All version of the 2011 Hyundai Elantra are rated at 40 mpg on the highway. The Elantra’s MSRP is below $15,000.
The auto industry is sending mixed messages about fuel economy. Major car companies are spending billions of dollars advertising affordable 2011 models rated at 40 miles per gallon, and pushing its latest hybrid and electric cars. But then it says consumers don’t care about fuel efficiency.
“I think 40 mpg is kind of a magic mark, at least we believe it is in the industry,” said Tracy Handler, senior analyst at IHS Automotive, in today’s Automotive News. She believes most automakers “can get to 40 mpg relatively cheaply.” Handler added that Chevrolet and Ford “are using that advertising to get people in the door.”
Message #1: Consumers not only care about fuel economy, it’s the hook that’s bringing them into showrooms.
In fact, that 40-mpg message is so important that some automakers produced specialized low-volume versions of some models—like the Eco version of the Chevy Cruze and the SFE version of the Focus—just to be able claim “up to 40 mpg” in advertisements. Those models, using fuel-saving strategies, such as direct injection and light-weighting, reach 40 mpg on the highway, not average typical driving. Only the Hyundai Elantra (and the future Hyundai Accent) will achieve 40 mpg on the highway for all its versions.