EXAGGERATED MILEAGE CLAIMS
So I've driven my Hyundai Elantra Touring for more than 2,000 kilometres and know why Canada's car journalists have just called its sedan cousin one of their cars of the year.
I am pleased, but a little irked that once again you can't believe the advertised claims for how much gas a new car model uses.
I really shouldn't be surprised because there have been studies by reputable organizations that show that 99.99% of all claims by car companies about the mileage of their latest models are too low.
In the latest house ad I've seen from Hyundai, the claim for the Elantra Touring is that highway mileage was 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres or 43 MPG.
The noted car writer Glen Woodcock, my Associate Editor when I was Editor of the Toronto Sun, assures me that you no longer have to break in cars. It used to be that at the start, you were told to drive at various speeds around 110 and not cruise at any one speed, particularly anything over 120.
But I keep my cars for a long time, so I still believe in being careful for the first week or so. So I wasn't roaring around the city and did a sedate 110 on the highway. And I got the claimed 6.4 litres for my first 1,000 km.
Then I did the annual milk run to ensure the cottage was closed properly. At speeds around 100 on the Gardiner and Don Valley, then 116 on 401 and passing at up to 125. Finally 95 or so on roads near the cottage. A similar trip back, except traffic was heavier and I had to use the Lake Shore and its rash of stop lights because the Gardiner was arthritic.
So that was a typical highway trip for me. And my mileage was 7.9 litres, not that advertised figure at all. Of course Hyundai and the other car companies get the claimed mileage by driving carefully at speeds that would have you rammed on Canadian roads, not under ordinary driving conditions for most drivers.
My main complaint has to do with the ride. I was warned by analysis in Consumer Reports and other publications that the ride was stiff and bumpy. Okay on the highway, but since Toronto streets now resemble something from a city that has been shelled, the ride is certainly a drawback, so much so that if I had been buying a car just for the city, this would not have been a good choice if I was worried about my back.
I'm happy though, even if I had to take a silver colour rather than the lovely red if I wanted a car without a wait for months. As it was, I got the car a day after my son Mark went back to China, which was one reason why I wanted the car ASAP.
You certainly will find that buyers will pay the price for Hyundai's success, now that the Elantra is challenging to be the top car in Canada in sales. I found the Hyundai dealer on the Lake Shore in Etobicoke to be so indifferent to my business that there wasn't even a reply to a email that I sent.
And the 2011 model were sold out when I went to the dealer on Dufferin. I had to buy a 2012, which was probably a good idea since there are supposed to be significant improvements, except you wouldn't know that from Consumer Reports which still lists its test of a 2009 model on its internet site.
I look forward to years of happy driving, but I certainly will be dodging potholes.