Hyundai Feels Latest Embrace by Customer Who Feels MPG Letdown
|   Thursday, May 30, 2013
In what you can only call the "mileage two-step," Hyundai is the latest automaker to feel the wrath of a consumer with a very skewed sense of responsibility – a carmaker doesn't meet all the requirements spelled out in an ad, so it is the manufacturer's responsibility to make good, even though the consumer has not followed all the rules, either.

Honda has danced this particular pas de deux itself as a customer sued a couple of years ago over the mileage he received from his Civic.
He believed that his Civic should be getting somewhere around 40 mpg and when the Civic didn't get it, of course, it had to be Honda's fault, right?

Look more closely

Well, let's look at this a little more closely. Let's say, for starters, that the weather was cold (as in Arctic cold) which means that automatically, the electronic systems provide more fuel (in the old days, you would open the choke to get more fuel to the carburetor – at the time, Honda still used carbs, although the foundations for its stratified fuel systems were being laid at the same time in the late 1970s).

The cold automatically meant that any fuel economy figures – achieved at test tracks where the temperatures were not in the optimal – upper 60s to low 70s – would immediately be thrown out the window.

Even rigged with a chassis dynamometer and proper indoor temperatures, the amount of fuel can change radically. For example, if a building door is opened and someone and introduces cooler air, the results can also change radically.

The atmosphere aside, geography plays a key role in mileage. If you driving in hot weather, with the air conditioning cranking, and you are moving through hills and valleys, then you will find the vehicle that should be delivering 40 mpg (or it says it should), will actually deliver in the vicinity of 29 mpg, tops.

That's quite a difference, right? Even if you driving on level ground and the temperature is high and your air is on, you will find there can be a 5- to 7-mpg difference in mileage over the figures that the marketeers love to use.

Highway mileage

That's the key to these nuisance suits that are part of the "two-step." Each brand wants to be seen as giving the best mileage on the planet and so what does the marketing department do? It concentrates on the highest mileage figures that can be obtained when the model is running in optimum condition on the highway.

It would be great if they could get the impact of those three words out of their vocabularies and word processing software. If they did then they would have one less thing to worry about. Heavens knows that saying you get the best mileage and then proving are two different things for a variety of reasons that include:

The make of the car
The mileage on the vehicle
Fuel injection versus carburetion
Automatic versus standard transmission
The number of gears in the transmission
Tire pressure
Ambient air temperature
The state of the driver – tired or alert
The weather, in general

Just too difficult

As you can see there's so much that goes into just a brief look at mileage that it would take a court presided over by King Solomon himself to decide these issues. Certainly a district judge in a small town in the middle of the country shouldn't be asked to make this decision as he just doesn't have all the fact.

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