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Hyundai Sonata Real World MPG

Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,094
This topic is for Sonata owners to share their actual MPG with others.

"Real World" Fuel Economy vs. EPA Estimates

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  • Each tankfull returned 23 mpg city with A/C; 31+ mpg highway (70-75 mph with A/C), 2003 Sonata GL V-6, ~16,000 miles, cheapest conventional 10W-30 motor oil I can find on sale, 87 octane unleaded regular. Mileage figures were calculated with a hand calculator, not from a "trip computer" readout. The EPA estimates for this engine in the 2003 Sonata listed 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,601
    My '05 GLS SV 2.7L V6 has averaged 18.08 over the last 647.3 miles using 35.797 gallons. Also done on desk top calculator, not trip computer. Car has 3600 miles now. Typical trip is under 4 miles and engine is not warmed up. Driving from FL to CT where I bought the car in April, averaged 28 on the highway with cruise set "just a hair" above 70 most all the way. The GLS SV has automatic climate contol. I leave it set at 78 most of the time. In the last 3 months the A/C has almost always been on at that setting.

    Did your milage improve after reaching some magic number of miles, as others have stated? Based on my driving conditions, I'm not complaining. But your MPG sounds great and was wondering if I might expect some increase in MPG after reaching a certain number of miles.
  • "Did your milage improve after reaching some magic number of miles, as others have stated? Based on my driving conditions, I'm not complaining. But your MPG sounds great and was wondering if I might expect some increase in MPG after reaching a certain number of miles."

    It was gradual. My initial mileage (during the car's very first tankful) was abysmal - 16 mpg city and 21 mpg highway. I broke it in easy as the owner's manual directed, though not exceeding 55 mph for the first 1,200 miles was agonizing - saw lotsa middle fingers even though I stayed in the right lane! By 4,000 miles I was up to about where you are now, and by about 6,000 miles I was within 2 mpg of the figures I listed above. Thereafter further improvements were very gradual and it's probably about as good as it's gonna get. These 2.7L engines are generally economical cruisers, but they'll suck the tank dry if they're unnecessarily pushed. One thing you really have to watch, though, bhmr59 are short trips that don't fully warm the engine. They're "H" on motor oil and a terrific way to develop a prematurely sludged-up engine. (This is an internal combustion engine problem, NOT a Hyundai engine problem.) Get it out once a week for 20 miles or more at constant speed to evaporate water condensation and burn off fuel dilution in the oil - both are longevity enemies. Take Hyundai's 7,500 mile oil change interval with a grain of salt, too, if you use conventional motor oil. 5,000 miles is more appropriate unless you pop for a full-synthetic. I change every 3,000 miles - partly because I'm anal and partly because I take so long to rack up miles.
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,601
    Thanks for the info & tips rhaeffele. I'll try go give it a good 20 mile run each week. When our golf course shuts down for the winter I usuall meet a golf buddy for lunch on Sunday, about 15 miles each way--mostly highway. A few other times a year I'll go on a 25-30 mile drive to a meeting. But I'll keep in mind your suggestion about taking a drive to make sure the engine is fully warmed up (although it seems to run at normal operating temperature [warmed up], according to temp gauge, since I haven't had the car in the cold weather) Your point about condensation is well taken. Went through a copple muffles before their time with the previous car, probably due to condensation.

    I did change my oil @ 3100 miles and plan to follow Hyundai's "severe use"/whatever it's called and change every 3 to 3500 miles.

    Thanks again.
  • haefrhaefr Posts: 600
    I suspect as your new engine continues running-in (and presuming you don't succumb to the temptation of "exercising" all 235 ponies too often!), you'll at least match my results.
  • Has anyone recorded real world mileage with the 4 Cyl. Auto 2006 Sonata ?
  • Brand new 06 Sonata GLS V6 still running on dealers gas ( ODO 120 miles ) has gradually risen from 16 to 21 according to computer. I'll try to post whenever theres a substantial increase. After the first fillup I'll start checking the figures manually.
  • 06 Sonata GLS V6, a/c running. My first partial tank fillup of 14 gal gave me 330 miles. That calculates to 23.5 mpg for the first 300 miles.
  • billmdbillmd Posts: 24
    06 Sonata GLS V6 Auto with a/c running, mixed city/hwy 780 miles total mileage. MPG calculated to 25.3.
  • Why is the limit set to 55MPH? Does Hyundai have tests proving that this is the optimal"break-in" spped, or is it only an estimate? If I were to go 60MPH or 65MPH in my new Sonata LX, would I get the same performance out of the engine as if I only stayed at 55MPH?

  • haefrhaefr Posts: 600
    "Why is the limit set to 55MPH?"

    I see that Hyundai's conservative run-in approach hasn't changed with the introduction of the 2006 Sonatas. (My '03 Sonata V6's run-in instructions were identical.) Hyundai's apparently alone among car manufacturers in still observing a 1,200 mile run-in. (Most, if not all, recommend no more than 600 miles, and some don't make any suggestion.) I imagine Hyundai's engineers put the company's test track to good use in developing the new engines and feel their run-in recommendations are appropriate. But, one of the nice things about a democracy is that once you've plopped your bucks down and own the car, or taken on the lease or loan payments, you can drive it any way you choose. If you have reason to believe that a higher top speed during run-in is advantageous, it's your call. Of equal, or even more importance is the need to alter your speed when safe to do so. Proper piston rign seating to the cylinder bores requires doing so. Moderate acceleration (without forcing a downshift) up to whatever limit you set for yourself positively "loads" the piston rings during the compression stroke. Foot off the accelerator to slow the car to around 40 mph negatively loads the piston rings during the resulting vacuum during the intake stroke. Fifteen or so such cycles will pretty much seat the piston rings properly to minimize future oil consumption problems. Personally, I doubt that even running it like ya' stole it during run-in will elliminate the possibility of ever seeing 100,000 miles, and the majority of drivers rarely keep their cars much past that anyway. But people I've talked to over the years who keep their cars in excess of 300,000 miles without the need of deep repair work on their cars' engines have generally agreed on one thing - follow the manufacturer's advice during run-in. I don't know whether they're right or wrong, but I do know that doing so is only an immediate "hardship" in the overall scheme of things during ownership. Hopefully someone of the "run-it-like-ya'-stole-it" run-in philosphy will chime in and give us his experience. Finally, also remember that it's not merely the engine that's running-in. So is the transmission. Early all-out acceleration might have an effect on the automatic transmission's friction materials that could lead to premature or excessive wear.
  • I think that mileage was for his previous generation Sonata. Apparantly the new 3.3 V6 gets better mileage with 235 horsepower than the old 2.7 did at 171 HP or so.
  • I have a new 06 Sonata GL, automatic. So far, my gas MPG is abysmal. I now have 3k on the car, and I consistently get 18-20 MPG. I do live in LA, and have a total stop and go commute, but is this all I can expect? I don't know if this is common, or if I should have it to the Hyundai service dept for a check.
  • smith20smith20 Posts: 256
    I do live in LA, and have a total stop and go commute

    I'm almost certain that's your issue. I would really doubt there is anything unusually wrong with your car. I don't have a Sonata, but I have an Elantra and over its 20,000 mile life I have ranged from 19-40mpg all because of the route and the distance. Furthermore, if your commute is a short distance that's going to hurt too because the engine won't even be fully warming up.
  • Thanks for the input. My commute is about 13 miles one way- but it takes about 55 minutes. Maybe that is the problem. It is disappointing coming out of a 10 year old Honda Accord that was still getting about 25 mpg.
  • haefrhaefr Posts: 600
    Well, you're right, averagejoe, - I did mistakenly assume that the car in question was the 2006 model. But, I would like to know on what you base your statement concerning the "apparently" '06 V6's superior real world fuel economy when compared to the previous generation. Is this a verified account or just your personal opinion based on the EPA dynomometer result estimates? (I've been waiting to read a real-world highway fuel economy post on a well broken-in Hyundai 3.3L V6 engine, but have yet to find one. As I stated in a related post in another discussion, the silence about the new 3.3L V6's highway fuel economy is deafening.) For what it's worth, I have the 2.7L engine (now often-dismissed as "underpowered") in my '03 Sonata. Last week on a 400 mile day trip, I averaged 32+ mpg at a constant 70 mph. Prior to that trip I had just completed an entire tankful of urban driving averaging just under 23 mpg - both figures well above the EPA estimated 19/27 mpg on the original window price sticker I kept. My current mileage on the car at the time of the trip was 16,500 miles. My previous carefully recorded highway trip was at just over 5,000 total vehicle miles in mid-2004 after a conservative break-in and returned 31+ mpg.
  • smith20smith20 Posts: 256
    I have a 4.5 mile commute to the train station and it takes me 12-25 minutes, so I feel your pain. That is disappointing since you have a comparison to your former car. Probably the Accord only had about 130hp and was a displacement of 2.2 liters, so you do have a significantly more powerful engine in your new Sonata, a 162hp 2.4 liter engine. Since the Sonata's engine is 9% larger, that probably accounts for some of the increased fuel use. Also, I have found, along with many others, that my Hyundai is improving its fuel efficiency with time. I was skeptical of this when I first bought the car, but I now believe this to be true. When I got 19mpg that was back when it was a few thousand miles old at the most. Now that I have 20,000 miles on the car I have not gotten below 21mpg in the worst traffic and on the highway I have seen a 3-4mpg improvement.

    So, if your car does get a 2-3mpg improvement over the next year or two and beyond, you might eventually see 20-23mpg on your commute and that maybe that could be considered reasonable since you have a slightly larger and much more powerful engine.
  • thanks for the encouragement!
  • rick2456rick2456 Posts: 320
    That is not unusual. I live in Atlanta and I am only getting 19 mpg in mixed city driving with my 2006 Sonata GLS V6. I even took it by the service center and the service manager said if the tires are properly inflated, it runs well and there are no caution/warning lights on, there is nothing wrong with the vehicle.

    On the highway, I do get significantly better mileage. About 27 at 77 mph with the AC on. The service manager did say that as the engine gets some more miles on it, there should be a slight increase. Good luck.
  • I've got an '06 Sonata GLS V6. I've just hit 5,000 miles, so I don't know if I'd call it really broken in yet. I live in Northern NJ and take frequent trips to Delaware to see family. Round trip door-to-door is just under 200 miles. So far the best I have achieved is 34 MPG on one of those trips, and the worst was 29 MPG. And that is with the cruise set on 80 MPH for a majority of the trip. My average speed on all of these trips (except one in the rain) has been 64 MPH. The rain trip was 58 MPH. And about 5-10% of the trip in what I would call city traffic.

    With my daily commute, and around-town driving, my overall MPG has been just a hair over 24 MPG.

    This has all been hand-calculated, although I must say that the trip computer is remarkably accurate, usually only off by 0.1 or 0.2 MPG per tank.
  • bhmr59bhmr59 Posts: 1,601
    You're doing real good for MPG, better than EPA rating.

    Your trip computer difference is most likely due to "rounding." You may be a kook like me, comparing the miles to the .1 and the gallons to the .001. The computer doesn't consider my quirk and may be more accurate than the gas pump reading when getting down to the .001 gallons.

    I'm in CT. In the last week, with the colder weather, I've noticed a slight decrease in MPG (about .3). Based on my other cars I'm sure it will drop lower as we get sustained colder temperatures. Have you noticed a drop in MPG yet?
  • Just returned form a trip from Wisconsin to Missouri. left WI with 440 miles on the car and kept speeds between 65 to 70 mph. 28 degrees and 45 mph head winds with blowing snow. Mileage low but improved to 24.7 mpg when I reached MO. My return trip with 1100 miles on the car and 50 degree temperature and 5 mph tale wind produced 28.6 mpg at speeds of 70 to 80 mph. City mileage 17 to 19 mpg when the car had less than 400 miles on it. Will watch it now as the car has over 1600 miles on it. Great road cruiser though.
  • haefrhaefr Posts: 600
    I agree that you're both achieving outstanding fuel economy with your new V6 engines. (But, at least my '03 V6 has 65 less horsepower! ;)) Lookin' like Hyundai's new V6 engine's a winner. Just out of curiosity, how did you each go about breaking-in your new car's engine - the "run it like ya' stole it", or the "run it like you intend to keep it" method?
  • I plan to keep the car and was also concerned about breakin procedure. Called dealer service department and they suggested to keep it below 65 mph. Tach at that speed is only 2000 rpm. Had 440 miles on the car before my trip so I kept it at 65 mph and changed speed at times lfting my foot off the pedal for oil to be pulled up to the rings. On my trip home with 1100 miles on the car I drove 70 mph slowly increasing to 75 mph. Did some shots to 80 and once to 90 again lifting my foot off the pedal to draw oil to the ring area. Over 1600 miles on the car and did not use a drop of oil on the trip.
  • haefrhaefr Posts: 600
    Sounds like you're gonna be "stuck" with that engine for a l-o-o-n-g time - good break-in procedure. Minor point - coasting in gear doesn't "pull" oil up to the rings. Decelerating a new engine from ~60 mph to ~30mph in gear (only when driving conditions safely permit!) results in high intake manifold vacuum reverse loading the rings, which, in turn, aids seating the rings to their cylinder bores more quickly. (New rings have ever so slightly a convex surface that contacts the cylinder bore. The idea is to mill that concavity down to precision flat against the cylinder bore's cross-hatch pattern cut by the finishing hone at the factory as quickly as possible without stressing the engine - hence the advice to accelerate and decelerate to and from moderate speeds.) Ya' done good. When I bought my '03 Sonata V6, I went strictly by the owner's manual (55 mph for the first 1,200 miles - agony!). I used about 8 oz. oil over the first 600 miles, at which point I changed the oil and filter. I haven't seen any visible drop in oil level on the dipstick between oil changes since. I went with WalMart's SuperTech conventional 5W-30 for the remainder of the break-in from 600 miles to 3,000 miles (using a lighter viscosity grade than I normally run here in southern California to further aid final break-in) and changed again with Chevron Supreme conventional 10W-30 I got on closeout when Target quit carrying it (68 cents/qt., but I'm nearly out of it now. ;)). I change my engine oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles.
  • I also change my oil and filter every 2000-3000 miles. I have used Mobil 1 the last couple years since it takes me almost 3 months to get the mileage. I am retired and make a lot of short trips and want to get the oil moving quickly on those cold Wisconsin winters.
  • haefrhaefr Posts: 600
    Yeah, I'm retired, too. To all you forumners still slavishly liftin' 'dem bales and totin' 'dem barges, keep up the good work.;) I wouldn't wanna miss a monthly Social Security deposit into my checking account! :P
  • As has been stated here, I too have noticed the MPG increase with break-in of vehicle. First tank was very low, 19-21. My wife drove to West Virginia last week, we had about 1500 miles on it, the trip computer registered 31 mpg. Around town here we see about 25 mpg. Very happy with this vehicle, 06 LX model, nice options, & Hyundai did there homework.
  • Sorry for the long delay on my reply...

    As far as break-in, I used the "run it like you intend to keep it" method for the most part. But I must admit that with the temptation of that much horsepower under my right foot, I did allow myself to be a bad boy on occasion :-)

    I basically just tried NOT to keep the RPM's constant for long periods.

    As far as my mileage goes, it has dropped dramatically on day-to-day driving since the cold weather hit here in NJ. On my daily commute I am averaging just about 21 MPG now.

    I should also mention that I let the dealer do the first oil change and they used 10W-30 oil, instead of the 5W-20 that is recommended. I think the thinner oil would do much better in the cold. But I'll be at my second oil change soon and will get to test that theory since I'll be changing it myself.
  • haefrhaefr Posts: 600
    Yeah, I think the take-yer-money-ship was not your friend for putting 10W-30 in a car operated in northeast winters. I use 10W-30 year 'round, but I'm in inland southern California. It's very rare that we see overnight temperatures lower than 45 degrees except in the upper elevations of the San Bernardino mountains. Hate to see good oil dumped in the recycle tank, but I really recommend you have that 10W-30 oil drained and replaced with 5W-20 oil meeting API "SM" and ILSAC "GF-4" specs. (There are NO bad motor oils if they're able to meet those specs - regardless of price.) Where you are, you're not out of the woods yet for this season's low winter temps...
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