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Hyundai Elantra Real World MPG 2011 MY and earlier

Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
This topic is for Elantra owners to share their actual MPG with others.

"Real World" Fuel Economy vs. EPA Estimates

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  • My wife has a 2002 Elantra GLS, automatic, with 65,000 miles on it. Back in July, I drove it for a straight week back and forth to work, along with some errands on the side while she was out of town. I filled up at the beginning of the week, and again at the end. My commute to work is 22 miles one way. It consists of about 14 miles on back roads at 45mph (some stop and go), 5 miles of city driving 25-35mph (stop and go), and 3 miles at 55-60mph on an open road (cruising). At the end of the week, after doing this commute for 5 solid days, and running some errands in the evening, I managed to get 32 mpg. Not too bad considering that this was mid July, and the a/c was on.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    '01 GLS, 5-speed, 35,000 miles, purchased October 2000, EPA 25/33: Lifetime average about 28 mpg (I don't track every tank anymore). Most driving is short (less than 10 miles) trips in town, city/suburban streets and urban freeways, some stop-and-go. Best mpg: 41 mpg on 300-mile roundtrip, mostly rural highways at 60-70 mph, no A/C, two passengers + luggage.

    '04 GT 5-door, automatic, 13,000 miles, purchased March 2004, EPA 24/32: Fuel economy varies widely depending on whether my wife drives it or I drive it. DW gets 20-22 mpg in city driving, short trips, lots of stops and idling, combination of city/suburban streets and urban freeways, A/C on all the time, heavy foot. I get 26-32 mpg in around-town driving, mostly short trips under 10 miles, on city/suburban streets and urban freeways, A/C on in hot weather. Best mpg: 38 mpg on 150-mile trip, mostly rural highways at 60-70 mph, A/C on for about half of the trip, full load (five passengers + luggage).
  • 5port5port Posts: 395
    01 Elantra GT Hatchback:

    32,000 mi.

    33 mpg (out of state trips highway)

    20 mpg (around town, work, etc)

    24 mpg (lifetime average...i.e. leave the trip computer alone for months and let it average).

    Related Mods: 1) K&N
    2) Bosch +4
  • smith20smith20 Posts: 256
    2004 GT Hatchback - Automatic Transmission
    I am providing descriptions of my "city" and my "highway" because I think that varies widely from person to person. I live in the congested Washington D.C. suburbs (Virginia).

    City (trips of about 5 miles and less, so the engine barely warms up, many, many stoplights here at least 2 or 3 per mile of driving on the major roads and they aren't well synchronized, so lots of idling at red lights or in back-ups on my commute if I drive during rush hours): ~21, best is probably about 23 or 24 if I catch an unusual number of green lights.

    Highway (55-70 and cruise control when possible): 32-34, best 36
  • GLS sedan w. 5 speed manual trans.
    On 3 tanks of gas. All Highway driving.
    Average just under 39 mpg.
    Round trip to work is 172miles. 1/2 on interstate w. 65 limit, other half on parkway w/ 55 limit.
    Tank #1 37mpg
    Tank #2 41mpg
    Tank #3 38mpg.

    These numbers seem too good to be true. Is anyone else getting this milage w/ the manual trans.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    No, these aren't too good to be true. I think you have hit the "sweet spot" for fuel economy for the Elantra. When I drive my GLS 5-speed under the kinds of conditions you mentioned, I get comparable numbers with it, and close to them (mid-upper 30s) with my automatic GT.
  • Non highway driving - 18- 23 MPG -usually about 21.5 I live in very hilly and curvy area, so this affects MPG (and tire wear unfortunately - Luck to get 20K out of tires)

    Highway - average about 35. Consistenly get 33-37

    Total miles 34,000 ;) ;) ;)
  • purchased new november 2004, has almost 20,000 miles, mainly highway driving 60-80 a/c on, try to use cruise control, average 35-38.
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    Charlotte to Pittsburgh and back this weekend. Averaged 35mpg going up with 2 adults, and a trunk full of luggage. It was raining, and that was without using the cruise control much, and with the defroster (using the a/c setting) on. On the the way home, I used cruise control for most of the trip, and no a/c, and averaged 39mpg.
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    Picked up my Elantra Friday. Had to run a LOT of errands this weekend, so I filled up Sunday with nearly 300 miles on the ODO (not TRIP ODO, the real ODO!) I got 29.4 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
  • smith20smith20 Posts: 256
    Okay I'm starting to become a believer that Hyundai cars get better gas mileage over many thousands of miles of "break-in".

    2004 Elantra GT Hatchback - AT - 2 adults in the car and a modest amount of luggage for all these trips. Almost 18,000 miles on the car at the end of the weekend.

    We drove into the 500 miles into the mountains this weekend and we got 35 mpg going there and 36 mpg coming back with a decent amount of stops along the way. It was probably 90% highway driving at 60-65 mph. Today on a 140 mile relatively flat trip (starting and ending elevations the same, but gentle ups and downs in between) we got 39.3 mpg! It was probably 98% highway driving in nice traffic with only one 5 minute slowdown averaging 60-65 mph. I think I got to go 80 or 90 continuous miles at one point without touching my brake. :) That's rare around here.

    So anyway, if you compare to my post #5, you can see these numbers are much improved. I was skeptical that this car would improve its efficiency over an extended period of time and miles, but I'm starting to change my mind. Another trip or two with this kind of efficiency and I'll be totally convinced. :)
  • 1racefan1racefan Posts: 932
    "Okay I'm starting to become a believer that Hyundai cars get better gas mileage over many thousands of miles of "break-in". "

    Regarding my post #10 above. That was in a '02 Elantra, automatic, with 67,000 miles. Car still drives like new. We are going to be getting new brakes and tires later this month. All belts (including timing), hoses, fluids (auto tranny fluid twice - 30K intervals), spark plugs, plug wires, and battery are new. Hopefully this car will last a long time.
  • danf1danf1 Posts: 935
    You've definitely taken care of the car well and it should return the favor.
  • doohickiedoohickie Posts: 949
    I didn't know the Elantra was a mid-size car (I thought of it as more of a compact, but it is roomy for a compact), but the Department of Energy says

    The Hyundai Elantra is listed as the most efficient non-hybrid mid-sized sedan. It gets an estimated 34 miles per gallon on the highway and 27 in the city.

    (Those are the numbers for the 5-speed MT).

    I know my AT is doing very well so far; nearly 30 mpg on the first tankful (just bought an 05 brand new last week) and still has some gas left in the tank.
  • djean1djean1 Posts: 1
    i do love my 2005 elantra. but for now i am getting bad mileage. I am getting about 26 mpg right now and i am at about 4000 miles. if anyone can tell me will it get better. i bought it for the warranty and the mileage but i am a little dissappointed. maybe i am not patient enough. which ever it isa hopefully it will gert better.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    Tell us about your driving pattern. Also is your car an automatic or stick shift? The EPA rating for the automatic is 24/32, so if you do some city driving, 26 mpg is not that bad. My wife struggles to get over 25 mpg in our automatic Elantra, driving almost 100% around town. Sometimes she is around 22-23 on a tank. But she does a lot of short-distance driving, a lot of idling, and has a heavy foot. Under the same conditions, I can get upper 20s to low 30s, depending on how much idling I do, but I have a very light foot.

    On the other hand, if almost all of your driving is on the highway at under 80 mph, then you should be getting more than 26 mpg.
  • smith20smith20 Posts: 256
    I agree with Backy . . . I think the mpg you will achieve is very route and driving style dependent. In fact, I believe that for all cars. In really crowded traffic, or a series of 5 minute trips where the engine really doesn't get to warm up our Elantra will get as low as 21 mpg. But this same vehicle regularly gets 35 mpg on the highway now when we cruise at a constant 60-65 mph. Any kind of mix falls between those two. For example. Right now it's at 31 mpg with about 180 miles of highway and 70 miles of stop-and-go.

    The efficiency has improved about 2 (maybe 3) mpg since we first bought the car. We have 18,000 miles on the odometer right now.
  • smith20smith20 Posts: 256
    2004 Elantra GT Hatchback - automatic transmission

    I posted on Oct. 10 that we had reached a new personal record for efficiency with our Elantra . . . well just two weeks later we have done it again. On a 215 mile trip yesterday we averaged 40.4 mpg! :D It was myself and my wife in the car with a modest amount of luggage for a weekend trip. I put forth particular effort towards achieving a high mpg this time. I spent at least 100 miles of the trip drafting semi-trucks. I would have done it more, however unfortunately there were no trucks to follow for some of the stretches. This was 99% highway driving typically at 60-68 mph.

    It's fair to say these kinds of numbers are far beyond what I ever imagined we'd see with this car. :)
  • jmurjmur Posts: 2
    i got my car in june, brand new. since ive gotten it, i think ive only gotten over 300 miles to the tank once, and thats when i had a lot of highway driving. yesterday i filled my tank, and when i checked the odometer, i only got 265 miles to the tank. thats not even 19mpg. does anyone know why my mpg is so low? i got this car because my old grand prix only got like 16-8 mpg, so getting around the same mpg with this car isnt making me too happy. any suggestions would very appreciated. thanks in advance.
  • smith20smith20 Posts: 256
    What is your driving style on the highways and how crowded are they? If you have to speed up and slow down frequently and/or abruptly that will really destroy decent mpg. Typically how long are your driving trips? From my experience, when we only drive a few miles and then stop, such as shopping at different stores (drive 3 miles, idle around lot, park, start up car 30 minutes later, wait at stoplight to get out of lot, drive 4 miles, idle around lot, park, etc) we get pretty poor gas mileage in the low 20s.

    Our mileage has improved as the engine has racked up more miles too. I was skeptical of this, but when we used to get 20-21 mpg we probably now get 23 or so. On the highway we used to get 32-34 in the beginning and now sometimes it goes quite a bit higher.

    Was that 265 miles for a full 14.5 gallons of gas? I usually only put in about 11-12 because I don't run it all the way down. What does your computer tell you you're getting for mpg?

    My initial thought is that the low mpg is due to driving route and style, but if you have good driving conditions and you drive lightly, then maybe it is something with the car.

    One last thought. Do you have an automatic transmission and if so do you drive the car with "two feet". I call it "two feet" driving when a person uses their right foot for the gas and their left foot for the brake. I have met a few of these people in my life and I will occassional spot them on the road because I see them accelerating while the brake light is illuminated. That will absolutely destroy gas mileage. I know that was a stretch, but I'm just trying to throw everything out there I can think of.
  • jmurjmur Posts: 2
    i do have alot of short trips i go on. i drive to school a few times a day (about 1.1 miles away from my house), and i usually drive back and forth to my fiances house a couple times a day (less than 3 miles.).

    the 265 miles wasnt for a full was probably between 13-14 gallons. i cant remember off the top of my head. as for my computer, i dont have one. i wasnt aware that the elantra had a trip computer until after i had purchased mine, or i wouldve got a different model.

    as for the "two feet"...yes i do have automatic transmission, but i dont use 2 feet to drive.

    all in all, my problem seems to be your first suggestion with only driving a few miles at a time. is there anything i could do to help me improve my mpg?, and should it really lower my mpg down to the teens? i cant really drive further distances as my school & fiances house are less than 3 miles from my house, haha. thanks for your help thus far though, i look forward to hearing from you again.
  • backybacky Twin CitiesPosts: 18,910
    19 mpg seems really low. My DW gets low 20s consistently in very adverse conditions (a/c on, lots of short, stop-n-go driving with a lot of idling), on a '04 automatic. Plus she has a heavy foot. The idling will kill you, as mpg is 0 for that time. I can be averaging 35 mpg driving around town, then I hit congestion and start sitting at lights, and watch that ol' average mpg plummet (my GT has a trip computer). Good suggestions from smith20 above. Also, the Elantra's engine does get better fuel economy with age. I saw about 10% improvement over the first year.
  • smith20smith20 Posts: 256
    Yeah, I agree I think it is probably the 1 and 3 mile trips that are bringing the average way down. I'm not sure that driving style would make much of a difference, unfortunately. Probably the engine is not even fully warmed up by the end of the 1 mile drive to school so it is not burning at it's efficient temperature at any point during those trips. The lowest average I have ever had for a tank of gas was 19mpg, so I feel your pain. I went back and looked at my initial post in this discussion (msg #5) and I see that I estimated that we achieved about 21mpg in crowded, short trip driving, but I would have to say that it has probably gotten a little better than that. I think it probably gets more like 22-23 mpg under those conditions now.

    So, I am hopeful you will see a modest increase in fuel efficiency over the next few months to a year and beyond. Also, I think you'll probably get really good mpg if you ever take the car on a long continuous trip somewhere. We got on three or four moderate (200-400 miles) driving trips each year and we have gotten great gas mileage every time.

    Good luck to you.
  • Serious. For those one to three mile trips around the bend and over the hill to grandma's house we go... pedal! Great gas mileage assured! I mean, get real. How in the world is the engine given much of a chance to warmup sufficiently on trips like those? Can you imagine in a few years the wear and tear buildup going on under the hood? You'll be complaining about more than poor gas mileage at that point I'm afraid when the engine repair bills start showing up. I can see it now, "I'll never buy a Hyundai product for the rest of my life so help me..."

    Update: '05 GT 5spd with 3500 on the odometer - 35.1mpg on the trip readout. Again, probably 80% highway, 20% everything else (no drag racin' and NOoooo cold start 1 to 3 mile trips.).
  • 5port5port Posts: 395
    I agree with zoomzoomitis about the "buy a bike". I live 2 miles from work and have been biking as much as possible. However...short trips do not "Kill" a Hyundai. If they did the company would be out of business. What short trips do is not give the engine a chance to get to operating temp. This is not the end of the car. One must adjust the maten schedule to make up for this. It will give you lousy mileage though.

    If I dont change my oil every 2K miles in the winter moisture builds up in the oil. So I do 2K oil changes using Castrol GTX 5W-30. Once a week I take the car on a 40 mi highway drive.

    01 GT
    32K miles
    Orig Batt
    Orig Muffler
  • Just curious, how much space between your front bumper and the back of the truck when drafting? And at what speed would that distance hold true?
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,601
    Those short haul trips really do kill MPG. Most of my driving is 3 to 5 miles and that's with the car parked for a few hours. Unless it's real cold out, the engine temp shouldn't drop too much in a half hour---engine should warm up real quick. In warm weather my car can "sit" after a 3 mile drive and be warmed up within a mile. It takes longer now that the temps are in the 30's or 40's. When real winter sets in, it will be worse.

    Bought my '05 Sonata in April. Last winter my privious car took 2.5 miles (out of a 3.6 mile drive to work) to get warmed up. That car gave 18mpg in warmer weather and 16 mpg in the winter...all due to temperature.

    Someone who drives 10 miles to work will get better milage than someone who drives 3 miles to work, assuming similar driving conditions. The multiple short hops, one right after the other, won't kill MPG the same as a short hop followed by the next one a few hours later.
  • smith20smith20 Posts: 256
    Well, it's tempting to get very close, but that is not safe. I probably follow about 4-5 car lengths back at speeds between 55-70mph. It's probably not as efficient as following say only one length back, but that would be ridiculously dangerous. Furthermore, I imagine that would seriously anger the truck driver and I don't want to do that. Even if it's just reducing the effective windspeed on my car by 10 or 20 mph, that will make a big improvement since drag corresponds to the square of the speed.

    Driving behind the trucks is probably very boring for most people too. You can't see too much ahead and you have to deal with the trucks losing speed on even modest inclines.
  • I have a 2005 Automatic Hyundai Elantra GLS 4DR. with a 1000 miles on it. I make 10 mile trips hitting one or two lights plus let the car warm up in the morning and I am getting 23MPG. I assume it will get better as the car breaks in. :)
  • I hear ya. I have a little longer drive to work and about 2/3 of it is freeway. On my very first tank, I got over 29 mpg. Since then I've been getting 25-26 mpg on average, with a low of about 22. I made a 300 mile round trip Friday, mostly freeway, and got 29 mpg; I was hoping for 30 at least. I have an 05 GLS hatch with AT and 2000 miles on the ODO.

    I think maybe the great fabulous mileage numbers you see on the boards are primarily from Elantras with sticks, unfortunately, but I think we should both see an improvement by about 5000 miles based on what I've read.
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