California owners of the Hyundai Elantra sedan are looking for some retribution – they feel as though the automaker misled them by advertising that the compact sedan achieves 40 mpg. The Hyundai Elantra is rated at 40 mpg, but as any glance at the window sticker would tell you, that figure applies only to the EPA’s highway test cycle. The car is rated at 29 mpg in the city and 33 mpg city/highway combined.
According to Reuters, the lawsuit being filed by public interest group Consumer Watchdog against Hyundai states that the manufacturer’s advertisements led buyers to believe that they would be paying less in fuel because of the car’s high mpg rating. The plaintiffs in the class-action suit claim that the automaker is in violation of California’s consumer protection and fraud laws – they state that the text explaining the 40-mpg rating is in “tiny, faint text.”
Hyundai told Reuters that the stated mileage is realistic. When we asked Hyundai if they had any comment on the suit, they told us that it “believes this case has no merit, as our advertising is accurate and in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations. In fact, we’ve reviewed our ads and think Consumer Watchdog and their client are dead wrong.” Never mind the fact that the Monroney, placed in the window of every new Elantra sold, clearly gives EPA ratings for both city and highway cycles. Again, the Elantra – like many other new cars in its class – only returns that 40 figure on the freeway.
This isn’t the first time buyers have gone after manufacturers for overstating fuel economy ratings – earlier this year, a judge reversed a court decision stating that Honda had misled customers on the fuel efficiency of the Civic Hybrid. Hyundai has been in accordance with laws regarding information disclosure, and the 40-mpg rating for the Elantra sedan was set by the Environmental Protection Agency in its evaluation testing.