For the past year, consumer groups have gone after Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia, claiming that their advertised mpg ratings were over-generous. Well it turns out that the EPA agrees, and Hyundai/Kia will not only downgrade their vehicle mpg ratings, but will also compensate owners of 2011-2013 models affected by the downgrade.
The EPA declared that both automakers are guilty of fudging the numbers, though Kia and Hyundai argue it was merely human error. You’ll remember that Hyundai made a big deal about its 40 mpg rating across the lineup, including the Elantra, Accent, and Veloster models. Going forward, those models will go from a 40 mpg rating to either 37 or 38 mpg on the highway, depending on the model year.
This will affect over 900,000 vehicles, approximately 35% of all Hyundai/Kia models sold in the past two years. Hyundai and Kia claim the numbers were a result of human error, and let us note that this is a “voluntary” compensation program.
Regardless, depending on your odometer readings, you will be compensated for the extra money you spent on gasoline expecting better results, plus an additional 15%. More importantly though, this brings up the question of whether or not manufacturers can be trusted with rating their own vehicles.
Hyundai and Kia may really have been the victims of human error as they claim…but it does raise the question of how accurate our mpg ratings really are these days. Methinks it is a time for a new system that more accurately reflects real-world mpg ratings.