Don’s mileage: 33.24 mpg; short of EPA by 0.76 mpg
2011 Buick LaCrosse CXL, 2.4L automatic
Miles driven: 2,338
Percent highway: 94%
EPA highway estimate: 30 mpg
Don’s mileage: 31.66 mpg; beats EPA by 1.66 mpg
2011 Suzuki Kizashi SE AWD, 2.4L CVT
Miles driven: 4,304
Percent highway: 87.2%
EPA highway estimate: 29 mpg
Don’s mileage: 28.26 mpg; short of EPA by 0.74 mpg
2009 Nissan Cube SL, 1.8L CVT
Miles driven: 4,236
Percent highway: 82.9%
EPA highway estimate: 30
Don’s mileage: 31.72 mpg; beats EPA by 1.72 mpg
2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, 2.0L DSG (diesel)
Miles driven: 5,071
Percent highway: 85.5%
EPA highway estimate: 40 mpg
Don’s mileage: 41.69 mpg; beats EPA by 1.69 mpg
It’s interesting that of the cars compared here, only the Accent came nowhere close to meeting the original estimate of 40 mpg highway. But at the restated number of 37 mpg highway, I’m actually doing fractionally better. Note that on most of these cars, my average beats the EPA highway number. I’ve fallen short only with the Optima and Kizashi, but in both cases by less than 1 mpg.