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Hyundai is in hot water over claims of false advertising. According to a consumer watchdog group and one Elantra owner, the automaker is misleading consumers in its claims that the compact sedan gets 40 mpg. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the groups have filed a lawsuit in a Sacramento, Calif., court.
Californian Louis Bird bought an Elantra last year and has been tracking its fuel economy; he told the Free Press that he barely gets 29 mpg and drives mostly on the highway. The Elantra was redesigned for 2011 and the current generation is EPA rated at 29/40 mpg city/highway with a combined rating of 33 mpg. The suit contends that the automaker's advertising doesn't stipulate that 40 mpg is the highway number.
Cars.com Editor Mike Hanley got 38 mpg in his test of an Elantra: "In one leg of driving that totaled slightly more than 100 miles, my driving partner and I averaged 38 mpg, according to the Elantra's trip computer. The route consisted of mostly traffic-free rural roads and urban freeways, with some city driving mixed in."
The lawsuit aims to stop Hyundai from advertising the 40-mpg number without disclosing the figure is highway-specific and asks for unspecified damages on behalf of California residents who own or lease 2011 and 2012 Elantras. The case is similar to a small-claims suit filed against Honda last year by a Civic Hybrid owner and a larger class-action suit filed against the automaker.
Hyundai is standing by its claim. "Hyundai Motor America believes this case has no merit, as our advertising is accurate and in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations," the automaker told the Free Press.