July 06, 2012
By Kirill Ougarov
Photos Motor Trend Staff
Thanks to all of the long roadtrips taken in our 2012 Hyudai Elantra, the car rolled over the 15,000 mark with some five months left on the loan
, putting it on pace to be one of the highest-mileage long termers that's not a minivan or Nissan GT-R. This meant it was time for the 15,000-mile service, so I took the Elantra up the street to LA Hyundai at LAX. The dealer changed the oil, replaced the air filter, rotated the tires, topped off the washer fluid, and performed a multi-point inspection in exchange for $195.68. A bit stiff for a glorified oil change, but nobody ever said that getting cars serviced at the dealer was cheap.
The front passenger door handle pocket continues to rattle periodically despite an earlier fix by the dealer during the 7500-mile service that addressed a loose wire. Unfortunately, I forgot to tell the dealer to take another look during the most recent visit. As slight rattle also occasionally surfaces in the driver's side B-pillar. Though I generally still like the Elantra for what it is, I have grown to dislike the lack of lumbar support in the driver's seat, though it could just be a sign that I'm getting old.
Then there is the issue of fuel economy. We continue to consistently get tanks in the mid to high 20s aside from the occasional freeway-only run that will eke its way into the low 30s if speeds are kept to 70 and below. The short answer for why our fuel economy is considerably below the EPA's numbers is that the Elantra is highly susceptible to driving conditions. If your driving style closely mimics that of the EPA's test cycle -- particularly the ability to maintain constant speeds at the speed limit or below -- then you'll arrive at the EPA's magic numbers (see last month's update). If you don't, then the economy will begin to drop precipitiously...and since the Elantra, like us, resides in traffic-plagued and perpetually-impatient Los Angeles, it's getting the fuel economy you see here. Is it this phenomenon limited to the Elantra or does it affect other 40 mpg compacts like the Cruze Eco and Focus HFE? We recently ran some tests to find out. Stay tuned.